There are many different ways to grow orchids, especially when it comes to nutrients. Just ask 10 “experienced” growers and you’ll get 10 different answers – guaranteed.
A good nutrition program for orchids doesn’t need to be complicated.
Complete, Balanced Nutrition is Easy
With right fertilizer, complete, balanced nutrition for growing orchids is easy.
I use (and recommend) Dyna-Gro products. Dyna-Gro products are developed from research with hydroponics which means they don’t rely on the growing media for anything, They contain everything your plants need for healthy growth – in a form that can be used immediately.
No complex chemistry needed.
Unlike houseplants, orchids have 3 different seasons in their growing pattern. Adjusting your nutrients to coincide with these changing seasons promotes optimum growth and brilliant blooms.
– Growing Season for Orchids
This is the longest and most important season. Make sure your plants get plenty of air, light, and water (the real food for growth) during this period.
– Blooming Season for Orchids
A new flower spike signals the start of the blooming season (this is what we’ve been waiting for!). Time to adjust your nutrients.
Nutrients for blooming season have low nitrogen (1st number on the front of the package) and high phosphorus (middle number). This encouraged brighter blooms that last longer.
I use Dyna-Gro Bloom 3-12-6 during while my plants are in bloom. 1/4 – 1/2 tsp per gallon.
BLOOM FERTILIZERS WON’T MAKE YOUR PLANTS BLOOM! Proper light and temperature are the only things that trigger bloom cycles. Bloom fertilizers encourage bigger, brighter flowers that last longer – but they won’t make your plants bloom. Switch to a “Bloom formula” is AFTER you see a flower spike.
– Resting Season for Orchids
After they have finished blooming, orchids take a well deserved rest. Some plants even go into a dormant period where they shed their leaves and all activity stops. Don’t use any fertilizers at this point.
Avoid “Trapped Nutrient Syndrome”
Exhausted potting materials block many nutrients from getting to the plant. This not only robs your plant from getting what it needs – the unused nutrients turn to salt and eventually become harmful to the roots.
If your growing media is bark or moss, your fertilizer could actually be harmng your plants!
Hydroponic Advantage: In our system, the LECA pebbles are a sterile ceramic that will never compact or decompose. You’ll never get “exhausted media” eliminating the “trapped nutrients syndrome”.
Give Your Plants a Fresh Start
Removing impurities from the grow pot is just as important as adding nutrients. Over time, impurities build up around the roots inside the grow pot. This can be unused nutrients or chemicals from your water source. The only way to remove the impurities with bark or moss is repotting the plant with fresh potting materials. This can be a big job that quickly becomes time consuming as your orchid collection grows.
Hydroponic Advantage: Removing impurities around the roots is easy with hydroponics. Simply take your plant to the sink every couple of months (or use the garden hose if outdoors) and leach the pebbles thoroughly. The relatively smooth outer shell on the pebbles allows any foreign matter to wash away. This is impossible with bark or moss.
Next, I’ll discuss a couple of products that will boost your orchids a notch above ordinary.