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Thread: Cattleya & Brassavola Fertilizer

  1. #1
    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    Cattleya & Brassavola Fertilizer

    Yes, indeed, it appears that the One with the Uncreative Name has fallen under the spell of orchidelirium.

    I just picked up some Cattleya and Brassavola. I'm currently researching how to grow them and have just about all my care information secured, except I am unsure about fertilizer, since the only orchid mix I currently have is from Miracle-Gro. Apparently, my dad says that "all orchids are the same, and are all easy." I personally don't believe that, and I am not letting that stuff within an inch of my plants until I know. (Add to that the fact that the package says nothing about Brassavola on it.) If they are fine with it, hooray! If they don't appreciate it, then what else is there? I appreciate any facts, opinions, personal anecdotes, research, observations, blah blah blah that you may have to offer!

    (In case you were wondering, my research on these plants has proven the Brassavola to be Brassolaelia x Richard Mueller. I am still trying to find out what my Cattleya are and will get pictures soon.)
    Last edited by Plant Planter; 09-08-2013 at 09:46 AM.

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    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    Ermm... Anyone?

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Orchids in general prefer a urea-free source if nitrogen, and so many manufacturers have engineered a formula specifically for Orchids to address this need. Miracle-Gro is generally the junk food equivalent of plant nutrition, but if its all you can provide, it will suffice, but will prove less than ideal. Why? Because urea based fertilizers require the action of soil bacteria to turn the urea into usable nitrogen, and orchid media generally don't support the bacterial life needed for the task. So, choose urea free for orchids.

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    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    Orchids in general prefer a urea-free source if nitrogen, and so many manufacturers have engineered a formula specifically for Orchids to address this need. Miracle-Gro is generally the junk food equivalent of plant nutrition, but if its all you can provide, it will suffice, but will prove less than ideal. Why? Because urea based fertilizers require the action of soil bacteria to turn the urea into usable nitrogen, and orchid media generally don't support the bacterial life needed for the task. So, choose urea free for orchids.
    Okay, so Miracle-Gro is the bottom line. (I expected as much.) What might be better for them? Something organic like blood meal? And would the Miracle-Gro actually hurt the plants?

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Use any urea-free formula that is stated to be specifically for Orchids. DynaGrow orchid formula is popular and well respected.

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    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    In my (admittedly limited) experience, I don't think your types of orchids will care all that much what kind of fertilizer you use. It's more about the concentration, than the company that makes it. Both of orchids are epiphytes, so their roots won't have evolved the molecular machinery to uptake vast amounts of nutrients. So when you make your mix, more dilute is safer than more concentrated. Also? The frequency with which you water is key. That's probably the single most important thing to get correct when you first start out with orchids (which I am sure you have probably already come across in your readings, so I am just providing further emphasis.)

    Good luck!
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


    My Grow List:
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    Sphagnum Guru Wire Man's Avatar
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    I use Jack's Classic orchid formula. My Brassavola cucculata started making a flower scape shortly after switching to it. Brassavola, Laelia, and Cattleya have very similar requirements since they're closely related.

    And your dad's advise couldn't be further from the truth. There are thousands of orchids found everywhere but Antarctica. They're all slightly different. Some need constant moisture, while some are desert dwellers.

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    The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever Plant Planter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    Use any urea-free formula that is stated to be specifically for Orchids. DynaGrow orchid formula is popular and well respected.
    Quote Originally Posted by UnstuckinTime View Post
    In my (admittedly limited) experience, I don't think your types of orchids will care all that much what kind of fertilizer you use. It's more about the concentration, than the company that makes it. Both of orchids are epiphytes, so their roots won't have evolved the molecular machinery to uptake vast amounts of nutrients. So when you make your mix, more dilute is safer than more concentrated. Also? The frequency with which you water is key. That's probably the single most important thing to get correct when you first start out with orchids (which I am sure you have probably already come across in your readings, so I am just providing further emphasis.)

    Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by Wire Man View Post
    I use Jack's Classic orchid formula. My Brassavola cucculata started making a flower scape shortly after switching to it. Brassavola, Laelia, and Cattleya have very similar requirements since they're closely related.

    And your dad's advise couldn't be further from the truth. There are thousands of orchids found everywhere but Antarctica. They're all slightly different. Some need constant moisture, while some are desert dwellers.
    Thanks for all your advice! I'll make sure to check for those fertilizers whenever I'm out.

    And Wire Man, if they're so closely related, maybe it's a good thing I didn't pick that Dendrobium I was considering.

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