Orchid Plant Feeding Tips

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Blooming, Care and Culture, Growing Indoors, Growing Outdoors

Because orchid composts are relatively inert, it is very beneficial to feed the plants during their growing season. If they are potted in rockwool this is essential. A diluted liquid fertilizer is the most convenient form to use because it can be applied with watering.

Many of the proprietary brands of liquid fertilizer are suitable, but they need to be diluted to one-quarter or half the strength that is recommended for other pot plants. “Little and often” is a good guideline, but only when the plant is in active growth. Foliar feeding is sometimes recommended, but uptake through the leaves of many orchids is rather limited.

Many growers prefer to use a high nitrogen fertilizer (30-10-10) early in the summer to encourage maximum growth while temperatures are high and days are long. Once the growths have matured, it is a good idea to change to a fertilizer that will encourage flowering, such as some of those sold for tomato crops, which are high in potash (10-10-30). Other growers prefer to use more natural fertilizers such as chicken manure or a liquid feed prepared from seaweeds. Great care must be taken to ensure that whatever is used is sufficiently diluted or the orchid roots can be damaged.

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