Doritaenopsis Little Gem Stripes
'Stars' blooms prolifically.
* Basic orchid food provide
nitrogen(N), phosphorus(P) and potassium(K) This N-P-K ratio
corresponds to the fertilizer ratio shown on the package, such
as 30-10-10 or 10-20-10.
Fertilizers high in N are formulated
for growth, while those high in P generally encourage
orchid foods are high in urea nitrogen, which takes time to break
down, and is washed out of the mix before it is of any use to
the plant. A non-urea nitrogen formula will provide
nitrogen in a form immediately usable by the plant.
U se a high nitrogen
fertilizer with bark mixes--this increases bacterial activity
which then provides additional nitrogen in usable
form to the orchid.
can also be applied a a
foliar feed to the lower leaf surface.
Phalaenopsis will do well
with regular fertilizing, but will suffer, like most orchids, if excess fertilizer
is applied. As a rule of thumb, apply house plant fertilizer at half the strength
recommended for indoor plants. Fertilizers formulated for orchids are
now widely available so we suggest you use those-simply follow the instructions
prvided by the manufacturer.
F or phalaenopsis
orchids potted in a bark mix, use an orchid fertilizer with a higher nitrogen
content (such as 30-10-10) or a 'urea-free' formulation. For those plants in a
peat-based mix, or sphagnum moss, a balanced 20-20-20 formulation or
20-10-20 is fine(see box for more information).
In both cases, switch to a 'blossom
inducing' fertilizer (such as 10-20-10) once new leaves have matured, generally in
the later summer and continue to use this during flowering.
Alternatively, switch between fertilizers each time you feed.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FEED
Fertilize plants 2-3 times a month during the warmer months and 1-2 times per month
during the winter when growth is slower. Unless you are using rain, or reverse
osmosis water that is very pure, you should flush your plants thoroughly
with water at least once a month to get rid of excess salts.
Remeber, orchids do not need as much fertilizer as other
house plants or garden plants. If you overfeed your plants, they will not grow
faster or bloom better. Instead:
- you will cause salts to build up in the
growing mix which will damage roots and slow growth
-you will waste your money
-you will pollute the environment as the excess fertilizer salts eventually will
end up in ground water
- Many growers, myself included, follow a 'weakly weekly'
fertilizer schedule, This means you fertilize you orchids every week but only at
about quarter-strength. The advantage of this is that plants receive a consistent
amount of food at all times. You can adjust the amount of fertilizer you provide
depending on the season slightly.
can be applied frequently to your orchids with
little chance of overfeeding. It comes
in a spray bottle so can also be applied
as a foliar feed to the underside of leaves, and roots which orchids benefit
Premium orchid food have
added micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium boron, copper etc that plants need
these in very small amounts to stay healthy. This is less of a worry if you use tap
water which often have many of these nutrients in them. Nevertheless,
its a good idea to use a premium orchid food, about once a month just to be sure
your orchid is getting what it needs beyond the basic N-P-K formula. If you
are using purified reverse osmosis (RO water) which has no nutrients, you will
definitely need a complete orchid food formulated especially for RO.