Orchids are lovely, and adding to your collection without the expense of a new purchase may appeal to you.
Here you can learn how to plant orchid seeds, and if you are successful, you can have new flowers and flowers to share.
It is possible to grow orchids from seed; however, it requires a great deal of patience.
In addition, unlike other seeds, those of the orchid lack an endosperm, which presents a unique challenge when propagating their seed.
The endosperm of seed is its lunch box; so to speak, it has nutrients that an orchid embryo requires to grow.
Thus, when self-propagating in nature, their symbiotic relationship with fungi performs the task of feeding the embryo to bring forth a new orchid.
If you love orchids and want to expand your collection, learning to grow them from seed can help you do so. Follow below on how to plant orchid seeds.
Table of Contents
How To Plant Orchid Seeds
Botanists use 2 different techniques to grow orchid seeds. The techniques are symbiotic and asymbiotic germination. Fungi are the natural growth medium orchid seed in the wild. Symbiotic germination requires fungus to produce food for the seed. Asymbiotic germination, on the other hand, uses a growth medium specially formulated for orchids.
Flasking Orchid Seeds
The biggest challenge to overcome when Flasking orchid seeds to grow new plants is using a sanitary method for everything you use and everything you do.
The smallest amount of bacteria or fungus present in the flask or seed can kill them before getting started.
A flask does not need to be an actual flask, and little jars or large test tubes will work to start your orchid seed.
However, they need to be sterilized before preparing the growth medium to place in them before adding the orchid seed.
The seed pods also need to be sterilized before removing the seed from them to ensure no bacteria or fungi are present.
When preparing flasks as the tiniest fungus spore, you must be as careful as possible as the most microscopic fungus spores or bacteria could ruin the entire process.
For beginners, purchasing preflasked orchid seeds may be the best way to learn how to grow them from seed.
How To Prepare Orchid Growth Medium
To begin, you need to gather seedpods that still have thick walls but have not split open. Set them aside for later.
In a pot, prepare a 50/50 mix of orchid gel-growth medium with distilled water, bring to a boil, and stir for a couple of minutes.
Now, pour the agar mixture into pre-sanitized glass jars or flasks about a fifth of the way up.
Lid the jars but do not tighten. Add a loose-fitting piece of foil, place them on a pan, and put them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Remove the flasks from the oven, let them cool, remove the foil, and seal their lids tightly.
Set your jars aside because this preparation is ready for the introduction of your seed.
Collecting green seed pods
Orchid seeds can be collected dry after the seedpod has split open and exposes the seed. Alternatively, you can collect the seed from the green pod.
Dry seeds tend to be contaminated with different pathogens because they have been open to the air. Therefore, most people opt for using seeds from green pods.
Even though the process is tedious, green pod seeds produce the best results.
Orchid seedpods need to be collected at the right time and sanitized before cutting them open to collect their seed.
Sterilizing the green seedpods and removing the seeds is the most tedious part of growing orchids from seed.
Sterilizing orchid seed pods
Place a large pot on the stove, with a grill offset so that steam will rise through it. Place a sharp knife and a pair of forceps on the grill so that they are sterile when you need them.
In a bowl or other container, pour enough bleach to cover your seedpods and place them in it for 15 minutes.
Remove the seedpods from the bleach with the sanitized forceps, and put them on the grill atop a paper towel.
Cut open the seedpod with a sterile knife, remove the seed with the forceps, and put them in your pre-prepared bottles of growth medium.
You can thin the number of sprouts in 40 to 50 days so that they do not overcrowd the flask.
Growing Conditions For Your Orchid Seeds
Now that you have the seed in the flasks, set them in a location that gets filtered or full sunshine.
They will need about 14 hours of sun a day, so keep that in mind when choosing a site.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Plant Orchid Seeds
Is the dry seed method easier?
Technically it is easier because the only sanitizing you need to do is of the seed. You also know the seed is mature. However, the green pod method has a better chance of being successful.
Does it matter which variety of orchids I use for seed?
You can try to grow seeds from any of your orchids, and some will be easier to propagate than others will.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.