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How To Hand Pollinate a Phalaenopsis Orchid

Updated on July 14, 2013

I was very fortunate to have discovered that my first-time hand pollinations were accepted this year. Both of my Orchids are "expecting." I am going to share with you the technique I used.


Kebab stick.

Why Pollinate?

Orchids are very seductive plants for me. I collect them because they are a symbol of beauty and sexuality. I pollinate simply because I love the science behind it.

Every time I look at a fully opened flower, I see the woman's reproductive organs. Look closely, you'll see it too. When I look at the spike in growth, I see the man's reproductive organs. Who knew flowers could be so sexual, right?

As if that wasn't enough, the process of reproducing for the orchid is similar to that of pregnancy for humans.

How To Pollinate

  1. The pollen in a phal can be found in the column. Using your kebab stick, lightly pluck the anther cap from the column. Use the viscidium. Consider this the "boy part."

  2. Carefully separate the anther cap from the pollen. It is sticky and the process may take some patience. Breathe deep.

  3. Discard the anther cap. The pollinea should still be attached to your kebab stick by the sticky viscidium.

  4. Place the pollinea into the column of a different flower. Or, the "girl part." as I like to think of it. This will be a little tricky, as the viscidium will not want to let go of your kebab stick. Be gentle, but persistent. Don't panic if you break open the pollinea. Just smear it around inside the column. Your pollination should still take. It worked with mine. It actually took quicker than the one that didn't break open.

Parts of a Phalaenopsis flower.
Parts of a Phalaenopsis flower. | Source
Inner parts.
Inner parts. | Source
The Anther Cap, Pollen, and viscidium
The Anther Cap, Pollen, and viscidium | Source
A pregnant flower spike.
A pregnant flower spike. | Source
An Orchid Keiki forming inside a pollinated flower.
An Orchid Keiki forming inside a pollinated flower. | Source

The Pregnancy

You will know whether your pollination was a success or not within a couple of days. First the flower will begin to wilt. Next, the stem will begin to swell. Before long, you will notice roots coming out from the inside of the flower.

Similar to a pregnant woman, your pregnant orchid will need more nutrients to support the growth of her baby. I increased watering to twice a week, diluting fertilizer every second week. I use a fertilizer with boron in it, and mist daily with willow water.

More is Always Better

The fun part of pollinating your orchids is seeing what kind of blooms you will have on your babies. Almost as much fun as the "boy or girl" game.

So pick two different orchid colours. Species even. Have fun with it. I did.


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      Josh 2 years ago

      So I am confused you so a keiki growing out of the fertilize flower. I was under the impression that you had to flask the seeds to get them to germ. Am I wrong?

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