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  #1  
Old 05-21-2015, 12:15 PM
ChrisFL ChrisFL is offline
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Default K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates?

Hi all,

So, how many of you have been using K-Lite/Solo-E since it's been out? Can we get any updates on whether things are still going well?

Pics are encouraged, too!
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:56 PM
bil bil is offline
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I have been using it since the beginning of the year. TBH, it's hard to say whether improvements are down to the new greenhouse, different potting media, kelp extract or what. I have had too many changes to pin it down.

It does make sense tho, as it mimics the natural fertiliser levels.
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:01 PM
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Ray Ray is offline
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K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates? Male
Default K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates?

Not to surprisingly, I have used the commercial product the longest (there are others who blended MSU RO with other stuff to simulate the formula for years before that) - since late November of 2011. It was about 6 months later that I started adding KelpMax to the regimen, 1 tablespoon/gallon once a month - primarily in spring and summer.

I originally started at 50 ppm N at every watering, then dropped it to 25, as I was watering about every other day in the summer, and maybe every 4-5 days in the dry winter.

Throughout 2012, I studied the plants diligently, watching out for symptoms of deficiencies, as we were going into relatively uncharted waters. I saw neither problems nor improvements. It wasn't until late in 2013/early 2014 that I started noticing significant improvements in both growth and flowering. I actually attribute that more to the reduced fertilizer loading (I had been applying 125 ppm N), than to the formula, itself. (I think that recovery from deficiencies is seen quickly, but recovery from "gluttony" takes a lot longer, due to stored nutrients within the plants that have to dwindle.)

My plants still show no signs of issues, and by using a low-P formula at low rates, the algae issues in s/h pots and greenhouse walls have essentially vanished.

I should add that I started a monthly treatment with 1:100 Inocucor Garden Solution as a plant probiotic a bit over 2 years ago, and that may be responsible - in conjunction with a healthier diet - for the virtual elimination of rots, as well.


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Old 05-22-2015, 08:16 PM
Joseia Joseia is offline
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K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates? Male
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I've been using K Lite and KelpMax for over a year, same regimen as Ray describes above since I'm just copying what he does. And I have seen amazing results, lots more root growth and all the plants are growing like weeds. My Den. Microchip is currently growing five new canes and has already grown 6 new canes since I got it last September from Hausermanns. My Den Proud Appeal now regularly produces a minimum of two spikes from each cane and very often three. My Phalaenopsis heiroglyphica bloomed last summer with two spikes, it now has 4 spikes and two of them have spikes branching from old flower nodes.

Whether it's the K Lite or KelpMax, I don't know. All of my plants are in terrariums and the environment (light, temps and humidity) has not changed in years, so I attribute the changes to the K Lite and KelpMax.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:13 PM
Brooke Brooke is offline
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I think what most people fail to think about when discussing their plants is as a plant matures, they grow better and produce more.

It is common for hieroglyphica to produce multiple spikes each year and those spikes are willing to branch. The display gets bigger and better every year. It is also a good keiki producer.

I have found the same thing with the Catts and Dens I grow. Age does this as the plant matures.

Brooke
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:38 PM
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Leafmite Leafmite is offline
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I think the choice of fertilizer really depends on the medium and type of water used...and perhaps what you are growing. There is no perfect fertilizer...just what works for you with your conditions and your orchids.

Kelp, though, is really widely popular in all aspects of gardening, now, as the results are said to be really good. I have not tried it but may need to do so soon from all that I am hearing.
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:28 PM
Joseia Joseia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooke View Post
I think what most people fail to think about when discussing their plants is as a plant matures, they grow better and produce more.

It is common for hieroglyphica to produce multiple spikes each year and those spikes are willing to branch. The display gets bigger and better every year. It is also a good keiki producer.

Brooke
I think you are right in regards to the maturity of the plant, perhaps it is the biggest factor in the results I am getting. If I had the space, I could experiment by dividing an orchid and feeding them differently and see how they are doing two years later. I've been giving my house plants the KelpMax and they have definitely responded to it. I've had them for years, a couple were my grandmothers which I've kept going for 40 years, and they have been growing extremely well since the addition of the KelpMax.

Very happy to hear that about the hieroglyphica! I will have to thank the man who sold it to me at Orchids For You here in Vienna VA - I bought it when I was a total newbie and had no idea of what I was buying, but he highly recommended it based on my environment and desire for a fragrant phalaenopsis. I watered it today and noticed another branch forming on a third spike, so four spikes and three branches lol, I love it! Still waiting for a keiki, that would have me doing a happy dance for a few hours.
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Old 05-23-2015, 08:59 PM
ALToronto ALToronto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafmite View Post
I think the choice of fertilizer really depends on the medium and type of water used...and perhaps what you are growing. There is no perfect fertilizer...just what works for you with your conditions and your orchids.

Kelp, though, is really widely popular in all aspects of gardening, now, as the results are said to be really good. I have not tried it but may need to do so soon from all that I am hearing.
I partly agree. I think that the source of nitrogen depends on the medium used (ammonia, urea or nitrate), but the concept of keeping P and K low is valid in all cases.

I have been using both K-Lite and a similarly proportioned fish fertilizer (5-1-1), in combination with kelp and Inocucor (beneficial microorganisms). I tend to use K-Lite for orchids growing in organic media, and fish for those in lava rock and on living walls. Like Ray, I use very low concentration for either fertilizer.

In spite of all this, my best-growing plants are on my newest living wall, which has an enclosure and this little tenant.



I spray the plants with fish fertilizer once a week, and the rest of the time they get pure RO water (because the gecko drinks it) plus whatever she deposits, which is not much. Humidity is 80%, the lighting is more than sufficient, and temperature tends to be warmer than in the rest of the house. Not a good setup for species that need a winter rest, but works for the catt hybrids that make up most of the plants.
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:41 AM
mtorchid mtorchid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafmite View Post
Kelp, though, is really widely popular in all aspects of gardening, now, as the results are said to be really good. I have not tried it but may need to do so soon from all that I am hearing.
After about 3 months of adding Kelp to my weekly fertilizer regime (MSU RO @ 1/4 strength) I've noticed very healthy root growth. In fact, even branching root growth which I haven't experienced before.

Branching root pics:
Catt noid in wood basket with LECA
Catlycia hybrid mounted on wood
Neofinetia falcata in LECA in traditional (plastic) Neo pot.
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K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates?-catlycia-wood-mount-copy-jpg   K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates?-cattleya-noid-copy-jpg   K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates?-neofinetia-falcata-copy-jpg  
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2015, 12:27 PM
DavidCampen DavidCampen is offline
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K-Lite has been around a few years now... updates? - Slippertalk Orchid Forum- The best slipper orchid forum for paph, phrag and other lady slipper orchid discussion!

Quote:
From what I observed (as a hobbyist) it has caused me to no longer use it. I have tried to make it work for my growing conditions and my preference of species and I have found it to be less effective than other options. I used it for 18 months so I believe I gave it a fair shot.
...
plant reactions during Klite use:
-root growth in all plants was encouraging and productive
-leaf growth was discouraging and slow
-bud blast was more evident and prior, not an issue
-multifloral species produced rot easily
-I rotted out a gigantifolium during this time. I have never rotted a paph in the 7-8 years I have grown them until this point. An armeniacum album also rotted. I had never killed a parvisepalum paph until this occurrence.
-leaf growth was weak by comparison, leaves would flop or worse, not grow very quickly and when stagnant in growth, they would develop infections near the base where the leaves touched. This was most evident, if not a constant variable that occurred in every paph species outside of the parvi-Brachy group
-parvi section paphs responded without major incident or noticable negative effect, same for Brachys. Although results were not negative, they were not encouraging either.
-Chlorosis, and leaf pigment in MF species was pale and inconsistent. Some leaves have even turned white, absent of any pigment. Leaf mottling in parvis section plants was bland by comparison. Many plants such as micranthums, showed less contrast and less shine.

Since stopping Klite I have leaf mottling that I would consider to be more appropriate. I have leaves in plants that are growing aggressively. I now have plants putting out 2-3 new leads on unbloomed growths. I also have buds or blooms on very small plants (my preference)
for example I have blooms on the following plants with a 8 cm LS and only 3 leaves- niveum, fowlei album and micranthum var. eburneum.

My experience is that I would not recommend using it for species outside of Parvi and Brachy. I would imagine I could have elaborated further, but perhaps this sums up my experience in a way that others may find useful.
Quote:
I personally don't see good or bad. I switched back and forth only a couple time. My bias is that I generally don't get convinced without a controlled experiment or other strong quantitative data, though. However, I'm thinking low K is good enough (and it could have a hypothetical benefit of reducing TDS as Mike Stone mentioned).
Quote:
To be honest, we have reduced our use of K-Lite as our primary fertilizer, because 30-10-10 and 10-52-10 (both urea based) are producing better results for us in terms of leaf size and leaf color (green rather than yellow-green) - especially in Phrags. That is not to say K-Lite doesn't work well, it just doesn't seem to work as well in our growing environment as the others.
Quote:
Following on from comments by Bjorn's and Chicago Stud, I have used the K-lite at various times in between using Akerne, which is an MSU equivalent of 13-3-15 with Calcium and Mg. I use RO water and have done so for a quite a few years so I can monitor what the plants are getting. I have had some excellent results with my mainly paph MF collection while using the Akerne but when I use the K-Lite, the effects of yellowing of the leaves is very apparent in a short space of time. There doesn't seem any improvement in root growth either so I revert back to Akerne
Quote:
I started to have some of the same issues after a good start with it. I switched back to my old fertilizer, after using what I bought, and repotting this spring. I thought I was the only one having issues until you mentioned it.
Quote:
My own great experience with K-Lite with my entire collection - paphs, phrags, catts, oncids, encyclias, vandaceous of all sorts, including neos, phals, pleurothallids, etc. - may indicate that my supplementation with KelpMax and Inocucor Garden Solution is "filling in some blanks".
Quote:
Lance - Didn't notice any disease or pest problems while using K-Lite; just the yellowing leaves and a general slowing of growth in Paph/Phrag compots and seedlings.
Quote:
Marco - I used K-Lite dissolved in RO water for about a year at 15-20 ppm [N]. Every fourth watering, I flushed the pots with straight Chicago (Lake Michigan) water which had a TDS of 220 ppm, for the micro-nutrients. During that time I noticed a gradual yellowing of non-Parvi Paph. leaves and Phrag. leaves - especially besseae and it's hybrids. Prior to K-Lite , I fertilized with Miracid 30-10-10 (which is urea based) at a 70 ppm [N]. After discussing besseae culture with ST'er "John M" I began alternated the 30-10-10 with 10-52-10 which is also urea based, and achieved the best plant growth I've seen in a couple of years.
Quote:
I have been using K-lite for just over a year and the plants are still green. Those dose a is 50 ppm N (1/3 tsp in 1 gal). I grow semi-hydroponic. In summer the plants stand in the K-lite and are misted daily. In winter they stand in RO and get misted with K-lite every day.

The only exceptions to the generally good growth are a spicerianum that seems to be going backwards. My roth and St Swithin also seems to be stagnating. It grows new leaves but only at the expense of an old leaf. The roth is also a bit yellow. Perhaps it needs a higher dose? The roth gets a lot of sun so perhaps it is pale because it has ample light?
Quote:
My problems with the exclusive use of K-Lite started to occur after one year.
It wasn't pretty.
Quote:
I too had problems with using K-lite and RO water. My plants seriously became bleached. Crushed oyster shells made things worse.

I've been using pure urea and 30-10-10 urea based exclusively (with tap water) for at least a year now. I am happy with the results. I do supplement with Kelp (Kelpmax from Ray and Seaplex), fulvic, humic, and amino acids. I also used to adjust my pH close to 6.5 with phosphoric acid but I haven't in a while. Plants don't seem to mind.

I do try to go light on K whenever I can. I do believe it makes a difference.

I did have problems with orchiata as well but now that i'm using Urea, and watering more often, plants in it are growing like crazy.

I think it's the combination of K-lite (lack of ammonium N)my tap water, and underwatering (and the lime in orchiata) that made it not work for me.
Quote:
The odd plant, like a phrag besseae and a roth did seem to develop some browning on the leaves but this has since stopped. Apart from that I didn't notice any significant problems, however, the plants looked weaker and with the yellowing leaves it wasn't positive.
Quote:
I've been using K-lite for about two years consistently at ~10 ppmN at every watering in RO water. Although I didn't see much growth, all my plants were still totally fine. In the past six months, I made a small change thanks to the discussions here by adding back 10% of our municipal water and I have seen a marked improvement since. We get a yearly report on water quality and even though our water supply is really hard, there are definitely a lot other additional micros in there when used at an average of ~50 ppmTDS with ~10 ppmN K-lite. I'm actually thinking of cutting K-lite back a little further to keep the final TDS below 100 ppm. The only additive I add is a drop or two of Superthrive (when I remember) just for a bit of NAA action.
Quote:
I visited Hausermann's Orchids in Villa Park, IL this March, and saw some of the largest, best looking Parvi's (both species and hybrids, but especially Paph. malipoense) that I'd ever seen. I asked Jim Hausermann a lot of questions re: their culture and he said they were fertilizing with a urea based fertilizer at a [N] of 170 ppm (!) and a TDS close to 500 ppm (!!!) This is certainly contrary to the low-dose direction, regardless of natural habitat conditions. And yet the plants looked beautiful..... When asked whether they had done any testing of low K fertilizers, he said they had done so on their Phalaenopsis and the result was yellowing of the leaves and shorter flower stems, so they discontinued the use of the product.
Quote:
I started using K-lite last fall when I got my r/o system. Into the first of this year, I had a lot of poorly growing Catts. As a matter of fact, I lost a lot of plants - which surprised me. Seedlings that should have started taking off when the days got longer were struggling. Phrags are struggling. (just got Paphs w the recent auction so can't say). Last week I stopped using K-lite. I didn't see this post till this evening - it's been a long week.

Weak, spindly growth and in some instances followed by rot. Nothing had changed but the fertilizer and r/o water. I was thrilled to not have the salt build-up using the r/o water. But something had gone wrong.

I am now using Miracle gro for orchids (I had invested in K-lite after using up my other fertilizers), which I had on hand.
Quote:
I usually don't post my growing because I don't like to get into debates about what caused what. I am pretty sure in my growing conditions what I see everyday. I tried lowering my K, then my fertilizer concentration then my urea supplementation after reading all the hoopla. I am so sorry I did. I got decreased light tolerance. I kept having to decrease light on time and distance from the light on the indoor orchids. Decreased growth and to top it off a pretty severe fungal infection. This is only after maybe 6 months. I also supplement with co2 and grow at higher temperatures than most and I used to get amazing growth with rich green leaves. The plants couldn't handle it. I went from having amazing growth to problem after problem. I have gone back to a balanced fertilizer at 300ppm supplementing again with seaweed and urea. The plants seem to be recovering but it was a nightmare. I really am disappointed in myself for getting caught up in a trend that I read about and others told me about when I had a system that was working well for myself and some other amazing growers.
...
I used to be urea crazy. Never had a problem. Then I reduced K. Then I started having problems. Blamed it on the UREA. So I decreased fertilizer concentration totally after reading these forums. Had more problems. Read all this low light stuff so I decreased daylight which helped. Then my leaf growth started stunting. Then color kept getting less rich. Then I got a nasty fungal infection. That was it. I have gone back to my old regimen and in 2 months they are mostly looking great again.
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