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Thread: when to fertilize?

  1. #1
    moonflower's Avatar
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    hello

    my little baby Phal is growing just fine, it's been putting out stubby little roots for a few weeks now and it looks like there's some new growth juuuuuuust beginning to show in the middle.

    i had picked up some orchid fertilizer (Schultz Orchid Food) and i was wondering when i should use it. i've been reading that one should wait until the roots are established... but nobody bothered to explain what that meant exactly. also, because the plant is in a fir bark medium, i was wondering if i should be using a higher nitrogen mix than the stuff i got (19-31-17). any tips?

    thanx!
    "Seeds? Oh yeah... sometimes I forget they grow from those. I feel like they should hatch or something."

    ~a friend's observation of my CP's

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    I use the word established to mean the plant is busy growing and it seems that your Phal is. Now's the time of year to expect it too.

    Bark does theoretically need more N than other mixes, but I use the same for bark as for everything else. One thing about Schultz, check the label and see what the N is. I think you'll find much is urea. That's great stuff for other plants because bacteria break it down slowly in soil and provide a steadier supply of N. But urea-N is useless for orchids because it just washes through the coarse mixes we grow them in or off their mounts.

    Orchids need less fertilizer than many people want to give them. I use fertilizer maybe 1-2 times per month and at 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended strength. But that's just me.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    I fertalize when I remember to, and thats alot less than Bruce. LOL I use Schultz, but never thought to check it for urea vs other forms of nitrogen. I will have to look at that. I might need to change ferts. I would do as Bruce sugested. 1/4 to 1/2 strength. AOS has a saying fertilize weekly weakly. Once a week at 1/4 strength. I might add though that you need to frequently flush the pots to leach out any salt buildup from fertilizing. Also watering once or twice a year with epson salt ( Mag sulfate) does wonders for plants too. One table spoon per gallon. Helps them maintain the nice green color.

    Bruce you sound like you have a nice orchid collection to. I wouldn't mind seeing a picture if you don't mind. Have a good one everyone.
    JB
    Friend me on facebook with JB_orchidguy@yahoo.com.
    Growlist Updated 05/08/13

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    killerplantsguy's Avatar
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    Fertilizing regulalry really reaps benefits. For years I fed my orchids very haphazardly, with decent results. Almost two years ago, I started using "MSU RO Formula" (13-3-15) after ever other watering - perhaps a little less during Winter. The plants have responded with more growth and better flowering. There is a detailed article in the June 2003 ORCHIDS.

    Anyway, I'm sure weak solutions regulalry applied will give good results, whatever orchid fertilizer you choose.

    This last year I've also been feeding the Nepenthes twice month in warm months an once a month in the Winter.

    Good growing,
    KPG
    "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus" - Mark Twain

    "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." - Pancho Villa, last words.

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    Thats good info to know thanks for shareing KPG. I really need to get in a better habit of fertilizing. I have to do it by hand and it gets cumberson sometimes. I haven't wanted to dish out the couple hundred yet for a fertlilizer injecter. One day.

    Don't forget though that about once or twice a year the plants should be fertilized with 1 table spoon per gallon of Mag sulfate (epson salt) to help replenish the magnesium they don't get. It makes for greener more lush growth too. Its good for all plants.
    JB
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    Growlist Updated 05/08/13

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    Gardening freak! tommyr's Avatar
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    Mine are fed every other watering at 1/4 to HALF strength. I hold back a little feeding during flowering. I have a Paph, a phal and a few Oncidiums. Actually I do this with all my houseplants but not my CPs.

    Tom
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    This signature removed because of whining little crybabies.

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