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Orchid Love Fertilizer

This is a discussion on Orchid Love Fertilizer within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; After growing orchids for almost 35 years I finally came to the realization that orchids ...

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  1. #11
    Wade's Orchids's Avatar
    Wade's Orchids is offline Senior Member
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    After growing orchids for almost 35 years I finally came to the realization that orchids get very little of the energy you see represented as a plant and flowers from the fertilizers we provide. Sunshine and good water combined with the act of photosynthesis is by far the most important things to orchids and, indeed, most plants. I am not saying that fertilizer is not important but a plant that appears healthy with good roots and flowers has good light and water to thank first. From my (admittedly layperson) viewpoint, the nutrients we provide assist the process of photosynthesis rather than provide "food" for the plants. Ray, Catt Mandu, or others, please correct me on this if I'm wrong.

  2. #12
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    I agree Wade.

    I think that you can consider the NPK and other mineral nutrients as the building blocks used by the orchids. You can't build essential proteins without N for example. K and some other nutrients function to facilitate essential plant processes. Orchids grow slowly and don't need much N, but they do need it. Water and carbon dioxide are other essential building blocks.

    The real energy though is sunlight. You can think of it as the bricklayer that puts it all together (or better yet, maybe the breakfast that drives the bricklayer)

    All of these component's are needed in some measure to get good growth and performance. Plant performance is always limited by the component that is in shortest supply (this is called Liebig's law of the minimum).
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  3. #13
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    Ditto - Water, air, and sunlight are the driving forces. 95% of the plant is water. if you look at the "dry" tissues, that 5% is almost entirely C, O, H, and N. The first three come from water and air, only the nitrogen must be supplied by fertilizers. All of the other minerals - P, K, Mg, Ca, and all of the "trace" elements - may be essential, but only in very small doses. "Pushing" fertilizers achieves nothing positive, and may actually be damaging to the plant.

    By the way - just got back from vacation, and after ten days, I've still received no response from the "Love" folks.

  4. #14
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    Ray, I doubt that you will get any response. I'll go out on a limb and call it a plant version of "snake oil". They have nothing to gain by responding and cannot give any evidence of benefits to plants.

  5. #15
    Zabeta is offline Junior Member
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    Hi everyone,

    When I first started keeping orchids, I bought the easiest organic orchid fertilizer I could find that had good reviews: AO Organic Orchid Grow, which is a spray designed for foliar feeding. This was convenient and non-messy, and I used it for months, until I came across information that foliar feeding is not super effective for orchids, particular those like Phals that have thick, waxy, impenetrable leaves. And it was true that most of the orchids were not thriving, just subsisting.

    Recently, after researching organic orchid fertilizers that get mixed into their water, I came across Orchid Love, which had excellent reviews . I bought it and was disturbed by the lack of labeling, so decided to use it on only a couple plants that weren't doing so well, to test it out. One of these, a Brassidium Shooting Star 'Black Gold,' literally sprouted roots overnight on its previously rootless new growth. Now, whether these roots were due to Orchid Love or not remains in question, but it was a startling thing to notice.

    With all the weirdness surrounding an unlabeled fertilizer that is, literally, fishy, I'm back to square one trying to figure out which fertilizer to use:

    a) Is it worthwhile to seek out organic fertilizers? Am I naive in thinking that these are safer and milder than chemical fertilizers?

    b) Is it possible that Orchid Love actually works? The reviews on a retail website suggest that maybe it does, and although my experience could be a coincidence, it certainly doesn't seem to have hurt anything.

    c) Which fertilizer (organic or not) would you recommend? I'm looking into Orchid Focus, which has no urea and contains micronutrients. Does anyone have experience with this?

    Thanks for any guidance on this - I'm finding the fertilizer question quite complicated and confusing. :-)

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zabeta View Post
    Is it worthwhile to seek out organic fertilizers? Am I naive in thinking that these are safer and milder than chemical fertilizers?
    The ions absorbed by the plant are the same, whether the source is inorganic or organic. The "safer and milder" aspects are related to concentration. You'll find that most organics are in the 1%-, 2%-, or 3% vicinity in any nutrient, while inorganic fertilizers can be much higher. However, if you consider that 1/10 teaspoon of a 30-10-10 is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of a 3-1-1, what does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zabeta View Post
    Is it possible that Orchid Love actually works? The reviews on a retail website suggest that maybe it does, and although my experience could be a coincidence, it certainly doesn't seem to have hurt anything.
    Nothing - and I mean literally nothing - makes a plant go from dormancy to noticeable growth overnight. I'd bet your brassidium was about there anyway, and the timing was a coincidence.

    I'm quite sure that "Orchid Love" contains usable nutrients. That's all I'll say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zabeta View Post
    Which fertilizer (organic or not) would you recommend? I'm looking into Orchid Focus, which has no urea and contains micronutrients. Does anyone have experience with this?
    The Orchid Focus (Growth Technology) website is particularly short on information about the products, which always makes me wary, but what's worse is the blatant misinformation! "Urea free, as urea can harm epiphytes"?? - BS. Urea simply isn't as well absorbed by epiphytes as it is for terrestrial plants. "Use the Bloom formula when the plant is in bloom, or a new spike appears" is similarly manure-like advice. If you've been overfeeding nitrogen, you need to switch to a low-N, so-called "bloom formula" well in advance, so the N can get out of the plants' system and allow blooming to occur at all.

    The bottom line is they're trying to sell fertilizer, not help your plants grow better. AND...as they're liquids, you're paying for water.

    About the only original fertilizer formulas I'm aware of that were specifically and scientifically designed for epiphytes are the Greencare "MSU" formulas for Well Water (or any supply already containing Ca and Mg), RO (for any mineral-free water supply {sold in EU as Akerne's Rain Mix}), or K-Lite, which is a Low-P & -K derivative of the latter.

    My personal take, after over 40 years of growing, and a lot of research, is that if your feeding and watering regimen provides a complete range of nutrients, the actual formula is less of a concern, and that it is the concentration and frequency of application - specifically quite low and quite frequent - that will give you the best growth and blooming.

  7. #17
    Zabeta is offline Junior Member
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    Raybark, thank you so much for this detailed and clear reply. As I said, the fertilizer question has been very baffling to me, and this helps a lot. Thanks.

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