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  • 1 Post By Tanya

When to switch fertilizers?

This is a discussion on When to switch fertilizers? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; when should I switch from a high nitrogen fertilizer to a high phosphate fertilizer? I'm ...

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  1. #1
    OrchidTraci's Avatar
    OrchidTraci is offline Senior Member
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    Post When to switch fertilizers?

    when should I switch from a high nitrogen fertilizer to a high phosphate fertilizer? I'm curious as to what stage in the growth is appropriate. Thanks a bunch.

  2. #2
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    I used to tell people to switch to a higher phosphorus fertilizer the moment they saw flower spikes start to develop. The prevailing thought among growers was that blossom boosters with those higher middle numbers increased flower count and size.

    Recent research on Phals, though, has shown that switching to a blossom booster not only doesn't increase flower count or size, it actually *decreases* them. Here's a thread with more info:

    So Traci, at this point, I don't think I'd switch. Just keep using what you're using, something balanced, or with higher nitrogen if you're growing in bark mix (decaying bark supposedly binds the nitrogen, leaving less available for the plant, but I don't know if this has actually been verified or is just a myth.)

  3. #3
    TundraKev's Avatar
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    I've observed other discussions about fertilizer (sometimes very heated) on other forums. Basically, what I've always come away with is for the majority of orchids in your average home collection, fertilizer is very overrated. Not to say it isn't important, but if you really want to improve the overall health and condition of your plants and flowers concentrate on making as many improvements as possible to your growing conditions: light, temp, water etc.

    It always seems like the more experienced growers end up saying they do use fertilizer and simply rotate between a couple or few different kinds in no particular order.


  4. #4
    uncasteeb's Avatar
    uncasteeb is offline Senior Member
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    I use 50% growth & 50% bloom ferts all year round(well for the last year) .
    Why ?
    Well i,m not sure when things are going to bloom , especially if they haven,t bloomed for me before.
    Loads of spikes & flowers .
    For instance i bought a Den. ochreatum about 10 weeks ago & it had a new growth showing.Into s/h it went & it,s grown really fast.Checked the plant on Sunday & it has 3 flower nodes .I thought that the cane would have to "mature" before it flowered but it doesn,t seem to be the case for this Den.

  5. #5
    MikeWA's Avatar
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    Feb 2005


    A few things I do know is that toomuch nitrogen can stop flowering in certain species and create keikes rather than buds. Reed stem Epi being one type.

    Also, a good Cal-Mag in addition to regular fertilizer seems to help out Paphs.

    Personally, I use Alaska fish fertilizer as my base,go to, always have, cheap, well balanced, oh natural fertilizer. I then throw in tha a Cal-Mag or hydropinic or dynagro or whatever is cheap at the local nursery supply. I even use a chelated iron and epsom salt mixture a few times a year. In my years of growing I have never seen one fertilizer make enough of a difference to brag about.

  6. #6
    Tanya's Avatar
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    I have always used 20-20-20 fert on all my orchids. Take away the guessing on when to use high nitro or high potash. Works well on Phal.

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