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Fertilizing - Should I continue?

This is a discussion on Fertilizing - Should I continue? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hey all! I am about to start my watering today, and I started thinking, should ...

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  1. #1
    Becky15349's Avatar
    Becky15349 is offline Senior Member
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    Question Fertilizing - Should I continue?

    Hey all!

    I am about to start my watering today, and I started thinking, should I fertilize as well? Or just water? I'm looking for your advice because I think that people usually stop or lessen the fertilizing in the winter months, is that true?

    I have catts and a few oncidiums, and they are all in my southern windowsill, so they are getting high light all year long. Do you think, because they really don't get a rest period, that I should continue to fertilize on my weekly-weakly fertilizing schedule? Or should I just be watering with plain water during these cooler months leading up to bloom time?

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    ~Becky
    Last edited by Becky15349; October 16th, 2008 at 11:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Lizgeo is offline Senior Member
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    Since I live down south, I leave them outside for most part of winter and I do fertilize them. But I reduce frequency on both watering and fertilizing, expecially during colder days because I try to avoid to leave them wet and cold out there.

    I am sure other experts have more experience with winter care, and have their ways to take care of them.

  3. #3
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    In the winter, cut out the Nitrogen...or cut it way way back. So instead of an even 5-5-5 ratio food, look for a food with a lower first number...3-5-5 ratio. Of course, usually the numbers are higher, 8-10-10, 16-20-20, etc. with those you just use half or a 1/4 the normal amount. I just got this explained to me in English....lol. I had a really hard time with this until recently. Unless it's springtime, leave the Nitrogen in the bottle. I recently found out my fish emulsion is super high nitrogen and should ONLY be used in the spring. Watch the first number I was told. Try a time release when you repot, but watch out for the ones containing Urea as orchids hate that stuff. I understand they are great for a maintenance dosage of food. That way from time to time you can add a little in their water, but otherwise you can just relax till spring.
    I hope this helps.
    Connie

  4. #4
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    My rule of thumb used to be if the plant is in active growth, I fertilize regularly, if not I cut back on the fertilizer and maybe fertilize once a month.

  5. #5
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    We cut back on water and fertilizer. In the warmer months we water twice a week and fertilize once a week. In the winter, we water once a week and fertilize ever other week.

    Cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
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    For those reading this advice, note that Becky grows her Cattleyas in S/H. The bacteria that breaks down bark consumes most of the available nitrogen. So, some books recommend a high ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus and potassium (e.g. 15-5-5) if growing in a fir bark mix. Actively growing Cattleyas potted in fir bark may need watering and fertilization once a week. The cat’s rest for a month or two after flowering, during which they need less water and no fertilizer.
    Oncidiums are somewhat different but again, one only needs to regularly fertilize actively growing plants. Symptoms of over fertilization include dry and blackened leaf tips and edges, withered roots and damaged root tips. Overwatering can cause the pseudobulbs to shrivel as the roots rot.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all your advice and suggestions...I think I will lessen my fertilizing during these colder months; it just makes sense. The plants do "know" that its not normal active growth period because of the daylength/nightlength, as I do have some new growths on some plants but they are definitely not growing with the same rapidness as they do during the summer months. For all this sun I have in these windows, hopefully I'll have some blooms soon to show for it! LOL

  8. #8
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    "For all this sun I have in these windows, hopefully I'll have some blooms soon to show for it! "
    I am certain you will. We are moving our offices and I am tagged for the southern exposure. I wondered if you chose your apt/view with your collection in mind. Bet the farm you did.

    Becky, did you get to any of the recent Milwaukee or Chicagoland shows or the IOS talk about minicats? Joe

  9. #9
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    HAHA, yes I totally did choose my current apartment for the south windows!!! It gets pretty toasty in there, which isnt fun for my husband who works at home, but with the windows open its not too bad.

    I did go to the IOS mini show a few weekends ago, it was nice! I won a cool oncidium alliance plant in the raffle I met a bunch of people from IOS and complained to them about my plants burning in my southern windows, to which most people replied that they would give appendages to have southern windows....LOL Oh well, the grass is always greener on the other side, right? I'll be at the 11/9 IOS meeting at the BG, I have some divisions to sell anyways, I need to make more space!!!

  10. #10
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    @Becky15349
    Can you let me know what watering/fert. schedule you landed on for your Catts for the winter? I live in WI, so we have about the same climates and I can't make up my mind what to do. I have new root growth coming on most and new leaf growth on 2. I'm growing them in an Orchid Bark mix in a Southern Exposure.
    During the summer I water about every 5 days and fertilize every-other-week. Right now I'm watering every 7 days and am still fertilizing every-other-week. I'm open for any input. Thanks!

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