Imagine a world where you could clone your favorite plants, producing exact replicas without needing seeds or complex grafting techniques. Welcome to the world of Keiki paste, a game-changer in the realm of plant propagation, especially for orchid enthusiasts.
We’ll delve into the intricacies of Keiki paste for plants, its role in propagation, and the organic alternatives that can be used.
Unveiling the Mystery: What Is Keiki Paste?
Keiki paste is a cytokinin hormone-based paste primarily used to stimulate growth in the nodes of orchids. The term “Keiki” (pronounced “kay-kee”) is a Hawaiian word meaning “baby” or “child”. In plant propagation, a Keiki is a baby plant produced asexually by the mother plant.
The paste is applied to the nodes of a Phalaenopsis inflorescence, inducing the growth of either a vegetative offshoot (Keiki) or a floral branch.
The Science Behind Keiki Paste
The primary ingredient in Keiki paste, Benzylaminopurine ¹, is a synthetic cytokinin promoting cell division and is also used in tissue culture during the multiplication stage.
When applied to the node of an orchid, it stimulates the plant to produce a Keiki, a clone of the mother plant. However, it’s important to note that the paste doesn’t always guarantee the growth of a Keiki.
The node tissue may already be differentiated to become a floral branch, so the paste won’t change the result.
The application of Keiki paste is a straightforward process. It is applied directly to the node of an orchid, preferably a Phalaenopsis, after the flowering phase.
The paste is applied to the node before it differentiates, meaning it could produce a Keiki or a floral branch.
The Organic Alternative: Aloe Vera
While Keiki paste has revolutionized orchid propagation, an organic alternative is gaining popularity among horticulturists – Aloe Vera. This miracle plant is packed with vitamins, proteins, calcium, magnesium, and growth hormones, similar to Keiki paste.
Aloe Vera can be used the same way as Keiki paste, applied to the nodes of the orchid.
The gel from the Aloe Vera plant can be applied directly to the orchid’s nodes or mixed with water to create a nourishing spray. This method has been found to be successful in promoting the growth of new plants without the need for synthetic hormones.
The Debate: Keiki Paste Vs. Aloe Vera
While Keiki paste and Aloe Vera have proven effective in orchid propagation, the debate between synthetic and organic methods is ongoing.
With its synthetic hormones, Keiki paste provides a direct and targeted approach to stimulating growth.
On the other hand, Aloe Vera, being a natural source of growth hormones, offers an organic alternative without the risk of potential side effects from synthetic substances.
The Verdict: a Matter Of Preference
Ultimately, the choice between Keiki paste and Aloe Vera boils down to personal preference.
Some gardeners swear by the effectiveness of Keiki paste, while others prefer the organic route offered by Aloe Vera. Both methods have their merits and can successfully aid in the propagation of orchids.
In the world of plant propagation, Keiki paste has undoubtedly carved a niche for itself. Whether you stick with this synthetic wonder or opt for the organic magic of Aloe Vera, the joy of watching a new plant grow from a mere node is a rewarding experience.
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.