Meristemming Monopodials


Can a monopodial (vandaceous) orchid be meristemmed? If so, does it destroy the main lead? How do they perform the process for a prized or awarded vanda or renanthera with only one main stem? - Randy Peterson


Monopodial orchids are more difficult to meristem than sympodial ones and your chances of success are limited. You are correct that you would need the actively growing apical bud and, in most cases using vanda or renanthera, there is only one. If you remove that bud, there will be no new growth from that area. However, vigorously growing vandas and renantheras will often produce one or more keikis on the lower part of the stem. In six months or so, the keikis are usually large enough to remove and pot up. This is no different from taking an old, tall vanda and cutting the top 18 to 24 inches and potting it up. The remaining basal portion if left undisturbed in the original container will often produce keikis. This is an important way of propagating important cultivars. - Tom Sheehan, PhD