If you’re like most orchid lovers, you have good intentions in using orchid fertilizer on your plants. And you surely want the plants to have all the nutrients necessary. Unfortunately many people think using fertilizers are like feeding a child, where if you give them all the nutrients they need, they’ll flourish.
With orchids, this is not the case.
Most orchid varieties are happy in a basic medium that is not overdone with nutrients. Unlike other plants, orchids need much less fertilizer and giving them too much is more harmful than not giving them enough.
On the other side, if you give orchids the right amount of fertilizer, at the right time, you will see impressive growth and health plants. The trick is to give your plants nutrients in a weak form.
If the orchid fertilizing product you are using says to apply it once a week, water the substance down by 50 percent. Also, about one time per month, water the orchids without any orchid fertilizer. Skipping this week will help to clean out any built up minerals in the soil and on the root bulb, which can cause damage if left there.
But is this enough?
Most people don’t realize one of the best ways to understand orchids is to look at them in their natural environment. In that environment, orchids are continuously searching for nutrients and when they do come, they are in small quantities.
Within the orchid’s natural environment, nutrients come in the form of droppings from animals and decomposing natural materials, like leaves. They are available only in small amounts and often it is in running water or moist ground.
Giving your orchids fertilizers in heavy doses is much like giving someone medication at too high of a dose. It does them little good.
So what should you focus on with your orchid fertilizer?
The following is a list of the nutrients orchids need you to supply them:
In addition, micronutrients needed include iron, chlorine, boron, manganese, zinc and copper.
Remember that hydrogen, carbon and oxygen come from the natural surroundings (water and air) and therefore do not need to be in the fertilizer you use.
You also do not have to be concerned with orchid fertilizers having micronutrients, since these are in most natural potting soils (especially when you choose organic versions) and in the water.
As a general common sense rule when buying any type of orchid fertilizer, simply read the label.
What exactly should you buy?
Orchid fertilizers do not need to be specific orchid fertilizing products. The label does not need to read “orchid safe.”
Rather, there is little difference between using a standard plant fertilizer and an orchid-based product. Look at the packaging to ensure you have a 20-10-10 mixture, or if you are using other than bark or tree fern, look for a 20-20-20 mixture.
By providing this mixture to your orchids, they will do well on a regular basis. Remember, orchid fertilizer is not something to overfeed…or overthink!
To discover more orchid care tips, download my totally FREE 5-Day Orchid Insider training course by going here: Orchid Care Secrets.