What is Keiki Paste? The Ultimate Guide
Keiki Paste is a fun and easy way to clone orchids or create new growth on just about any healthy plant. Keiki paste works by bio-hacking a plant’s dormant nodes, encouraging those nodes to activate and sprout new vegetation.
Keiki means child or offspring in Hawaiian. Keiki paste is aptly named because it creates new baby shoots from the parent plant.
With our trademarked cloning paste and thousands of happy fans, we consider ourselves THE experts on all things keiki, so let us be your guide on everything you need to know to use keiki paste on your beloved orchids and houseplants.
Now that we answered the question - What is keiki paste? - let's go deeper…
The Origins of Crazy Keiki Cloning Paste
Made in the USA, Southside Plant’s Crazy Keiki Cloning Paste was formulated by our founder - an orchid hobbyist, house plant lover, and biologist. She started off with some grocery store orchids, began collecting rare specimens, and soon started to wonder how she could grow her own.
Turns out, that growing an orchid from seed is a long and tedious process requiring specific temperatures, humidity, and sterile conditions. So she got curious…. How can someone - not in a special laboratory greenhouse - grow a baby orchid at home?
That is when she learned about cloning orchids.
Cloning orchids is a much easier, faster, and more satisfying way to make new orchids. And with the help of some nerdy science - a.k.a. keiki paste, you can clone orchids at home, too.
What are the Ingredients in Keiki Paste?
What is in keiki paste? In its simplest form, keiki paste is made from a waxy base of lanolin and a plant hormone called cytokinin. It’s basic enough that adventurous DIYers could even make their own. That said, the addition of other ingredients can optimize the effects of keiki paste. The original, trademarked Crazy Keiki Cloning Paste contains a highly tested, proprietary blend of lanolin, cytokinins, and vitamins formulated for optimal growth outcomes for your orchid and other plants.
Here’s how these ingredients work together…
Lanolin, a natural wax-like substance obtained from sheep's wool, creates the base for keiki paste. Lanolin helps the paste stick to the plant where needed. It forms a water-resistant barrier that protects the tender new growth areas from environmental stressors as they develop and aids in the healing process during regeneration.
Cytokinins are the magic of keiki paste. These naturally occurring plant hormones play a pivotal role in cell division and growth. When applied to a plant node, cytokinins in the paste send a signal to the plant, telling it to grow. This results in the sprouting of new shoots - the keiki.
Vitamins: Lastly, we've enriched Crazy Keiki Cloning Paste with a unique proprietary vitamins that provide essential nutrients to the developing shoots. This blend enhances the plant’s ability to create rapid, robust, healthy new growth.
Keiki Paste for Orchids
Whether you like to grab an orchid from the grocery store occasionally or you're a collector of rare specimens, keiki paste can take your love for this beautiful tropical flowering plant to a new level.
While it's not an exact science, where you put keiki paste on the flower spike (the stalk) will help determine whether it creates new blooms or an entirely new orchid plant. Apply keiki paste on nodes higher up on the spike to encourage more blooms and lower down on the leaf nodes if you want to create a new keiki.
When a keiki left is on its parent plant, both will bloom in sync, creating a spectacular display within about two years. Alternatively, your keikis can be replanted to diversify your orchid collection or shared as unique gifts.
If you choose to clone your orchid to make new plants, once the keiki starts to grow aerial roots about 1-3 inches long, you can remove it by gently cutting it an inch or two down its new stalk. Repot in the same substrate that you would use for any orchid. While it’s not mandatory, it’s best to repot the keiki with its mother for the first year to help maintain the right conditions of moisture.
Go here for a step-by-step photo tutorial for how to clone orchids with keiki paste.
Can You Use Keiki Paste on Other Plants Besides Orchids?
YES! You can apply keiki paste to the node of just about any plant to stimulate new foliage growth. Try it on a leggy vine like a Pothos or succulent like a donkey tail or string of pearls to fill in some of those empty areas. Got a rubber tree or fiddle leaf fig with a bald spot? As long as your plant is healthy and growing, keiki paste can do its magic.
How to Apply Keiki Paste
To use keiki paste on your orchid or houseplant, you first must locate a node. Nodes are small bumps where new leaves or stems emerge from a plant. They often look like joints along the stem or trunk. You will be looking for a node that no longer has foliage.
Gently score the node with a clean safety pin or sharp knife. A gentle scratch or tiny notch is all that’s required to allow the paste to work deeper in the plant. Next, dip a cotton swab or toothpick into the keiki paste. Lightly dab a tiny amount - half of a pea size - of the paste onto the scored node.
For a more extensive tutorial read this: How to Apply Keiki Paste
How Long Does It Take for Keiki Paste to Work?
After applying keiki paste to a scored node of your orchid or houseplant, you should expect to see signs of development in one to three weeks. This time may vary, though, due to the health of the mother plant, the type of plant, and growing conditions. Be patient!
How Often Do I Have to Apply Keiki Paste?
You only need to apply keiki paste once to a plant node for shoots to grow. The lanolin-based paste is water resistant, so it won’t wash off. Now, sit back and wait for the magic to happen.
How Does Keiki Paste Work? The science-y stuff
While keiki paste may seem like a strange miracle goo, its remarkable effectiveness is due to the science of its key active ingredient, cytokinin.
Cytokinin is an important plant hormone that works in tandem with another plant growth hormone, auxin, to regulate plant growth. While the relationship between these hormones is complex and interdependent, in short, when it comes to plant propagation, auxins stimulate rooting and vertical growth, whereas cytokinin generates lateral buds and leaves.
Also interesting to note, plants grow taller and longer because there is a constant flow of auxin from the apical bud or top growth area on a plant, which also suppresses growth from dormant buds further down the plant that have branches growing outward. This vertical growth is called apical dominance.
If you cut off the top of a tree or pinched off the bud of your window basil, it will stimulate those lower branches to fight for dominance and grow a bushier, more squat plant.
When keiki paste, rich in cytokinin, is applied to a prepared dormant node on a plant, it triggers new lateral growth - bud, leaf, branch, keiki - without having to remove the apical bud.
By mimicking these inherent hormonal signals, keiki paste effectively jump-starts the development at these plant nodes, facilitating a natural growth process of new leaves and lateral shoot growth in an otherwise dormant node.
You can read more about cytokinin and auxin science in this post.
When Does Keiki Paste NOT Work?
While keiki paste seems pretty miraculous, it isn't really a magic wand for all of your plant-growth desires. For starters, keiki paste is not a rooting hormone, so if you’re trying to get a cutting to grow roots, you’ll need a different product with auxin, the growth hormone specific for generating roots.
Also, Keiki paste cannot rectify underlying plant health problems. The health of the mother plant will ultimately determine how much potential growth energy is available for keiki paste to be effective. Proper care involving sunlight, water, and fertilizer remains indispensable for plant health.
If you have a leggy vine - ask yourself - Why is it leggy? - before you try to force growth from its tired nodes. Does your plant need more light? Have you been inconsistent with water or nutrients? Does it need to be repotted?
If your rubber plant or fiddle leaf is dropping leaves or not showing signs of new growth, it's not likely to cooperate if you ask it to make new growth elsewhere. Take time to address your plant’s health before applying keiki paste. It's a brilliantly nerdy science tool, but keiki paste cannot fix an unhealthy plant.
Also, keep in mind that everywhere you apply keiki paste, you're basically submitting a request for new growth. So, it's wise to choose your application spots judiciously so your plant can focus its energy on successful, abundant growth where you most want it.
Is Keiki Paste Safe for Pets and Kids?
Yes! Keiki paste is safe for humans and pets. The active ingredients are not toxic in such small quantities. The main ingredient that gives it that waxy yellow color is lanolin, which comes from sheep’s wool and is non-toxic. Breastfeeding moms even use lanolin to heal and protect chapped nipples, as it is safe for newborns to ingest. That said, it's always better to keep non-food substances away from pets and kids - save your keiki paste for your orchids and houseplants.
Where can I buy keiki paste?
Several versions of keiki paste are available to plant lovers, but we may be a bit biased in saying that our Crazy Keiki Cloning Paste is the best. And over FOUR THOUSAND five-star reviewers agree.
Can you make your own keiki paste at home?
Sure… For those who would rather have all the control, you can try your hand at DIY. Just keep in mind that you will be mixing sticky lanolin with strange white powder - which can be messy and will require a sensitive and precise scale plus proper protective gear to avoid inhaling the chemicals.
For these adventurous souls, we've even posted a keiki paste recipe. If you choose to use a different recipe than this one, make sure it includes the correct ingredients. Others may seem to be on the right track, but if a cytokinin isn’t on the ingredient list, it just won’t work. (Cinnamon stimulates roots, not bud growth.)
Give the gift of keiki
Need for a unique gift under $20? Keiki Paste is perfect for all plant and orchid lovers in your life. It includes everything for an engaging plant project: a detailed instruction booklet, a cute glass vial with paste, and applicators. It's not only a fun home experiment but also an educational opportunity for kids to learn about plant biology in a hands-on way. So easy to use and super fun for adults and kids to monitor the seemingly magical growth of new plant "babies".
Show us your keikis!
Now that you know everything there is to know about using keiki paste to make your orchids and other houseplants even more luscious and gorgeous, we can’t wait for you to try it! See other fans' results on our Instagram and tag us - @southsideplants - with yours! #crazykeikipaste