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  • 1 Post By jai_star
  • 1 Post By 78Terp
  • 1 Post By catasetum-ian
  • 2 Post By raybark

Orchid bloom fertlizer

This is a discussion on Orchid bloom fertlizer within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I'm sorry if this has already been raised before. I just thought we would get ...

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  1. #1
    jai_star's Avatar
    jai_star is offline Senior Member
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    Default Orchid bloom fertlizer

    I'm sorry if this has already been raised before. I just thought we would get some input as the bloom season starts for some of us. I have bloom fert 10-10-30 and I use it seldom. My plants seem to bloom without me using it. My question is when and is it all that necessary to use it? Some of them are producing spikes already is this the time to feed? Or is it too late? Do I still feed for bigger blooms or initiate blooms? Or it is best left on the shelf as my plants still seem to bloom without it?

    Confused here anyone else with me?
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  2. #2
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is offline An Avant Gardner
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    The local custom here on Orchid Talk on bloom fertilizers is that they are all marketing, no real evidence that it does anything.

  3. #3
    catasetum-ian's Avatar
    catasetum-ian is offline apprentice
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    own experience is that with blooming fert, i have higher percentage of catasetums on bloom and also they are able to produce spike that carry more flower buds as long as the plants are healthy. and chances of getting 2 to 3 spike per cycle for each bulb is higher. sometimes they will go bonkers producing 5 spikes per bulb in a cycle.
    but on the contrary, some plants would need a period of "no fert" to induce flower spike...from my own observation

  4. #4
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    There simply isn't any such thing as a "bloom booster" fertilizer.

    When Dr. O. Wesley Davidson (Rutgers Univ.) invented what became Mir-Acid (30-10-10) - the first "chemical" fertilizer - and folks used it heavily, their plants grew tremendously, but the heavy application of nitrogen quashed blooming. By diluting the nitrogen in the powder by adding cheap phosphorus and/or potassium compounds, the reduced nitrogen levels ALLOWED blooming to occur naturally. Marketers saw the opportunity, and the "Bloom Booster" came to be.

    The simple fact is this: give the plant the exact cultural parameters it wants, including feeding it adequately, and it will bloom to its genetically-programmed maximum. There is nothing that can boost it beyond that.

  5. #5
    jai_star's Avatar
    jai_star is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    There simply isn't any such thing as a "bloom booster" fertilizer.

    When Dr. O. Wesley Davidson (Rutgers Univ.) invented what became Mir-Acid (30-10-10) - the first "chemical" fertilizer - and folks used it heavily, their plants grew tremendously, but the heavy application of nitrogen quashed blooming. By diluting the nitrogen in the powder by adding cheap phosphorus and/or potassium compounds, the reduced nitrogen levels ALLOWED blooming to occur naturally. Marketers saw the opportunity, and the "Bloom Booster" came to be.

    The simple fact is this: give the plant the exact cultural parameters it wants, including feeding it adequately, and it will bloom to its genetically-programmed maximum. There is nothing that can boost it beyond that.
    This is really interesting I too think it is a bit of a gimmick , as with many flowering plants such as perrenials rarely a bloom fert is used and yet they still put out flowers after flowers.. I think i will just keep up with the good culture for now and skip the bloom fert for now

  6. #6
    eeyore is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you all for this very informative discussion. All along I have been using a simple liquid fertiliser for my orchids (no information about what is in it!), some of which have bloomed and some not - more according to the season than anything else. This year at the HK flower show, one of the vendors had some fertiliser pellets for blooms and another type for leaves which I was gullible enough to believe and bought.... now I'm wondering what I've been sold and if I should pick them out from the pots I've put them into - should I? In HK, all the easily available orchid fertilisers do not come with information about the exactly NPK composition which is very annoying!

    One further question - how to commercial orchid flower producers make their orchids bloom? Is it just a matter of them controlling the environment and creating the right conditions? I'm always amazed at the phal plants in bloom here sold around the year when mine only bloom once a year in spring, always wondered how they do it... AND they look SO perfect!

  7. #7
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    I am convinced that pretty much any fertilizer formula can be "acceptable". Preferably, it has all of the minor and trace elements as well, but the key is to apply it in very low doses.

    For example, since November of 2011, all of my plants have been getting K-Lite (12-1-1-10Ca-3Mg, with trace elements) at literally every watering. A 12-1-1 formula is even a greater "high nitrogen" ratio than the 30-10-10 (12:1 versus 3:1), but because I am only applying it at 25 ppm N (about 1/6 teaspoon per gallon, or 0.19 g/L), I am seeing better growth and blooming than ever before.

    Eeyore - you are right. They are controlling the environment. Most phalaenopsis hybrids respond to changes in average temperature. By exposing the plant to about two weeks of an average growing temperature about 10°-15°F lower than where they had been being grown, they will very reliably respond by initiating flower spikes, and then by elevating the growing temperature again, you get the fasted, best spike development. With enough growing space and environmental control, you can get a steady stream of plants in pretty much any stage of blooming.

    For those of us growing in less space and with less control over our environments, we're pretty much at the whim of nature.

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