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Fertilizing....specifics?

This is a discussion on Fertilizing....specifics? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Ok...( Julie...this is all your fault! ). Recently we were discussing Julie's Phal . mannii ...

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  1. #1
    mtequine's Avatar
    mtequine is offline Senior Member
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    Default Fertilizing....specifics?

    Ok...(Julie...this is all your fault!). Recently we were discussing Julie's Phal. mannii and fertilizer came up.

    Julie said she thinks her (species? or in general?) phals like a little more fert. than her paphs.

    The biologist in me needs this quanitified---how do you all (julie?) do this...does that mean you don't fertilize your paphs every time you water and you DO fertilize your phals (and catts and...) every time you water...

    OR

    Do you up the concentration of fert. and fert. phals every time? Or less often?

    Toooooo many variables....

    I have been using about 1/4 tsp MSU fert/gal of tap water and fert. everything with that about 3 out of four weeks in a month. ( Have been watering once a week, need to up some of these plants to twice....).

    I'm having success reblooming oncids, catts, paphs....encyclias are not so happy (well, happy but not blooming) and my noid phal hybrids ARE happy but my species phals are not growing/doing much of anything at all on this routine....

    Thanks for input!

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    I fertilize whenever I feel like it...I don't really have schedule....probably because those slippers I have aren't fertilizer demanding

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    In general, when I'm watering the paphs I mix up fertilizer less than a third the strength I use for phals and others. And I don't fertilize anything at every watering because I'm lazy. You're so left-brained compared to me--I doubt this method will work for you! heehee

    Now McJulie--there's someone with an eye for detail. I'll be interested to hear what she says!

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    I'm with smartie; I usually just fertilize whenever I actually have time to get the fertilzer out of the cabinet and mix it with water...hahaha Sometimes I only have time to run some water over them and then run out the door, but I've actually found that the less I pay attention to my orchids, the better they behave for me!!

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    I've seen quite a few comments about paphs not loving too much fertiliser, so I too would be interested to hear people's comments. I am concerned that I might be doing my new babies more harm than good if I use fertiliser too much on the paphs.

    I got a telling off from Tom the other days for "wasting" RO water that we have to pay for on the plants whilst I gave them a good flushing out.

    Huh! He's got a lot to learn to be a truly orchid supportive husband.

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    I try to remember to fertilize about every 3rd watering. Phals get the same strength as catts and others, about 1/2 to 1/3 of what the manufacturer recommends. My paphs get minimal fert, I actually use the misting method, misting them with fertilizer at 1/2 strength the day after I water.

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    Sorry Jenny, I've been doing the catch-up thing with posts, and am only just reading this one.

    Well, I may be the poster child for anal-retentiveness in so many other aspects, but certainly not for fertilizing! I'm lucky to water orchids when they need it. Fertilizing is a pain and I don't do it as often as I should.

    I use Osmocote time-release fertilizer in most of my pots, to make up for this. It gives off a little fert every time you water, for up to four months. I figure this is a bit more forgiving.

    Synthetic fertilizers give a single dose of chemical ferts (ie, 20-20-20) right when you apply them. Natural fertilizers (such as seaweed extract) give a much lower dose of ferts over time (ie, .1-.1-1.5). This is actuall better for your plants. The fert industry must label the amount of fert delivered at any time, that's why the chemical ferts have such higher numbers. Natural ferts are actually more what your plants want. I use a combo of both.

    Don't overlook trace elements. Ca and Mg are very important for plant growth and many ferts don't contain them. Additives such as Superthrive, crushed egg shells, epsom salts and dolomite lime can deliver many of the required trace elements.

    When plants dry out, the salts from the fertilizer will collect in the tips of the leaves (and roots). These can burn the leaves and leave brown dead tips. If it's severe, it can march right down the leaf. Some orchids are more sensitive than others. I've burned the snot out of many Paphs early on when I fetilized them just like my other orchids. Some were burned to death. I found the Parvi section and Parvi hybrids were the most fertilizer intolerant of the Paphs. Phrag besseae is also extremely fert intolerant. I think the Coryos can tolerate more, but as a rule, I don't fert my Paphs. I do add crushed egg shells and lime to the pots, since many are found in nature growing on limestone cliffs.

    I try to fert anything else that's pushing up new growth, or sending up a spike. That takes energy, and when it's readily available, the plant will produce more buds.

    Some genera are heavy feeders. Catts, Dens, Lycaste, Coelogyne love fert, to name a few.

    As a general rule of thumb, lower to no fert if the plant has a dormant period. No water=no fert. More fert during active growth and spike production. Growth=fert/water.

    Hope this helps!

    McJulie

  8. #8
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    Thank you for that great reply, McJulie! That had some good info in there that I didn't know about!

  9. #9
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    Thanks McJulie...I knew you were busy w/the New York trip and behind in posts. No worries.

    This does help....will do some thinking/adjusting my fertilizing "program".

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    I love the avatar, Jenny!

    McJulie

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