Owl, Bee, Vanilla flavor, monkey, and a naked guy. Can you figure out the commonality amongst all these? These all are the types of orchids that are found all around the world. Having introduced in 1845, the name ‘Orchid’ has derived from Orchidaceae. Ranging from the size of a small coin to the size that can weigh up to a hundred pounds.
Additionally, some orchids have an age of more than a hundred years. The flowers that the plants bore can survive up to six months once bloomed. They are also one of the oldest species of flowering plants that ever existed. This flower is also the one used for purposes such as making spices, perfumes, and Asian medicines.
Having existed for approximately a hundred billion years, these plants and flowers still need protection. Not only that, just like other plant species, they also require fertilizers to survive healthily in today’s world. The best part about these, they are easy to handle, require the least care, and are beautiful as well.
What is the General Care that is required?
Orchids require just the exact amount of indirect sunlight as well as water. Too much of the sun can lead to scorching of the leaves. Brown leaves are an indication of the need for less light. Green leaves are an indication of the need for more light. Too much water can also lead to a damaged plant. Where some plants need water every four to five days, others require it only once a week.
With this, Orchids also require a favorable temperature for them to grow indoors. Like deserts, Orchids require cooler temperatures at night to bloom properly. Lastly, the thing that is needed by any and all species, fertilizers also play an important role.
Fertilizers can be fed weekly or monthly. However, if chosen weekly, it should be given as diluted. Flowers or no flowers, fertilizing is still important for the plant to stay healthy in all conditions.
How to water Orchids properly?
The first step for watering Orchids is to find a proper and suitable pot. A pot with sufficient holes in it to allow the water to pass through easily. It is very important for the water to drain out of the plant. Otherwise, it can lead to swollen nodes of the plants, causing more damage.
You can choose whatever way and however you want to water your orchid. However, the best way to do that is by keeping the orchid under running water. Running the orchid in a room temperature water faucet allows the water to seep in properly. This helps the water to reach every part of the soil properly, as well as drain out from the holes.
It further helps in keeping the soil and the nodes from having residues of water in them. An indication of watering the plant again can be taken by the weight of the plant. Whenever it becomes lighter than before, it is time to water your plant again.
The plant is advised to be watered in the morning or afternoon. This gives the water plenty of time to evaporate before the night. If the water stays in the plant overnight, the plant becomes prone to diseases. It is also advised to clean the water droplets from over the leaves to prevent rotting of the same.
Feeding the Orchids properly and sufficiently
Feeding the Orchids simply means fertilizing them. Orchids should be fertilized monthly; however, very little should be used. They are only fed weakly by experts, and that too very little. For this, a ratio of 20-20-20 in the NPK format.
NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Just as water and sunlight intake should be just sufficient for the plant, the same is with fertilizers. Fertilizers should be given slightly less than required only.
There is also a time when these plants go to sleep, that is, go in a dormant state. As understandable as it already is, no one eats or should be fed while they are asleep. Even if it is a flowering plant such as the Orchid. Just like humans are hungry when they get up in the morning and have breakfast, it’s a similar case with these orchids. It’s best to feed them when they come out of their dormant state.
Essential Nutrient Requirements
As mentioned above, the essential nutrients required are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. They are also referred to as NPK content in fertilizers. One thing that has to be taken care of is that the nitrogen isn’t urea nitrogen.
Amino acids as well as vitamins were first used to fertilize these plants, including nitrogen. This is why fertilizers now have the three main essential nutrients in them. Nitrogen (N) is required for proper growth of the leaves as well as luscious green color. Phosphorus (P) is needed for enhances the growth of the roots and proper blooming of the flowers. Potassium (K) is used as a supportive nutrient for the plant to grow healthy overall.
When to fertilize the Orchids?
There is a general rule to fertilize orchids by beginners every once a month. Experts can do the same once every week.
Additionally, it is best to feed the plant majorly in the time of peak growth. At this time, it is best to feed the plant once every two weeks, in a month. The most suitable time to do this is in summer and in spring. In these two seasons, the Orchids are in the stage of full growth.
During the other two seasons, the Orchids are in a dormant stage. This means that they are asleep. At this time, they should be fed only once a month.
How to fertilize Orchids?
As mentioned above, Orchids should be fertilized monthly, with very little use of fertilizers. However, they can also be fertilized weakly in the case of some of the species of the plant. Fertilizing the Orchids weakly is and should be done by experts only.
The best time for an orchid plant to be fed is when the blooms have dropped. That is the time when the plant required its essential nutrients the most, i.e., NPK.
Steps to fertilize an Orchid plant:
- Choosing the most suitable fertilizer for your plant. Look for the fertilizer that has a ratio of 20-20-20 of the NPK. It is often mentioned at the label itself about the nutrient content of the fertilizer. Half the strength of the fertilizer should be used with an equal amount of water to fertilize the plant.
- Using a narrow pitcher, the fertilizer should be poured into the soil. A precaution that has to be taken is to keep the leaves away from the fertilizer. The leaves should not come in contact with it.
- It is essential to keep the plant in a pot with holes underneath. In this case, it is essential for the excess fertilizer solution to be drained out of the plant.
- Another precaution that is necessary is that the plant should not be watered on the days of fertilizing it.
- This process should be repeated once or twice a month in the case of beginners.
How often should the Orchid be fertilized?
The owners of the plants tend to fertilize the plant more and more. In order to have a healthy plant growing, fertilizers are used often as well.
The basic and the most important rule to grow Orchids is to water and fertilize them carefully. Most experts, as well as the fertilizing companies, recommend its usage once a month. Using less of it may result in lesser or restricted growth of the plant.
The blooming of the flowers can also be hurdled if used less. Using more of it may result in the roots to burn. It may also result in the restriction of the blooming of flowers as well.
What kind of fertilizer should be used for healthy growth?
Fertilizers of two kinds can be used to feed the orchids: natural ones and artificial ones. Natural fertilizers are the ones that are available at home. Artificial fertilizers are the commercial ones available in outdoor shops.
Natural fertilizers may include Eggshells, milk, buttermilk, potatoes, rice water, tea, etc.
- Eggshells have calcium and potassium in them, which are the necessities of the orchid plant. Eggshells are crushed into small pieces and put on the plant bark. This helps the plant to absorb the nutrients off the shells. The shells can also be boiled and then put up on the bark.
- Milk or buttermilk: Both are rich in nitrogen, which is again a needed nutrient. This is something that is easily available and can be used to fertilize as well.
- Potatoes: Potassium and phosphorus are the nutrients available in a potato. Both these nutrients are the mainly needed ones for the plant. These, too, can be boiled. Then they can be put in the bark of the plant for it to absorb in itself.
- Rice water: Rice water is rich in many of the vitamins which are necessary for Orchids. Vitamins also help them grow healthily. Vitamins such as thiamine, folic acid, riboflavin, and niacin are available in the water. Rice water obtained from brown rice is most beneficial than the water obtained from white rice. Moreover, this is also something that is easily available. It is also cheap and can be made at home itself.
- Tea: Not just tea but tea bags are specifically beneficial for Orchids as fertilizers. Tea and tea bags are high in nitrogen. It is, as mentioned before, a necessary need for the plant. Tea bags are preferred more in the case of Orchids. The contents inside the bag can be emptied out and put in the Orchid pot. Being high in nitrogen, the nutrient can then easily be absorbed by the plant from the teabag contents.
Commercial fertilizers are the ones available at any shop outdoor. The only thing to take into consideration while choosing the best fertilizer is the NPK content in them. The best ratio required in one is 20-20-20, which is also written on the front label of the fertilizers. The other ratio that can be worked with is 10-10-10. The lesser or, the more diluted fertilizer used, the better for the plant.
Best fertilizers for Orchids :
1. Orchid Food – Feed ME! MSU – RO/Rain/Tap Water – 1.25 lb Jar (Makes 160 Gallons)
This fertilizer is considered to be a special rainwater fertilizer. It contains nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, boron, and molybdenum. It is also urea free and is great for Orchids. It can be used in smaller amounts as well as large amounts as per the guidelines.
It is recommended to use reverse osmosis along with rain in low alkalinity. This fertilizer is beneficial when used only with pure water. With pure water, the ph. of the water changes, beneficial for the plant.
Not only this, but it also contains micronutrients. Feed Me is considered to be one of the best available fertilizers for orchids. Not only orchids, but it can also be used for other plants as well.
The container has all the procedures as well as instructions mentioned properly. Using the fertilizer as per the guidelines will ensure the healthy growth of the plant. Orchids, as well as other plants, can bloom beautifully.
NPK ratio –: 13—3-15
- It is easy to use
- It is the best fertilizer for Orchids
- It doesn’t burn the flowers of the roots
- Has small granules that enable the plants to bloom nicely
- Change after using this is very much evident
- It cannot be used with tap water
- The fertilizer is highly hygroscopic
- If connected with humidity, the granules can get swollen
- It has to be kept in a fridge to prevent it from getting hard.
- Hands can also get stained if they come in contact with the powder
2. Flower Fuel 1-34-32, 250g – The Best Bloom Booster for Bigger, Heavier Harvests (250g)
This consists of nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, organics, and others. It also has resin content and essential oils. It is used for larger, denser, and heavier harvests. This fertilizer is made up of more than 40 ingredients that go into every jar. Not only these nutrients, but it also has micro and trace elements to get the best harvests.
Flower fuel is 100% hydroponic fertilizer. It is also soluble and works great with any base nutrient. This fertilizer acts as a blooming agent as well. This helps in giving a boost to the flowers to bloom. It works in all types of soils. Along with this, it also works perfectly with coco, hydroponic, or aeroponic system.
Flower Fuel helps in getting bigger and better flowers. It also helps in keeping the plant intact with no harm coming to it. Flower Fuel is the fertilizer preferred for a high-performance garden, and in this case, Orchids.
NPK ratio -: 1-34-32
- It is very simple to use
- It gives you healthy harvests every time
- It can be used with heavy harvests as well
- The compound is fast-acting
- Good solubility
- Dissolves quickly
- Changes the water PH quickly
- Can have mellowing effect if not used immediately
- Change in the PH level can harm roots and nodes.
3. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Orchid Food, 8 oz.
This fertilizer helps in obtaining deep rich leaf color, flowery blooms, and strong roots and nodes development. It is also considered a great way to nurture Orchids as well as other acid-loving plants. The motto is “weakly, weekly” is to be followed with this fertilizer. It comes in the form of a powder and has to be mixed with water for usage.
Miracle-Gro is a fertilizer that provides a special environment that the plant and the flowers need. It can be used with not only indoor but outdoor plants as well. The rich color of the leaves is something that is ensured by this fertilizer. It also ensures beautiful and colorful Orchids right at your home and garden.
This fertilizer is used to provide light feeding to the plant. It is also best suitable to be used as a secondary fertilizer rather than a primary fertilizer. Light feeding has to be done with proper humidity, which is provided by this fertilizer. Just as the name suggests, Miracle-Gro ensures miraculous growth.
NPK ratio -: 30-10-10
- Helps in getting new blooms and leaves
- Works well in case of dying plantations
- Excellent for root spraying
- Recommended for foliar
- It helps increase humidity while giving them a light feeding
- It comes in a small packet
- Can kill the blooms and the plant if not used as per the directions
4. Orchid Food by Perfect Plants – Resealable 5oz. Bag – Slow Release Fertilizer Pellets – Suitable for All Orchid Types – Nutrients for a Healthy Phalaenopsis
The fertilizer comes in the form of pellets. These pellets are covered with a thick outer coating that decreases based on how you use them in the soil. The layer also diminishes depending on the usage as per the needs of the plants as well. The pellets release nutrients as per the needs of the orchids. They also regulate their pace depending on the same. The nutrients can be released on days instead of weeks.
Orchid food consists of slow-release pellets. These pellets are to be diluted in water and then used as fertilizer. After diluting, it can be used on a single as well as multiple Orchids. This fertilizer helps in enhancing the color as well as the blooms of the plant.
The container ensures a supply for three years, even if used in a single orchid or multiple ones. The fertilizer comes in a heavy-duty, pre-sealed pack. The packet is also re-sealable, which helps in storing the fertilizer and using it later. Applying once can ensure soil enrichment for six months.
NPK ratio -: 13-11-11
- It is easy to use
- Can last as a three-year supply
- Can help bloom a single Orchid or many plants together.
- It helps plants that thrive in acidic soils
- It comes in heavy-duty, pre-sealed bags
- It is perfect for storage and late usage
- Might damage already potted plants
- Hard to place pellets in the plants
- It might not get dissolved properly and on time
5. Orchid Fertilizer | Food | Encourages Orchids to Grow in Pot/Pots | for Indoor Outdoor Plant | Orchid Potting Mix by Aquatic Arts
This product prevents brown spots on leaves and promotes healthy growth. It has no risk of burning. It also helps promote the growth of new stems and leaves. It is a root stimulator, which helps in root growth. It further helps in healing root rotting.
It is designed for gentle usage and promotes the same. It also ensures the value of money.
As the name suggests, this fertilizer ensures good growth of the plants, even in pots, that are indoors. This bottle can last from 6 months to a year. It also ensures the large and healthy blooming of the flower.
This fertilizer is gentle to use every time used with water. It can be used and is suitable for all kinds of Orchids. It also makes sure that the Orchids remain unique and beautiful. Moreover, it helps in feeding the plants a healthy and hardy diet. As it is gently every time used with water, it also prevents the plant from burning.
NPK ratio -: 30-10-10
- Value for money
- Gentle to use
- Easy to use
- 100% natural
- May start to mold
- It may get damaged after opening and not using.
6. Sun Bulb Company 8305 Better Gro Orchid Plus Bloom Booster Fertilizer, 16-Ounce
It contains a high content of phosphorus. It is used to enhance the quality of the flowers. It also ensures good bloom size and bloom color. This fertilizer comes with a precise mix of ingredients that the plants need to produce flowers and long-lasting blooms.
Being a urea-free fertilizer, it ensures no harm to the plant, flowers, or the nodes and roots. It also ensures the beautiful and maximum growth of the plants and blooms. Moreover, also being a professionally formulated fertilizer makes it a good to go product. Ensuring blooms is definite here as it contains phosphorus majorly as well.
A proper mix of nutrients required by the plants is available in this product. That mix provides vibrant and long-lasting flowers. Usage as per the guidelines mentioned on the container is recommended.
NPK ratio -: 11-35-15
- Urea free fertilizer
- Professionally formulated
- Contains high content of nutrients
- Works as a powerful blooming agent
- It might take months to show results
- Late showing results might lead to harming the plant
7. Grow More Premium Orchid Fertilizer Combo: Grow (1 Pound) and Bloom (1.25 Pounds)
It is high in nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for orchids. It can be used with all kinds and types of orchid plants. This helps initiate the development of the flowers while the plants are dormant. Not only this, it can be used for gravel and inorganic cultural practices as well.
This fertilizer contains micronutrients and multiple nitrogen sources. It also enables the number of blooms to increase in the plant. Moreover, the blooms also last for months. It can also be used as sprays on the vines and on the bark.
This bloom fertilizer is considered to be a charm for orchids. Especially in the case of having beautiful flowers blooming on your plant.
NPK ratio -: 30-10-10
- Urea free fertilizer
- Easy to use
- Simple to imply and comply
- Safe to use as well
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- It is not very soluble
Frequently asked questions
1. Are used coffee grounds good for orchids?
Not many people know that used coffee grounds are very beneficial to plants, especially in the case of orchids. Organic matter tends to decay by a line of microscopic fungus. However, coffee grounds act as an additive to make fertilizer for orchids, which further prevents orchids from decaying.
2. Are teabags good for orchids?
Teabags are non-toxic in nature and contain organic matter. It contains a subsequent amount of nitrogen, which helps in the growth of orchids. Moreover, they do not smell bad, which further benefits the orchids to an extent.
3. Are banana peels good for orchids?
After eating a banana, we tend to throw the peel away. But did u know that banana peels also have a very important function to perform in the case of plants? As bananas are a part of a very healthy diet, the banana peels also are proved to be healthy for orchids.
It provides natural vitamins and minerals like potassium, potash, phosphorus, nitrogen, and magnesium. They act as a slow-releasing fertilizer, which is quite beneficial to the orchids when added to soil in solid form
4. How do I get my orchids to bloom more?
There are quite a few factors that promote the blooming of orchids. Some of them are-
Inadequate water– Not providing sufficient water can act as a hindrance in the process of blooming.
Overwatering– Giving the orchids more water than required stops the process of blooming, which further becomes the reason for their quick death or decay
Insufficient light– If the orchids are kept in in-house premises or are kept in dim light places, then it again becomes a hindrance.
Too much light– Direct contact with the sunlight for too long hinders the process of blooming of the orchid.
Proper requirement of nutrients and fertilizers– Proper dosage is required in order for the orchids to bloom.
5. What is the lifespan of an orchid?
The lifespan of the orchids depends on the amount of care and vitamins and mineralsprovided to them and also varies from type to type. If given proper maintenance, an orchid can live up to a lifetime or a span of 100 years.
Orchids, being tropical plants, still do not need much water, sunlight, and fertilizers. All three should be used with the perfect amount. Not less, not more. Along with this, the NPK content is also a necessity to be kept into consideration.
Orchids are of different and many kinds. Some live up to years and give beautiful blooms. Some live many years, but the blooms die. At the same time, some blooms stay just for some hours and then die.
Orchids are beautiful plants and flowers that one can keep in the vicinity of their houses. Not only that, these plants are easy to handle and take care of.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.