In the wild, orchids get their nutrients in rainwater, from bird droppings or from surrounding rocks and minerals. In your home environment though, yours will find less of these and will need a simple fertilizer. Though the potting mixture you use will provide some of what they need, you must provide them with the minerals they crave. Some minerals are easily depleted and need to be replenished.
These include (N) nitrogen, (P) phosphorus, and (K) potassium. Different kinds of combinations of these are available, and you can you can get them in different forms, such as liquid, or crystals to dissolve. Most agree that an inorganic fertilizer that contains mineral salts and which are soluble in water are the best. Most growers think that the phosphorus is what causes the plants to grow, but too much can prohibit blossoming. If you lesser the nitrogen or increase potassium your plants will have more blossoms.
What These Elements Can Do For Your Blooms
These minerals provide for different stages in your orchid’s growth and development. For example, potassium aids in fruit and flower production, as is phosphorus. Nitrogen is important in the early development of the plant, and the plant needs more of it, especially if wood is part of your mixture because the wood breaks down bacteria that the plant needs. The proportions of the minerals, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium should be 30-10-10.
During winter your flowers will go into their dormant phase when they will stop growing and stop producing flowers. You should provide food and water less frequently at this time because they plant needs to rest.
Here are the simple steps in providing fertilizer to your plants:
- Make sure you have chosen the correct product for your plant. Your gardening shop can help you with this. Never use regular plant fertilizer because they contain urea and ammonia which your flowers can’t use and could potentially kill it.
- Use a half to one quarter of what the package tells you. This is because salts build up. You should flush them out regularly with warm water.
- Water your plant well before adding the dissolved fertilizer.
- Never put dry types on your orchid. It is very powerful and will kill it. Always apply it in liquid form.
- Pour the solution directly on the plant, not on the roots. It will penetrate to the roots.
- Be absolutely certain that you drain all the left-over water off the plant in order for the roots to dry back out. Only then should you put the plant back in its decorative container.
Interesting Facts Regarding Orchids:
Did you know that the ones considered endangered, are harvested illegally in Tanzania and Zambia and their roots are made into a kind of meatless sausage?
In Borneo there are between 2500 and 3000 exotic species exceptional for their scent and beauty that are all becoming extinct because of deforestation?
Harvard has found bee pollen that suggests that orchids date back 80 million years!