What Is the Best Fertilizer For Orchids? Types, Choices, and Selection

For annual, abundant flowering, orchids need correct and timely feeding. At the same time, it is very important to observe the technology, rate, and timing of the application. 

An insufficient concentration of the nutrient solution or a significant excess of the dosage can lead to rather serious consequences. So, what is the best fertilizer for orchids, and what is the right way to feed orchids for abundant and long-lasting flowering?

What Is The Best Fertilizer For Orchids

Orchid Fertilizer And Feed

The orchid’s nutritional needs are variable. The plant needs most of the nutrients during the period of intensive growth from February to September. 

During this period, It blooms, grows new leaves. In late autumn and winter, growth processes slow down; at this moment, flower buds are laid. When feeding orchids at home, these features must be taken into account. You want to know about the lifespan of orchids

Check out detailed guide on How often do Phalaenopsis Orchids Bloom?

However, there are also exceptions to the rule. For example, some phalaenopsis can bloom all year round, they practically do not have a dormant period. 

It will only fade and almost immediately release a new peduncle. Thus, flowering continues almost all year round. In order for such an orchid to have enough strength not only to bloom but also to grow leaves and roots, then it needs to be fed all year round. 

When Orchid Need Feeding?

You can determine the need for an orchid in feeding by the following signs:

  1. the plant has stopped growing new leaves;
  2. there is no flowering for a long time;
  3. c vets are smaller than usual and fall off quickly;
  4. the leaves are light green;
  5. the lower leaves turn yellow and die one by one.

Attention! The above signs may also indicate the presence of pests or disease.

Feeding Orchid After The Purchase

Immediately after the purchase, the orchid is stressed. It needs at least 2 weeks to acclimatize in a new place. Therefore, during this period, it is only watered. 

Fertilizers start to be applied later. And for sure, for abundant flowering, concentrated fertilizers were applied in the store.

After the orchid successfully adapts, then as a top dressing, specialized formulations are used, designed specifically for orchids in a reduced dose than indicated on the package so that the orchid does not overfeed.

How To Fertilize Orchid?

Like other plants, the orchid can be fed along with watering – this will be root feeding and spraying on the leaves. Each of these methods has its own characteristics and advantages.

How To Fertilize Orchid

Foliar Dressing For Orchid

The essence of foliar dressing is to spray the leaves with a fertilizer solution from the outside and inside.

It should not fall on buds and flowers. The foliar dressing allows you to quickly eliminate nutritional deficiencies.

The main advantage of foliar feeding is its high efficiency.

Its use is justified in the following cases:

  • During active growth. The plant will receive the necessary nutrition very quickly.
  • In case of damage to the root system. In such a situation, fertilizing the leaf is the only way to save the orchid.
  • With chlorosis of leaves. Nutrients are immediately delivered to their intended purpose.

When Carrying Out Foliar Feeding, The Following Rules Must Be Observed:

  1. Spraying is carried out early in the morning or in the evening. Water droplets on leaves can cause sunburn.
  2. The temperature in the room should not exceed + 30 °.
  3. After spraying, the axils of the leaves and at the point of growth should be dry. The presence of water can provoke the development of rot (Solution for Black rot on an orchid).
  4. Before foliar spraying, the plant must first be watered. More active sap flow promotes better absorption of nutrients.

Thanks to the even distribution of nutrients, a positive result will be noticeable within a few days. The color of the leaves will become brighter and more saturated.

Root Dressing For Orchid

Root dressing is the main way to replenish nutrient stores. It can only be used on healthy plants. Before applying it, the orchid is watered until the substrate and roots are completely wetted.

Then the fertilizer is diluted in clean, soft water at room temperature. The pot with the plant is immersed in the prepared solution for 10-15 minutes.

Then the fertilizer is diluted in clean, soft water at room temperature. The pot with the plant is immersed in the prepared solution for 10-15 minutes. 

For a more complete wetting of the earthen coma, the orchid is additionally watered under the root using the same solution. After feeding, it is necessary to ensure that the solution completely drains from the pot. Leaving it on the pallet is undesirable.

Have a problem with orchids Get Rid Of White Sticky On Orchids?

Types Of Fertilizers For Orchid Growth And Bloom

Various types of fertilizers can be used to feed orchids. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. When choosing them, you need to focus on the recommendations of experienced florists and your own capabilities and preferences.

Basics Tips For Feeding Orchids

best Homemade orchid fertilizer Homemade

Not all growers have the opportunity to purchase industrial fertilizers. Others deliberately refuse to use chemistry. In such cases, folk remedies can be recommended for feeding the orchid and are also called natural.

Banana Peels Good For Orchids

If necessary, you can feed an actively growing orchid with a banana peel infusion. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. To prepare the fertilizer, use 1 peel per liter of water.

It can be used both fresh and dried. The infusion will be ready in 2 days. Before use, it is diluted with water at a rate of 1: 1.

Onion Peel as orchid fertilizer

It is rich in potassium and trace elements, has disinfecting properties. Before use, it is diluted with water until it is light brown. Can be used for root watering or leaf spraying.

Potato Broth

You can also feed the orchid at home with ordinary potato broth. It has a beneficial effect on the abundance and duration of flowering. Before use, filter the broth and cool. After that, they are used for watering at the root.

Garlic Water as orchid fertilizer

Garlic water contains a whole range of vitamins and minerals that orchids need. The solution is very easy to prepare.

Grind 2-3 small cloves of garlic into 1 liter of water. Insist in a dark place for a day. The next day, strain and pour warm garlic water over the orchid under the root.

Orchids like this feeding very much. The only moment, the smell may not be pleasant to your household, although it quickly disappears. But this is an excellent prevention against various viruses and flu.

Advice! All-natural dressings must be well filtered so that food particles do not get into the pot, as this will attract various insects

Complex orchid fertilizer

They are a complex of macro-and microelements in an easily accessible form. Additionally, they can be enriched with organic salts and chelates. Promotes growth at different stages of development. With systematic use, plants grow juicy and green leaves, bloom profusely and for a long time.

The main advantage of complex fertilizers is simplicity and ease of use. The florist does not need to calculate the proportions of individual elements. Everything you need is contained in one bottle. If the recommended proportions are observed, an overdose of complex fertilizers is practically excluded.

Specialized orchid fertilizer

Specialized fertilizers for orchids have a number of differences. First and foremost is the lower concentration. Compared to other indoor plants, their roots are more delicate and sensitive.

The second is the low nitrogen content. Information about the ratio of elements is always indicated on the packaging.

In The Form Of Sticks And Tablets

Fertilizers in the form of sticks and tablets have a prolonged effect. Depending on the type, they can be valid for up to 3 months. When used, they are simply immersed in the substrate.

The application rate is different for each manufacturer. Information on the required dosage can be found directly on the package.

When using sticks and tablets, there is no need for other fertilizers.

Vitamins B

Another type of feeding. Normalizes growth processes, promotes budding and flowering, accelerates the adaptation process in a new place.

Vitamins can be used as a cocktail or alone.

Moreover, each of them has certain properties:

  1. B1 or Thiamine – stimulates the development of the root system, helps to increase the size of flowers, protects against natural aging. It is used at the rate of 1 ampoule per liter of water.
  2. B 3 or Nicotinic Acid, PP – helps to recover from various injuries and diseases, improves reproductive capacity. Used no more than once a month.
  3. B 6 or Pyridoxine – enhances immunity, promotes growth and development. Can be used for root watering or spraying.
  4. B 12 or Cyanocobalamin – affects the production of chlorophyll, improves respiration and photosynthesis. Normalizes growth processes at the cellular level.

Succinic Acid

Succinic acid is a tonic and stimulating agent. It is very often used for stunted orchids.

After its application, the plants quickly start to grow, grow beautiful and healthy leaves, and produce flower stalks.

It is a natural antioxidant.

Thanks to the complexity of biologically active substances, the root formation is enhanced, which is especially important for newly acquired orchids that have not yet passed the adaptation period at home.

You can buy succinic acid at any pharmacy, flower specialty store. Available in the form of tablets, powder, or solution. The solution is named “Yantarin”. It is very convenient to use, as it is easy to dissolve in water, unlike tablets.

If you use tablets, then you need to dilute 1 tablet in 500 ml of water. Powder 1 g – for 1 liter of water. Solution -1.5 ml per liter of water. The prepared solution can be used for spraying leaves and watering at the root.

Orchid Leaf Tonic

Leaf tonic contains succinic acid and a complex of vitamins. Prolongs flowering of plants, nourishes the root system and leaves with vitamins, moisturizes them, accelerates growth and development. Promotes fast plant adaptation and minimizes stress. It has a beneficial effect on the general condition of plants.

Has a lot of positive reviews among orchid lovers. It is better to use it early in the morning or in the evening so that the sun’s rays do not leave a burn on the leaves and succinic acid and vitamins are not destroyed by light.

nitrogen orchid fertilizer

Orchids need nitrogen during the period of growing leaf mass. Especially a lot of it is required by young, intensively developing plants. Its deficiency can be determined by slow growth and small sheet plates. 

When growing orchids, complex fertilizers with a high nitrogen content are most often used. The use of urea on them is not effective and dangerous.

Nitrogen fertilizers are also recommended for plants grown on coniferous bark substrates. When it decomposes, bacteria multiply, the basis of nutrition for which is nitrogen. As a result, the orchid begins to lack it.

Is nitrogen good for orchids? How much and when to apply

Nitrogen fertilizers are used in spring during the period of intensive leaf development. For this, a solution is prepared, which is then sprayed on the leaves. The dosage is chosen in strict accordance with the attached annotation. If necessary, feeding is repeated after 2 weeks.

When using nitrogen fertilizers, it must be remembered that orchids are very sensitive to their excess. Even a slight excess of concentration can lead to the death of leaves and roots.

Potassium Phosphorus as orchid fertilizer

Orchid feeding before and during flowering is carried out with fertilizers of the phosphorus potassium group. Phosphorus promotes the development of buds and root system, potassium enhances carbohydrate metabolism, thereby accelerating the onset of flowering. The lack of these elements will be immediately apparent. The orchid will begin to lag behind in growth, the flowers will be small, and the buds will fall off without opening.

Do orchids like phosphorus? How much and when to apply

Fertilizers of the phosphorus potassium group are used for root and foliar dressing. They are applied before the expected flowering period about 4 times with an interval of 2 weeks.

When should you fertilize flowers?

If fertilizers have never been applied, they should not be used during the flowering period. This will shorten the flowering time. With regular application, they can and should be used.

Can you over fertilize orchids?

An excess of fertilizers is no less harmful than a lack of them. For example, with an excessive amount of nitrogen, softening and orchids leave cracking is observed. Overfed plants refuse to bloom, they are more susceptible to various diseases and pests.

With an excess of phosphorus, the tips of the leaves begin to turn black. And too much potassium leads to metabolic disturbances.

Is It Possible To Harm A Flower By Feeding

If fertilizers are used incorrectly, orchids can be harmed:

  1. Do not feed immediately after transplanting. The damaged root system is not able to fully absorb fertilizers. As a result, all elements are deposited in the substrate in the form of salts.
  2. Sick and weakened plants try not to feed them. In case of emergency, spraying on the leaves is used.
  3. All fertilizers are applied only after preliminary irrigation with water. Their use on a dry substrate can lead to severe chemical burns of the root system.
  4. The foliar dressing should not be carried out in sunny weather. The sun’s rays passing through the drops will cause burns.

With improper feeding, the orchid can begin to hurt or even die. If errors are promptly eliminated in most cases, the plant can be successfully reanimated.

Advice!If you suspect improper feeding, the substrate must be rinsed with clean, settled water as soon as possible. To do this, the orchid is watered by immersion, excess water is allowed to drain. Then the procedure is repeated again.

Basics Tips for Feeding Orchids

Appropriate feeding should be used at various stages of growth. Their main difference lies in the ratio of nutrients. Moreover, the choice of fertilizer is influenced not only by the phase of development but also by the season.

In Different Phases Of Flowering

How to fertilize orchids during different flowering phases? The choice of fertilizer primarily depends on the needs of the plant itself. At the time of the formation of peduncles and the laying of buds, she needs a large amount of phosphorus and potassium. Therefore, during this period, preference is given to dressings with a high content of these elements.

It is no longer possible to change the number of peduncles and buds during flowering. You can only maintain flowering, making it as long as possible. During this period, the orchid most of all needs a balanced diet with a predominance of potassium. Feeding with microelements is also desirable.

Winter And Summer Period

In winter, with short daylight hours and a low-temperature regime, as well as in the summer heat, orchids are fed no more than once a month. In winter, the plant is at a dormant stage, the application of fertilizers will provoke untimely growth. As a result, the process of bud formation will be disrupted, and old leaves or shoots may not ripen.

If in winter the plants are illuminated and they have enough daylight hours, then the dormant period can be significantly reduced. This can often be observed for phalaenopsis, which very often delight with their flowering.

In the summer, especially in extreme heat, timely watering is more important for orchids, rather than nutrition. To prevent moisture evaporation, they slow down the growth processes, so their need for fertilizers is sharply reduced.

Spring And Autumn Period

In the spring, the metabolism becomes much more intense. Nutrients are absorbed very quickly, the plant grows new leaves, throws out flower stalks. Therefore, you need to water with fertilizers twice a month. 

Young, actively developing orchids can be fed more often – once a week. For greater efficiency, root dressing is best alternated with spraying on the leaf.

In autumn, growth processes gradually slow down, the plant prepares for winter rest. Therefore, fertilization is gradually reduced to 1 time per month. It is undesirable to use compositions with high nitrogen content. Preference should be given to universal feeding.

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