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  • 4 Post By raybark

Another example of "Less is More" when it comes to feeding.

This is a discussion on Another example of "Less is More" when it comes to feeding. within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Considering how much water, and how little food an orchid gets in nature, I switched ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Another example of "Less is More" when it comes to feeding.

    Considering how much water, and how little food an orchid gets in nature, I switched to K-Lite fertilizer (12-1-1-10Ca-3Mg) at only 25-35 ppm N at every watering in November of 2011. Since then, I have been very pleased with their growth and flowering, but it makes me wonder if even that might be excessive. Examples like this also push my thinking in that direction:

    This is Phrag. Will Chantry, moved from flask directly into 3.5" Semi-Hydro pots about 18-20 months ago. They were watered in with roughly 30 ppm N K-Lite, which was supplemented with 1:250 KelpMax and 1:100 Inocucor Garden Solution. Since that time, they have only received RO water, applied via overhead misting 2x/day, in my basement "incubator". This was not done by choice, but by too many distractions that led me to ignoring it. Apparently that's not so bad!




    The leaves are a bit mottled, suggesting a bit of nutrient deficiency, but this still managed to grow and bloom. The second image shows the extensive root system, both in the pot and overgrowing it.



  2. #2
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    Really lovely plant and flowers! I'm afraid your neglect is better than my "good" care... No RO water here, just the basic hard alkaline tap water. I'm pretty sure that limits the plants that will grow for me. I'm having good luck with the S/H too though.

    Finding the right time to repot can be hard if one of my plants isn't doing well in its current situation. Particularly I find that an Onc might be struggling and need to be repotted (usually shortly after I get them - poorly potted to start with) and its really hard to get them to recover from the struggle and the repot. Makes me afraid to mess with them, but then they die from that! Must be fun to start with them from the flask!

    I'm starting to put houseplant starts in S/H to start the cuttings, seems very promising! Next I'll go with cuttings of my currant bushes and see what happens...

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    Shows how important microbes are to sustaining life. If the plant was not provided with an initial microbe inoculation and was kept in a perfectly sterile environment you probably would not have much of a plant.

  4. #4
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    I think you are right about that one, Karin! Microbes are amazing, I'm learning to encourage them in my veggie garden and to work with nature to grow strong veggies.

  5. #5
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    Looks good Ray! Would the optimum way to grow phrag.'s be with an almost continuous supply of fresh water and extremely fast drainage. I know very little about them. Noticed the May apples are already out of the ground in PA.

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    Hi Ray! What a lovely flower and color!

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    Love it,2years with the reward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris in Hamilton View Post
    Looks good Ray! Would the optimum way to grow phrag.'s be with an almost continuous supply of fresh water and extremely fast drainage. I know very little about them. Noticed the May apples are already out of the ground in PA.
    HI Chris.

    I think you're right about the phrag culture, although I'm beginning to thing that may apply to most-, if not all orchids.

    With phrags, that fast drainage is often burbling streams. With others, it's torrential rains.

    And yes, the May Apples and several other wildflowers are emerging. YAY!

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    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    HI Chris.

    I think you're right about the phrag culture, although I'm beginning to thing that may apply to most-, if not all orchids.

    With phrags, that fast drainage is often burbling streams. With others, it's torrential rains.
    Have to agree with that. I think any orchid that comes from the rain forests or especially monsoon areas might see rain for weeks or even months non stop. When those rains do stop there is still dew and fog supplying moisture. I guess the secret is that they are getting a high concentration of oxygen at the same time.

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    I would like to stress two points here: This was done through neglect, not by plan. However, the success of the plant does support the concept that their nutritional needs are minimal - hence "less is more". "Nothing" is not "more".

    Point two, which supports this and Chris' comments: if you look at the chemical makeup of plants, they're 85% water, 14% carbon, and 1% everything else. Lots of available water equals more carbon fixation, so better growth. If you calculate the conversion, for a plant to put on one pound of mass, it must absorb and process about 25 gallons of water and less than a teaspoon of N-P-K nutrition. (For you metricated folks, 1 kg of mass gain requires 200-210 L of water and about 10 g of fertilizer.)

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