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Watering Orchids Question

This is a discussion on Watering Orchids Question within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Thanks, everyone - I appreciate your advice. I'm sure my orchids will appreciate it even ...

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  1. #11
    panam's Avatar
    panam is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, everyone - I appreciate your advice. I'm sure my orchids will appreciate it even more!

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    I guess it really depends on who you are talking too, I have asked many of the orchid growers here in South Florida about this and the vast majority of them say you should never water first before you fertilize, fertilize first until it starts to drain out of your pots then go back after the dripping from the pot has stopped then fertilize again. They claim that with two treatments of fertilizer it will absorb more fertilizer as some plants will absorb more on the first time you water or fertilize, which ever you do, then the second time around. The best answer is to do what works best for you, I only know that on my orchids I have noticed much better growth on my orchids once I stopped watering first before I applied fertilizer.

  3. #13
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    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    I guess this is one of those "debates" that resulted from old information losing its details as the years went by.

    This is what I have gleaned regarding this topic from several discussions with growers over the years.

    "Why is it a bad idea to fertilize orchids when the pots/roots are dry?"
    Well, it is only bad in certain situations. A dry orchid pot would have salt/mineral deposits from previous feedings that would cling to the roots and potting medium.
    How much mineral deposit you will have depends on the concentration of your feeding mixture and how often you feed versus how often you water and flush.

    Feeding a dry pot that is already saturated with high mineral deposits would not be good idea as the roots might already be coated with dried mineral deposits and reduces their ability to take in the fertilizer.
    You also have a secondary issue of adding more minerals to a pot that is already saturated.
    This could lead to fertilizer burn on the roots and leaves.

    "Why should we water before fertilizing?"
    The term "before" appears to have been misinterpreted by many growers. You do not need to water the plants immediately before feeding.
    Watering in between feedings is not only a means of hydrating the plants, but it is also a means of rinsing out any excess mineral deposits from the pots and roots.

    "Can we feed the plants immediately after feeding?"
    Of course you can.
    But do consider that the root's intake mechanism can only take so much before it stops pumping fluid into the plant.
    If you have watered the plant to the point of root saturation, feeding it at that point will result in very little fertilizer intake.
    You should wait for the roots to catch their breath before feeding to maximize fertilizer intake.

    Therefore: "Water before feeding" really means "You can feed your plants anytime as long as you are sufficiently rinsing the plants in between feedings".
    Don't take the original statement literally.

    It is like the "Rinse and Repeat" instructions on shampoo labels. If you take it literally, you will use up all the shampoo in one shower session.

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