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What's a good fertilizer?

This is a discussion on What's a good fertilizer? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I recently started using MSU fertilizer (for Municipal water) after e-mailing MSU. The geeks that ...

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  1. #31
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    I recently started using MSU fertilizer (for Municipal water) after e-mailing MSU. The geeks that use this fertilizer do you use it all year round? Do you alternate using a "bloom booster" monthly. I started using KelpMax twice a month and have noticed a lot my new root growth. Appreciate everyones input.

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    A CAUTION TO THOSE WHO ARE CONTEMPLATING FISH FERTILIZER:

    No Matter How They Advertise IT - It SMELLS LIKE DEAD FISH!!!!

    Plan to fertilise outside and leave your orchids there for a day or two

    (VOICE OF GREAT EXPERIENCE)

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    Tucker, I didn't know you could use seaweed extract on orchids! I use it on the garden, but am wondering if you use it on orchids, say phals, growing in bark etc? Also, I note you only use it in Spring through Summer. How much do you use please? Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumblebee View Post
    Tucker, I didn't know you could use seaweed extract on orchids! I use it on the garden, but am wondering if you use it on orchids, say phals, growing in bark etc? Also, I note you only use it in Spring through Summer. How much do you use please? Thank you.
    I'm not Tucker, nor do I play him on TV, but "how much" depends upon which particular brand of seaweed extract you have. Puppies2 mentioned KelpMax, and that should be used at about a tablespoon per gallon, with fertilizer.

    I will add that the manufacturer recommends not using it more often than every 2- to 3 weeks. The product is loaded with auxins, which causes the plants to initiate new root tips. As they grow, they naturally emit cytokinins that cause the plants to grow. The response to the auxin increases for 3- to 5 days after exposure, then fades away. The cytokinin response follows a similar curve, and the whole, overlapping-2 curve thing takes about 2-3 weeks.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    I will add that the manufacturer recommends not using it more often than every 2- to 3 weeks. The product is loaded with auxins, which causes the plants to initiate new root tips. As they grow, they naturally emit cytokinins that cause the plants to grow. The response to the auxin increases for 3- to 5 days after exposure, then fades away. The cytokinin response follows a similar curve, and the whole, overlapping-2 curve thing takes about 2-3 weeks.
    Well that's good to know!! I was adding a small amount of fish fertilizer every time I watered. The vandaceous orchids didn't seem to like it very much. The roots started getting discolored and began looking a bit shriveled, so I stopped using the fish fert on the vandas. Actually, I sort of stopped using it altogether because I was so annoyed at how my Vanda roots were looking. And, of course, my Vanda vases stank like a fishing boat that had been sitting in the sun.....

    I have seen the fish fert "perk up" some plants, though...some of my species phals seemed to respond to it really well. My Phal mariae in particular REALLY took off after months of non-action after it received the fish stuff. But then the whole Vanda thing happened and I got sick of it. Perhaps now that I know the chemistry behind how it's supposed to work I can do a better job of using it!

    I also noticed when I went to my local home improvement center recently that they had a different brand of orchid fertilizer in stock called "Better Gro." There was one for general fertilization (higher in nitrogen) and one for bloom production (higher in phosphorous), but both boasted "NO UREA!!!" so I thought they would be better than the stuff I had been using previously.

    I have noticed that my species phals seem to have significantly better top growth with this new fertilizer; many were doing nothing for quite a while but then started putting out new leaves when I switched to the Better Gro formula. I had initially planned to try the MSU stuff, but I never got around to it because I happened to come across the Better Gro first and I was itchin' for a switchin,' so I just went ahead and bought it. It seems to be working better than my old fertilizer, so that's good news.

    I will make sure not to dose my plants too frequently with the fish emulsion. And that's a bonus, because it means I don't have to smell it nearly as much either!

    Thanks for the info, Ray!!!

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    I use the KelpMax about every 3 - 4 weeks. The vanda roots were looking skimpy and shriveled so I increased the KelpMax frequency. After reading your posting OrchidAddict, I'm definitely going to cut back on the seaweed. Interesting, I didn't have great results with BetterGro. Then switched to Jack's Classic and MSU...alternating them. Whatever works best for our babies!!!

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    Jenn - fish fertilizer (aka fish emulsion) and seaweed extracts are not the same.

    Fish emulsion is a fertilizer, usually somewhere in the 5-1-1 or 5-2-2 range, while seaweed extract is primarily a source of plant-stimulating hormones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    Jenn - fish fertilizer (aka fish emulsion) and seaweed extracts are not the same.

    Fish emulsion is a fertilizer, usually somewhere in the 5-1-1 or 5-2-2 range, while seaweed extract is primarily a source of plant-stimulating hormones.
    Hmmm....the stuff I'm using says it has both fish AND seaweed in it. It's called Neptune's Harvest: fish and seaweed fertilizer. The balance is 2-3-1. It says it gives all the benefits of fish fertilizer along with all the benefits of seaweed in one product, and then encourages the buyer to "use it on EVERYTHING!!" (Except perhaps your pancakes...that would be rather nasty I imagine).

    So, do I then treat it as a fertilizer and use it "weakly weekly," or do I treat it as a seaweed extract and use it once every few weeks, with my other fertilizers as the primary source of nutrition for my plants? And speaking of "weakly weekly," 2-3-1 seems pretty darn weak to begin with. Does that mean it's already diluted and I shouldn't have to dilute it further if I use it for every feeding?

    So confused... hehee....

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchidAddict View Post
    Hmmm....the stuff I'm using says it has both fish AND seaweed in it. It's called Neptune's Harvest: fish and seaweed fertilizer. The balance is 2-3-1. It says it gives all the benefits of fish fertilizer along with all the benefits of seaweed in one product, and then encourages the buyer to "use it on EVERYTHING!!" (Except perhaps your pancakes...that would be rather nasty I imagine).

    So, do I then treat it as a fertilizer and use it "weakly weekly," or do I treat it as a seaweed extract and use it once every few weeks, with my other fertilizers as the primary source of nutrition for my plants? And speaking of "weakly weekly," 2-3-1 seems pretty darn weak to begin with. Does that mean it's already diluted and I shouldn't have to dilute it further if I use it for every feeding?

    So confused... hehee....
    That's a very week fertilizer at 2-3-1. I would use it as a supplement and use another fertilizer the rest of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumblebee View Post
    Tucker, I didn't know you could use seaweed extract on orchids! I use it on the garden, but am wondering if you use it on orchids, say phals, growing in bark etc? Also, I note you only use it in Spring through Summer. How much do you use please? Thank you.
    Ray gave you some good advice. He's the expert when it comes to fertilizers. I use seaweed extract twice a month. Many grower use it year round but it's a growth simulator and I don't want to encourage growth during the winter months. I do use it during the spring and summer and I'm very happy with the results.

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