How to Fertilize Your Orchid Plants
Most plants obtain the nutrients and moisture they need from the soil. Minerals from underlying rock formations, decayed plant material, and insect and animal matter create a rich miasma that constantly replenishes soil with nutrients.
It is important, when you grow orchids, to fertilize them correctly. A well fertilized orchid will not only keep their leaves longer, but will produce more flowers. Knowing how and when to fertilize is something you will need to learn.
Many orchid growers like to fertilize on either a weekly or a monthly basis. If you choose to get into this weekly fertilizing routine, you will need to be sure to use a weaker fertilizing solution (usually one-quarter of the strength) than suggested on the instructions. If you choose to water on a monthly basis then you will need to use the fertilizer solution at full strength according to the instructions on the package. It is extremely important that you follow the fertilizer’s guidelines when diluting the solution as to not over-fertilize.
Apply fertilizer carefully. To avoid burning the orchid’s leaves, do not pour fertilizer directly over the plant. Using a narrow-spouted pitcher, gently lift the orchid’s leaves and slowly pour the fertilizer into the pot. Allow the pot to drain thoroughly to remove excess fertilizer. Do not water your orchid on the weeks you fertilize it.
Here are some pointers to help you know when it’s time to fertilize your orchid:
Fertilizing frequently at a more dilute rate is better than fertilizing less often at a higher concentration.
Never apply more fertilizer than is recommended by the manufacturer.
Drench the potting material, several times in a row, every few weeks or so with fresh water that contains no nutrients to wash out any excess fertilizer salts.
Very dark green leaves that are succulent and floppy can be a sign of over fertilizing.
When the orchids are actively growing, fertilize them.
If the orchids are diseased and in poor condition, stop fertilizing.