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This is a discussion on Fertilizing and winter within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I think we are in danger of mis-, or over-interpretation of our observations here, so ...
I think we are in danger of mis-, or over-interpretation of our observations here, so before folks get incorrect ideas about winter feeding, let me throw out a few comments for further discussion:
First, let's establish that "feeding" is not just "applying fertilizer". Just as there are differences between meals that can affect our health - a broiled chicken breast with wild rice and green beans, and an entire bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups can both be considered "meals", after all - so the amount and formula of fertilizer applied also plays a huge role in plant health.
Nitrogen management is important. It is the nutrient primary factor that affects blooming - too much can delay, or stop it altogether. My use of very low nitrogen levels, and Connie's total cessation of feeding basically accomplishes the same thing.
Too much nitrogen can also lead to weak, leggy growth that is more susceptible to rots.
Rots are more prevalent in plants that are overfed, even if the growing conditions favor sturdy-, and not leggy growth. Orchids are very slow growers and stingy in their nutrient demands. In both lab rats and people, it is well established that frequent, moderate meals lead to better health; why not plants, too?
Excessive potassium application has also been implicated in rots. Not so much by itself, but because it can hinder the uptake of other important nutrients, like calcium.
I'll take the peanut butter cups! For me, the issue isn't with fertilizing but with watering at all concerning my orchids that need a winter rest. The Catasetums and Lycastes that lose their leaves are pretty easy to decide upon as they are truly dormant. It's mostly with these Dendrobiums (esp. the Aussie hybrids) that are supposed to be resting but instead have active growth. After saying this, I think enough of us may be questioning this that it would be worthwhile to contact Fred Clarke who works with them extensively. If I get a reply from him I'll pass it along.