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  • 2 Post By tucker85
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Nutrient Defeciency

This is a discussion on Nutrient Defeciency within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi all, just something I came across was the topic of nutrient defeciency in orchids. ...

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    Default Nutrient Defeciency

    Hi all, just something I came across was the topic of nutrient defeciency in orchids. A regular npk doesn't cover other nutrients vital to orchid growth. How can I overcome this shortage of nutrients? What is considered to be a balanced nitrient rich orchid feed?
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    Fertilizers that contain the three major nutrients (nitrogen – phosphorus - Potassium) and also contain all the micro-nutrients are called complete fertilizers. Most fertilizers made for orchids are complete fertilizers and contain the micro-nutrients. One that doesn’t is Orchid Focus which I actually like because the nitrogen comes from nitrate but it doesn’t include micronutrients. One nutrient that is sometimes not included in sufficient amounts is magnesium. For that reason some growers occasionally treat their orchids with Epson salts at a couple of teaspoons per gallon of water to provide more magnesium. The latest science on fertilization of orchids has produced what people refer to as MSU (Michigan State University) fertilizer formulas. MSU type fertilizers contain less phosphorous and include more calcium and magnesium. The fertilizer that works best for you will depend on your water. Municipal and well water can contain many nutrients that your orchids can use. If in doubt, I don’t think you can go wrong with a MSU type fertilizer that includes calcium and magnesium.

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    Tucker is right.

    Don't be too concerned, though. The plants' demands for all nutrients is very low, and many of them are translocatable, so can move to new tissue from old as it grows. Calcium is not translocatable, but most water supplies have plenty anyway.

    Conversely, an excess of those so-called "trace" elements can lead to all sorts of problems.

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    Thanks guys, does this change if I am using RO water?
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    Reverse osmosis will remove most of the minerals from the water, so it's even more important for your fertilizer to contain the micro-nutrients including calcium and magnesium. An MSU fertilizer that contains extra calcium and magnesium would be ideal in my opinion.

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    I thoroughly agree with Tucker85. RO water is completely devoid of nutrients so something like MSU (in UK Akerns rain mix is very popular ) is a must add.

    Ed

    Ed

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    Thanks guys
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    I am feeding my orchids with a regular NPK orchid feed in prescribed dosage as per the instructions and recently started to add CalMag as well to the RO water. Is this sufficient?
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    Most standard fertilizers, when dissolved in water having no buffering capacity (any pure water source), will give you a solution that is entirely too acidic for the well-being of the plants. I recommend getting some aquarium test strips to make sure you are not exposing them to too low of a pH - 5.5-6.5 is pretty much ideal.

    If your standard fertilizers is only N, P, & K, and the supplement is only Ca & Mg, you're still not providing everything the plants need.

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