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Adding Orchids Fertilizer: What You Need To Know

 

Though most orchids can grow and flourish even without adding fertilizer, adding some at the right time can lead to healthier growth and more abundant, beautiful flowers. Too much of something can do more harm than good, however, so before adding orchids fertilizer, you need to know some basics. Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure that you feed your plants correctly.

Epiphytic vs. Terrestrial Orchids

In their natural environment, epiphytic orchids grow on trees with their roots attached to the tree branches. They get their nutrients in the form of bird droppings, rotten leaves and dust. These minerals are typically of small quantity and pass quickly, so these orchids are used to being fed only a little to flourish. In adding fertilizer to epiphytic orchids, remember that they only need a small amount to flower.

On the other hand, terrestrial orchids are used to absorbing lots of nutrients, since they naturally grow in soil that is rich in minerals. With these orchids, you should add more fertilizer to help them thrive and have abundant blooms.

Essential Macro and Micronutrients

When looking for the right orchids fertilizer to purchase, there are things you need to check on the label to ensure that you’re getting a high quality one. First, make sure that the fertilizer has the essential macronutrients, which are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Next, check for the minor elements: calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, boron, copper, manganese, chlorine, molybdenum and zinc, which are not as essential but still needed. Lastly, try to buy one that is free or low in urea, since urea is not a good source of nitrogen for your orchids.

Remember “weakly weekly”

In adding fertilizer, orchid growers say “weakly weekly” to denote the strength of the orchids fertilizer to use, and how often they use it. Since most orchids are epiphytic in nature, you only need to add half or a quarter of the amount recommended in the label for your flowers to bloom and flourish. Do this only once a week, as more will cause harm to your plants. Watering the orchids completely once a month with distilled water is recommended to remove the build up of minerals.

Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizer is not really recommended for your orchids as they still need to decompose so that their nutrients can be available for absorption. Also, you will have to use larger quantities since they contain a lower concentration of nutrients. Inorganic or synthetic fertilizer is much more suitable for your orchids as they are easily dissolved and absorbed by the plants.
Interested in speeding up the growth of your orchids and making them long-lasting and vigorous? Check out Complete Orchid Fertilizers: Home-Made Recipes by John Perez, to learn the secrets to unlocking the full potential of your orchids.

 

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