Fertilizer Use in Orchids
Nutritional requirement for each type of orchid is different. and is determined by the various factors such as morphology, growth habit and consequent needs, prevailing environmental conditions.
When trying to apply fertilizers to orchids, first be aware of the particular needs of that orchid. If fertilizer instruction were supplied along with the orchid, read and follow those instruction carefully.
Most commonly used fertilizers are those which contain N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorous), and K (Potassium) in different proportions. Fertilizers such as urea lead to an increase in leaf number. There are reports that fertilization does not have much effect on the flowering time, floral size or number of flowers.
A fertilizer having a higher proportion of Nitrogen as compared to Phosphorus, has a better effect on overall growth of the orchid.
There are two types of fertilizers: organic fertilizers and mineral or inorganic fertilizers. Sticking to just one type of fertilizer can harm the orchid more than doing it good. It is better to use a combination of organic and mineral fertilizers. This will help in supplying both kinds of nutrients (macro as well as micro) to the orchid. You can use a 1:1 mixture of organic and mineral fertilizers for your orchids.
Organic fertilizer is best when made at home. It is quite easy to prepare an organic fertilizer of leaf mold. Collect the fallen leaves in a pit and keep turning the leaves after an interval of few days. Turning leaves into leaf mold is work of bacteria and tiny insects. After about six months, when the texture and colour of the leaves changes to a dark clumpy stuff, your fertilizer is ready to be used in pots.
You Should Also Read:
Different Growth Media for Orchids
Growing Orchids as Houseplants
Growth Requirements of Epiphytes
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