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Foliar feeding

This is a discussion on Foliar feeding within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I use foliar feeding most of the time ( weakly weekly) - a propriety fertiliser ...

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  1. #11
    catttan's Avatar
    catttan is offline Senior Member
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    Default foliar feeding

    I use foliar feeding most of the time ( weakly weekly) - a propriety fertiliser NPK 21:21:21 for general use and a 18:33:18 for mature plants and as a flower booster. I had been converted to foliar feeding in the early sixties when the early pioneers in Hawaii started to use foliar feeding and achieved dramatic success with it. Even then there was great controversy about its efficacy and detractors attributed the success to the fact that the residue fertiliser had been washed down into the growing medium. But I think that subsequent scientific tests have proved that it does work. If memory serves me right there was even an experiment with radio isotopes that showed that the nutrients are absorbed through the leaves. Of course the fertiliser is also washed down in the growing medium with subsequent waterings - that is a bonus, surely.

    Recently I've been soaking my pots occasionally (or when in the mood) in a diluted solution of home-made EM (Effective micro-organism), and have noticed a marked improvement in the health of the plants with respect to production of new roots and a reduction of root rot and fungus/ mould.

    The attached photo will show why it is more practical to use foliar feeding esp on vandas that have no growing medium. The oncidium would benefit from both foliar and growth medium fertilising.

    The second and third pix show the effect of root growth with EM fertiliser. The second pix also shows what I call " walking my Keiki into its new home " - and while setting it up it helps if you hum or whistle "Walking my baby back home" ( Hehehe I'm that old!)
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  2. #12
    Masdyman is offline Member
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    I like to spray mist my plants in spring into summer when the weather is warm and that will be with my feed mix .On hot days i do it in the Morning then early evening i don't know if it does any good in a feeding sense but i like to do it anyway !
    If the only good is to keep spidermite under control then it is worth it .

  3. #13
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrey6115 View Post
    I'm a firm believer in foliar feeding. All my hanging and mounted plants get fertilizer sprayed on them. I use a watering can on my bench plants and wet them completely.
    What about root rot of for example Phals and oncidiums when watering the whole plant? Cause I'm being very careful here when watering and I'm started to wonder if this id really necessary............

  4. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dess View Post
    What about root rot of for example Phals and oncidiums when watering the whole plant? Cause I'm being very careful here when watering and I'm started to wonder if this id really necessary............
    I use a larger chunk mix with terra cotta and air cone pots. I also grow in a greenhouse and make sure this is done only on sunny days to ensure the foliage is dry before nightfall. This is especially important in the winter months with cooler nights and short days. I also have lots of air movement around the plants 24-7.

  5. #15
    Masdyman is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dess View Post
    What about root rot of for example Phals and oncidiums when watering the whole plant? Cause I'm being very careful here when watering and I'm started to wonder if this id really necessary............
    If i had crown plants then i would mist with a finer spray quickly so they are not soaked just lightly misted and don't let any water stay in the crown .
    And have lots of air movement .

  6. #16
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    Interesting discussion here. I've been wondering too about this topic. I usually avoid getting any water on the leaves, to avoid rot or fungal diseases. I do spray occasionally with neem oil to prevent spread of disease and wondered about adding some plant food to the spray. The neem oil actually has seemed to help with infections, and I think the active agent must be absorbed through the leaves to do that because infections seem to be internal in the leaves. So maybe nutrients are absorbed as well. The bottom line is "what works" and for that, I think the forum members' experiences are really helpful.

  7. #17
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    I have been doing foliar feeding since August, and I think my orchids appreciate it. They seem to anyway! The directions I got were to add it to normal feeding schedule, and do it only once a month.

  8. #18
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    I think I will try foliar feeding too. I'll just make sure it's at the start of the day so the leaves have time to dry off, and use the 1/4 strength that I've been using for weakly weekly watering.

  9. #19
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    I foliar feed in summer in conjunction with my normal feeding regime, I feed at every watering and foliar with the same mix most days in summer, in the morning and early evening sometimes. I wouldn't bother buying a specialist foliar feed it surely is a waste of money when you can use your normal feed and stick it in a sprayer.

    I am not sure if the plants actually benefit from the feed much but it gives me great pleasure to see the plants misted in summer and they do look better for it.

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