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water and fertilizer question, please

This is a discussion on water and fertilizer question, please within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hi, I have been watering with "Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow 7-9-5 plant food" and distilled water ...

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  1. #1
    brit6v's Avatar
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    Default water and fertilizer question, please

    Hi,
    I have been watering with "Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow 7-9-5 plant food" and distilled water weakly-weekly (1/4 teas. per gallon) for several months. I was recently told that if I would like to continue using this fertilizer, I should raise the PH level. I know next to nothing about water, PH and fertilizer.....so could someone please tell me how to do this?

    Thanks in advance,
    Vicki

  2. #2
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    Default

    Vicki, what type of orchids are you growing?

  3. #3
    brit6v's Avatar
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    Default Joe

    I'm growing mostly catts and phals. I also have 3 dens, a couple of onc., 1 mtssa, 1 vanda, 1 zygoneria and 1 epi.



    Quote Originally Posted by JoeW View Post
    Vicki, what type of orchids are you growing?

  4. #4
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    Default

    Yikes...you've got an interesting bunch there. The basic ones, phals dens oncids and catts are pretty much the same with food (for the most part). Water with food, once a week and skip the fourth weeks food and rinse the pots very well to remove extra left over fertilizer salts. The formula's everyone talks about....you want to find a fertilizer that says 4-4-4 or 10-10-10, they should be the same or close. If it is 20-20-20 you cut the fertilizer into 1/4 strength that they say on the bottle so you will be giving it each week but weakly.....make the numbers come out to a 4 ratio (4-4-4) or a 5 ratio (5-5-5) when you want them to bloom. When the first # is higher it encourages growth so you use a high first # in the spring and early summer only. Then, in the winter you use one with a higher middle # and a low first #. Usually, on the orchid foods one will say bloom booster. That is the one you give the plant in summer and fall. Winter usually you don't feed them much...give them a rest unless they are showing active growth.
    I hope this helps. There is more info on the American Orchid Society website that goes month by month to say what to do for each type and when.
    Good Luck
    Connie

  5. #5
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    Default Cjcorner

    Wow....thanks, Connie....you've given me a lot of good info! What I need to know for the time being is how to raise a PH. Did I misunderstand your answer? Maybe you're explaining to me what I need to know, but I just don't know you are. lol ???

    I looked back on my post, and I see that I probably didn't make my question 100% clear. I guess I should have worded it differently:

    I changed to distilled water awhile back. Before I changed, I used "Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow 7-9-5 plant food weakly-weekly (1/4 teas. per gallon) with our home carbon block water filtering system. I was told recently that I should raise the PH if I plan to continue using distilled water with this same fertilizer, and I do. I don't know how to raise a PH, so that's what I need to know.

    By the way, since I'm so new at growing orchids, I just haven't learned yet exactly which ones I can grow best in my conditions.....so, that's why I'm trying to grow a few varied ones now. I'm still in the learning process. In fact, I have a feeling that I'm going to be in a learning process for a loooooong time.

    Thanks again,
    Vicki






    Quote Originally Posted by Cjcorner View Post
    Yikes...you've got an interesting bunch there. The basic ones, phals dens oncids and catts are pretty much the same with food (for the most part). Water with food, once a week and skip the fourth weeks food and rinse the pots very well to remove extra left over fertilizer salts. The formula's everyone talks about....you want to find a fertilizer that says 4-4-4 or 10-10-10, they should be the same or close. If it is 20-20-20 you cut the fertilizer into 1/4 strength that they say on the bottle so you will be giving it each week but weakly.....make the numbers come out to a 4 ratio (4-4-4) or a 5 ratio (5-5-5) when you want them to bloom. When the first # is higher it encourages growth so you use a high first # in the spring and early summer only. Then, in the winter you use one with a higher middle # and a low first #. Usually, on the orchid foods one will say bloom booster. That is the one you give the plant in summer and fall. Winter usually you don't feed them much...give them a rest unless they are showing active growth.
    I hope this helps. There is more info on the American Orchid Society website that goes month by month to say what to do for each type and when.
    Good Luck
    Connie

  6. #6
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    Default

    Vicki, do a search for 'Hydroponic pH Adjusters' and you will come up with some brand names. One I know of contains a dilute potassium hydroxide solution. You would use approximately 1 teaspoon per gallon of nutrient solution to raise the pH by one full point. They come in quart, gallon, and 2.5 gallon containers.
    I believe orchids have a preferred soil pH range of 4.5 to 5.5 (slightly acidic). pH is important in plant growth because it affects the availability of plant foods and prevents the spread of soil borne diseases. I do not know how it works on orchids in water. You might find this interesting:
    http://www.simplyhydro.com/ph.htm
    Joe

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    Default Joe

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks so much.....I appreciate you going to the trouble of explaining in detail and supplying the link for me to check out.

    I wish I could use the same fertilizer I've been using....the Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow 7-9-5, but if not, I'll do what I can to make the water correct.

    I called our local water system and checked out the PH of our tap water here at home and it's approx. 7.2-7.5. Would it work ok if I used the Dyno gro 7-9-5 in our tap water, or not? good? bad?

    If you don't mind, please let me know.....thanks again,
    Vicki




    Quote Originally Posted by JoeW View Post
    Vicki, do a search for 'Hydroponic pH Adjusters' and you will come up with some brand names. One I know of contains a dilute potassium hydroxide solution. You would use approximately 1 teaspoon per gallon of nutrient solution to raise the pH by one full point. They come in quart, gallon, and 2.5 gallon containers.
    I believe orchids have a preferred soil pH range of 4.5 to 5.5 (slightly acidic). pH is important in plant growth because it affects the availability of plant foods and prevents the spread of soil borne diseases. I do not know how it works on orchids in water. You might find this interesting:
    Simply Hydroponics - pH
    Joe

  8. #8
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    Default

    Hi, Vicki, I sent you a PM. I hope they can help you. It sounds like your water needs to be more acidic. Joe
    Last edited by JoeW; February 6th, 2009 at 10:40 AM.

  9. #9
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    Vickie a simple solution is to take a sample of your water to your local extension agent. They will test the water and then be able to tell you what to do from there.

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    Default Ischel1

    Ischel, are you advising me to take a sample of the distilled water in the gallon containers that you buy at the grocery (etc.) stores to the extension service? If so, that's what I'll do. I just didn't think that since it is Pure Water, that was necessary. As I've been saying to others, I am very non-savvy when it comes to water, so I may still be altogether off-base....and STILL not understand. If you don't mind, will you let me know if I'm even in the ballpark....with my thinking about distilled water's PH? I would appreciate it, but I'll understand if you don't have time to help me more.
    Vicki



    Quote Originally Posted by ischel1 View Post
    Vickie a simple solution is to take a sample of your water to your local extension agent. They will test the water and then be able to tell you what to do from there.

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