Plant nutrition is one of the most debated subjects among orchid growers everywhere. Ask 10 people for advice on fertilizer for orchids and you’ll get 10 different answers.
Applying fertilizer shouldn’t be complicated. I’m going to show you how easy it is to give your plants exactly what they’re looking for – and you don’t need a college degree in horticulture to do it!
Choosing The Right Fertilizer for Your Orchids
Unlike houseplants, orchids are fussy about nutrients. In nature they grow high up in the trees of the tropical forest and are accustomed to getting pure, organic matter as their source of nutrition.
What are you giving your plants? Take a moment to read the label – you might be surprised!
1. Skip fertilizers that use “urea”. Read the back of the package. The first element listed is always “nitrogen” followed by where it came from. (Comparing fertiizers isn’t difficult because manufacturers are required to follow a set of rules and when listing the chemical elements – so all packages read the same on the back.) If you see the word “urea” as the source of nitrogen – skip that fertilzer! Urea is a cheap form of nitrogen that has to be broken down before your plant can use it.
Fertilizers that use urea rely on the potting mix to break down it down into a form the plant can actually use. That requires active bacteria and enzymes – which works for outdoor growing, but rarily happens with potted plants. Unsed “urea” turns to salt and can be harmful to your plant’s roots. Avoid fertilizers that contain urea!
2. Look for 14 mineral elements that plants use for growth. To save money, many fertilizers skip crucial elements and rely on the potting mix to supply them. Do you have any idea what’s in your pottting mix and what nutrients it provides for your plants?
Buy the Good Stuff – Your Plants Are Worth It!
Why make your plants suffer when doing the right thing thing is so easy? The money you spend on nutrients translates into pennies each watering. So why take chances?
I use and recommend Dyna-Gro products. Dyna-Gro uses high quality minerals that are in a form your plants can absorb immediately. No complicated chemistry needed. They also contain all 14 elements orchids need for growing and blooming.
In tomorrow’s post I’ll show you how I use these for best results (hint: it’s easy!).
What About Organics?
Organic fertilizers sound good but most are incomplete in their nutritional value. They contain only one or two elements so blending different products is necessary. The result is uncontrollable, difficult to measure, and usually carries an odor.
Earthworm castings, seaweed, and bat guano head the list of organic remedies. Do you really want to put this stuff on your plants, and in your home? Why take a chance when complete, balanced nutrition is so easy?