Should you fertilize orchids or not?? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about care procedures. Until recently, successful orchid keepers refused or denied fertilization. The change in the choice of plant substances increasingly requires additional nutrition, to meet the needs of the plants. Let me say beforehand, that when using certain plant materials and perfect rainwater, fertilization is not necessary. This route must be recommended to the beginner as the absolutely safe one. With a fertilization he can u. U. spoil more than good, because too much of a good is often done for well-intentioned purposes.

The basics of the nutrition of orchids should be preceded by a brief overview of the conditions at home. It essentially refers to the epiphytic way of life as one of the usual forms of water- and nutrient intake deviating factor. The constant possibility with ground-dwelling plants, to meet their nutritional needs from the ground, does not apply to the epiphytes. At best, the moisture retained by the entire epiphyte growth like in a sponge is available to you. Nutrients can be found in the humus from decaying plant parts, Excrement from animals and other substances. There are also fabrics, that of the rain from higher branches, Washed down from the trunks and the leaves of the treetops. The leaching from the atmosphere is also used for nutrition. The masses of dust whirled up by tropical storms and stored in higher air layers carry minerals with them, who come back to earth through the rain. Overall, this is a poor one, but steady flow of nutrients – as far as precipitation falls. In the dry period with heavy night dew as usually the only precipitation over long periods of time, the supply of nutrients from the atmosphere stalls; the plants are resting. All epiphytes are extremely frugal and grow slowly.

There is a direct connection between nutrient supply and growth rate. If one also takes into account, that most orchids growing epiphytically are forced, Substantial storage organs to overcome the dry season – like pseudobulbs and leaves – to train, this inevitably results in a development time that is extended over many years until the first bloom. The inner rhythm of a plant can only be changed to a limited extent. So it is by no means possible, to significantly accelerate development through increased nutrient intake. The basic tendency of growth spread over years until the first bloom definitely remains. The increase in substance in plants and their flower production can undoubtedly be influenced more strongly. Compared to other plants, however, the possibilities for nutrient absorption are far lower.

All these conditions must be taken into account during maintenance and adapted to local conditions.

First of all, there are three basic rules to be observed:

Only healthy ones, well-rooted plants may be fertilized.

Less nutrient doses in more frequent repetitions are more advantageous than too high concentrations after longer breaks.

Fertilization is only allowed during the growing season, never in the rest period.

1 Cattleya aclandiae; 2 Laelia; 3 Cattleya forbesii; 4 C. violacea; 5 C. warscewiczii var. van Houtte x C.. warneri Ardenholms variety; 6 Laeliocattleya Odessa

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