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Fertilizer Questions

This is a discussion on Fertilizer Questions within the General Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; I'm a new orchid enthusiast and i've got some questions regarding fertilization: I've got one ...

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  1. #1
    HHLL38's Avatar
    HHLL38 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Fertilizer Questions

    I'm a new orchid enthusiast and i've got some questions regarding fertilization:

    I've got one retail store bought Phaelanopsis a Paph and a mounted dendrobium.

    I'm currently using distilled water to water them, misting the mounted one daily, the other two every two days or so.

    Should i change these habits?

    Second, i want to purchase a fertilizer to help them along, which one would you guys recommend?

    Thanks in advance,

    Sam.

  2. #2
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    The ones I would recommend are probably only obtainable in UK - so you need to open up a bit , in order to get useful advice.
    Likewise, in some parts of the world, misting dailty in November might be a recipe for disaster, in others - fabulous ...
    I'd like to help - lots of other folk would too - but growing conditions are so different around the world and even locally ( like are you hanging the plants on the fence/ putting them on the window- sill etc ) that to say anything without knowing more would be a mistake.

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    I agree. We need more information. Where are you located? Do you grow indoors or oudoors? Is there something wrong with your tap water that you need to use distilled? By the way, if you ask 10 orchid growers which fertilizer to use, you're going to get 10 different answers.

  4. #4
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    Hi Sam! Welcome to Orchid Talk. There are a bunch of great people here willing to help you out with your questions. You will just need to give them a little info to get them started!

  5. #5
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    In addition to your Qs you will also have to be aware that each individual of your 3 require different elements of care such as light , temp plus more and also without repeating the other members a brief 'risk assessment' if you like in order to avoid mistakes and benefit from the learning curves of others. And there are a fair few!!!!!

    Until you can provide more to aid assistance - when misting do not allow water to collect in crowns and leaf axils esp phal and paph - see crown rot- esp if your orchids are in close proximity to each other. Allow your dend to dry out before watering again, they dont like constant sitting moisture and roots may rot. Your Phal ( a classic case of high mortality rates) are terrible for root rot. No standing in water and always allow air to circulate to roots can breathe. Your phal = green roots - no more water at moment. Silver/grey = a drink please. Brown and mushy = rot.

    Look up 'epiphytes' orchids! Phals and dend (mostly) are epiphytes. Paph is terrestrial.

    Look up 'NPK' (nitrogen, phosphorous and pottassium). Fertizing rules for orchids. 'weakly weekly'.

  6. #6
    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Sam, and WELCOME to ORCHID TALK! After blooming, I use either 30-10-10 OR 20-20-20 for growth. I use either one of these weekly, weakly...by that I mean I use one quarter of what the directions say to use. Once a month, I water with plain water (tepid, never cold) This is just my opinion, and what works for me & my orchids. Again...Welcome. Betty

  7. #7
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    Alright, let me address a few of the questions asked.

    I'm using distilled water because i live in Upstate New York; the well water is hard and the city water is chlorinated, both of which, from my limited research, can be deadly.

    All of the plants are in a large window on a small foldable table, the window receives about 6 hours of direct sunlight.

    My apartment is a little cool, I would imagine, but the Phal. i rescued from the department store seems to be doing well in the current conditions, new growth ect.

    I was watering the Phal with three ice cubes per week per the stores suggestions, but as i've read that's not a very good idea either. However, i did see positive results in the three weeks I owned it doing that.

    I then decided it was time to get more, and joined and visited my local orchid society's auction and got the mounted dendrobium and Paphiopedilum. I put them in the same window with the Phal and was instructed to mist the Dendrobium daily, i'm currently doing it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night because the sphagnum moss dries out a lot and it's showing root growth, which is good because the leaves have little brown spots and i'm sort of worried about it.

    I feel like i'm rambling/have forgotten something, but I think that about covers it. They're all in a window, including two more department store Phals i rescued today. I live in upstate New York so it's fairly chilly, but i'd surmise that it stays above 60 at night and about 70 during the day.

    Also, i want to pick up a few Neofinetia Falcata's as long as they're not terribly difficult to grow or picky about their conditions and a Paphiopedilum Malipoense. Any info regarding those?

    Thanks in advance!
    ---------- Auto-Merged DoublePost - Post added at 01:40 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:39 AM ----------
    Also, does anyone have any experience with Dyna-Gro Pro Tekt?

    Was reading about it and thought it might be something i'd use with whatever fertilizer I decide on.




  8. #8
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    I'll throw in a couple suggestions that may or may not help. Your windowsill with six hours of sunlight sounds like a perfect spot to grow many types of orchids. Misting orchids in the evening is not considered a good practice. Moisture on plants at night encourages the growth of fungus and doesn’t help the plant. The brown spots on the leaves may already be the start of some leaf spotting fungus which is unsightly but not fatal. Misting in general is a controversial practice but personally I do mist plants in the morning. Rather than ice cubes I would take the orchid to the sink and run water through the medium until it’s thoroughly wet. Then let the plant dry almost completely before watering again. You can use distilled water if you want to but neither hard water nor chlorinated water will hurt your orchids in my opinion. Your orchids will need some fertilizer whenever you see new growth, like you noticed on your phal. I like a balanced fertilizer where all three numbers are about the same and one that contains micronutrients. Try to find one that has no urea or one that has most of the nitrogen coming from nitrate or ammonical nitrogen but any fertilizer is better than nothing. Use a very dilute concentration like ¼ the recommended strength on the label. During the winter, when the days are short, you fertilize maybe every two weeks. In the summer growing season I would increase that to every week. Good luck. Sorry for the long post.

  9. #9
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    The only thing i'm concerned about with the windowsill is that it might burn the leaves, as the sunlight is quite strong when it's present, but i've yet to see any evidence of that.

    About the misting, the Dendrobium had the spots when i purchased it, the grower reassured me it was simply because he wasn't doing so well, but if it is fungal, should i isolate the plant? Also, would misting twice a day be more appropriate in the morning/afternoon? I just feel like the little guy needs more water.

    All of the Phals i've purchased from retail stores are in these pots within a pot, so I can't be certain as to whether or not there is sufficient drainage. I suppose I should get them out of those and into something more appropriate before root rot can/may occur?

    Thanks so much for all of the help!

  10. #10
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    Generally, plastic pots are best for phals. Using a teak basket would require outstanding humidity and watering habits.
    Ps...remember not to reference the name of any vendor in your posts. You may want to edit that out.
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