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General question regarding orchid fertilizer

This is a discussion on General question regarding orchid fertilizer within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I recently read that one should consider using a granular time-release fertilizer in the spring, ...

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  1. #1
    Monks-in-Miami is offline Senior Member
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    Default General question regarding orchid fertilizer

    I recently read that one should consider using a granular time-release fertilizer in the spring, and it will last for six months or so. If this time-release fertilizer is used, do you still fertilize weekly with a weak liquid solution as well?

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    I have heard of folks adding a small amount of the controlled release stuff, then supplementing with water soluble fertilizer but I am not a fan of those fertilizers.

    Once they have gotten wet once, the rate at which they release their nutrients is determined entirely by temperature. Producers should provide a chart that tells you the "life span" for a given temperature, so if you have good control over the temperature of the potting medium, then you can do a good job of dosing; mixing a known mass of the formula into the potting medium, knowing it'll last "x" months.

    Unfortunately, most folks just don't have that good of a control over the temperature, courtesy of seasons and changes in sunlight level, making the likelihood of overdoing it a real problem.

    Orchids are, by far, very undemanding of fertilizer, and I think it just makes more sense (and we know how to control it) to simply apply a very low dose of fertilizer at every watering, flushing the daylights out of the plant with the solution each time.

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    I have this question in my head too! Thanks for the answer Ray!

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    Another technique, mostly used by folks growing vandas, is to put a mesh bag (women's panty hose are often used) of the stuff hanging just about the pot or basket. When watered or it rains, the plants get a small dose of fertilizer.

    Again, that's insufficient control for me, but that's just the sort-of guy I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    Another technique, mostly used by folks growing vandas, is to put a mesh bag (women's panty hose are often used) of the stuff hanging just about the pot or basket. When watered or it rains, the plants get a small dose of fertilizer.

    Again, that's insufficient control for me, but that's just the sort-of guy I am.
    Yup, I have heard of that before.

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    Rather than starting a new thread I'll ask my fertilizer question here.
    I've heard that we shouldn't be fertilizing in winter or when the orchid is not growing.
    Should I be fertilizing the orchids I see putting on new root growth right now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
    Rather than starting a new thread I'll ask my fertilizer question here.
    I've heard that we shouldn't be fertilizing in winter or when the orchid is not growing.
    Should I be fertilizing the orchids I see putting on new root growth right now?
    Absolutely!

    I feed all of my plants year round.

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    Mike H is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks Ray, guess we all need food to grow eh?

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    The only reason NOT to feed a plant is when the administration of nitrogen would lead to breaking dormancy, and relatively speaking, that applies to only a few types of plants.

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    So, I actually do use this approach during the summer but I do it only because I am not here with my collection all summer so if I didn't use a time-release the plants would not get fed from June to October which is the prime growing season. If I were here, I would fertilizing by hand on a schedule like I do from late Oct to late May.
    What I will add is like most things in life, do it in moderation and make sure it is of the "SLOW RELEASE" type. (and this is probably still way too fast)
    I sprinkle a few pellets around the very outside perimeter of each pot (hopefully lessening the potential of burning the plant) or I use the tea bag approach for mounted or hanging plants like vanda's. And I'm not enamored with the tea bags because they are pretty much fully deteriorated by the time I get back. I may try finding and cutting up nylons as Ray suggests or some other material that might be more durable.

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