Thanks, Howard, I didn't know that. Joe
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This is a discussion on Better-Gro Bloom Booster within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Becky, keep in mind, "Timing is everything". When you want phals to flower and you ...
Becky, keep in mind, "Timing is everything". When you want phals to flower and you feed them too high a nitrogen food in late summer, the nitrogen may/will inhibit spike formation.
Thanks, Howard, I didn't know that. Joe
Here is some reading material.... also temperature and photo period have lots to do with initating flower spikes. Look for articles by Dr. Yin-Tung Wang of Texas A&M or Dr. Bill Argo, MSU. They have written lots on the subject.
Potassium chlorate (KClO3) treatments are known to promote flowering in longan plants. Potential effects of KClO3 on Phalaenopsis orchid flowering were investigated in the present study. However, increasing application concentrations of 2, 4, 8 and 16 mmol/L KClO3 delayed spike emergence by 5, 6, 18 and 26 days, respectively. Moreover, they reduced final spike length by 2.1%, 4.0%, 16.2% and 46.1%, respectively. Nonetheless, application of KClO3 at 4 and 8 mmol/L advanced the time to appearance of the first open flower by 13 and 24 days, respectively. Use of 8 mmol/L KClO3 also increased the number of floral buds by 16%. Treatments with KClO3 tended to reduce flower size. Overall, the data suggest that application of KClO3 at an appropriate concentration (e.g. 8 mmol/L) can increase the number of floral buds and advance the time to Phalaenopsis orchid flowering, but may reduce flower size.
OrchidSafari ARCHIVES* Flower Induction in Orchids
This is a good article and it discusses the basic bell curve that occurs with plant growth in regards to increasing concentrations of one type of fertilizer. To dumb it down a little, its basically saying that low concentrations of a fert will help spike formation, but increasing levels can actually have a negative effect and can sometimes change the overall chemical balance of the plant and cause spije formation to slow...or at even higher concentrations, can eveb stop entirely. The take home point here is that we should all fertilize weakly weakly, but mix up the fertilizers we use each time. That way, we are still helping to deliver the plant the nutrients it would find in nature, but at a concentration that won't have an adverse effect on the plant. I think 1/4 strength fert is sufficient for the typical home grower.
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The key to specific fertilizer mixes is the timing of the delivery.
Delivering a specific dose at the wrong time could render the fertilizer formula unused because the plant did not need any of the nutrients in that particular mix, or worse, disrupt the natural growth processes because it got too much of a certain nutrient. (There is an urban myth circulating for years now regarding mutations as a result of Superthrive overdose.)
One of the main challenges most hobby growers have is that our collections are so varied that there is not just one "blooming cycle". Targeting each group for maximum blooming effect could be tricky.
The idea between the "balanced", low dose fertilizer mixes is that the shotgun approach guarantees that your mix always hits something within its wide range of available nutrients in relation to the plant's fluctuating nutrient needs. If it misses, it wont hurt much because of the low dose. On the flip side, even the "hits" will not be as pronounced because of the low dose.
However, it is still better than not providing supplemental feeding at all.
Once you have established the growth cycles of your plants, you can begin to experiment on when to deliver specialized fertilizer doses to the plant, and how much to deliver.
It is like starting on a mountain trail on a 4-wheel ATV. It gives you a wider margin for error. And when you got all the turns and jumps pegged, you can move on to a dirt bike that is less forgiving of timing errors, but allows you to carve it with more precision.
To make things more interesting, some plants initiate blooming not as a response to the infusion of high P or K values, but the reduction of the N values.