Probably you will ask: “Do orchids really need fertilizers?” Well, that is a good question with a lot of explanation. In general orchids are plants that need less fertilizer than the majority of other plants. Providing your orchid with excessive amount of fertilizer will be very harmful to the plant. As a matter of fact, orchid can live healthy and happily without additional feeding. However, if you feed them with the right amount of fertilizer and done at the right time, it is for sure that you will get more amazing flowers and a well built plant
Timing is always a factor to be considered when it comes to orchid caring. At summer time, you can do fertilizing on a weekly basis but using a very little amount of fertilizer which is only a quarter to a half of the suggested amount as prescribed on the label. This should be followed by once a month watering without any fertilizer just to wash out any accumulation of minerals in the pot.
As in winter, or when your orchids are in an inactive stage of growing there is no need to fertilize your plant at all, since they really do not need extra feeding in that kind of situation.
The necessity of fertilizing depends also on the orchid type. The majority of orchids are tree epiphytes with their roots clinging on tree branches and dangling in the air. They get their nutrients from bird droppings, rotten leaves and washed down dust by the rainfall. This kind of natural interaction provides only a very little quantity of minerals to the epiphytes. So, they get used to live and bloom with very limited feeding. It is the same with the lithophyte orchids which live on rocks. Lithophytes are very thrifty in the use of nutrients
Terrestrial orchids that live on more mineral rich grounds are used to absorbing more nutrients. Thus you need to apply a bit more fertilizer compared to the epiphytes
As mentioned earlier, too much fertilizer is harmful. In severe cases over-fertilizing your orchid will be fatal. In milder cases you can find negative impacts on your plant such as the failure of blooming, weak growth and with the growing of many leads without normal maturing. The orchid root could be affected and get burned then die. Without viable roots your orchid will fail to absorb sufficient water, and get dehydrated. Orchids with thin leaves like cymbidium and miltonia may show burned tips.
The treatment to this situation is by flushing the pot with plain water to wash out the fertilizer. In some severe cases you need to repot your orchid. In extreme condition, it is better that you throw away the pity orchid and replace it with a new one.
There are usually two forms of fertilizer available in the market, the slow release fertilizer and the liquid fertilizer. The slow release fertilizer usually comes in the form of granules to be mixed with your potting media as well as pellets to be planted into the pot close to the plant. The liquid fertilizer comes as a water soluble ready mixed product, either in the form of powder or concentrate, which should be diluted in water before usage. The liquid fertilizer seems to more appropriate for orchid fertilizing
Uno Birawan is a writer and wrote a lot on how to care for orchids. You also can obtain more information on orchid fertilizers or you can visit his site www.theorchidpot.com to share more valuable information on caring orchids
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