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  #1  
Old 02-20-2021, 11:16 PM
MiffyThePhalaenopsis MiffyThePhalaenopsis is offline
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Phal fertilizer recommendations and home made fertilizers?
Default Phal fertilizer recommendations and home made fertilizers?

So, I've had my phal for about a year, more or less, with it being in bloom when I first got it. The spikes turned brown and so I tied cutting it as close as I can to the base, as what websites online recommend.

She's survived this long somehow without me fertilizing it, but I want to make her healthier in hopes that she can be happier start growing a new spike (I'm not a good plant parent but trying to get better). Sites online suggested a NPK 20-20-20, but shops online have other ratios, like a 15-5-5. Are there any good fertilizers?

I also saw there are home fertilizer recipes online, but I don't know if things like rice water or egg shells actually work.
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Old 02-21-2021, 12:06 AM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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The home-made things won't be complete.

Fertilizer is the least important thing about growing orchids. More important are proper watering, temperatures day/night, humidity and light.

For Phals, if you dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of 20-20-20 in a gallon of water and use it once a week it will be fine.

You can read more about fertilizer and orchids in the free information section at the First Rays Web site.
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  #3  
Old 02-21-2021, 12:12 AM
MiffyThePhalaenopsis MiffyThePhalaenopsis is offline
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Phal fertilizer recommendations and home made fertilizers?
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Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
The home-made things won't be complete.

Fertilizer is the least important thing about growing orchids. More important are proper watering, temperatures day/night, humidity and light.

For Phals, if you dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of 20-20-20 in a gallon of water and use it once a week it will be fine.

You can read more about fertilizer and orchids in the free information section at the First Rays Web site.
Thanks for the tip! There's so many sources online that it starts making me cross-eyed trying to read it all.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiffyThePhalaenopsis View Post
There's so many sources online that it starts making me cross-eyed trying to read it all.
Most recommendations you see online are “this is how I do it” examples. I try to look into the science behind things to find the why behind the what.

Fertilizers are critical, but the formula is relatively unimportant. Personally, I’d go with the 15-5-5, as the plants really don’t need al that P & K.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:30 PM
Orchidtinkerer Orchidtinkerer is offline
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Phal fertilizer recommendations and home made fertilizers?
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Hi Miffy,
this is a tricky subject as there are lots of varying opinions on this and it isn't just as simple as what nutrients to use.

Estacion says that nutrients are the least important thing. I'm not so sure. It is true they need tiny tiny quantities of fertilizer but just because they need so little does not mean it doesn't matter what you use in my opinion.
But as I said there are varying opinions on this.

I have read that orchids are extremely sensitive so you can't overfertilize and I've read the fertilizer shouldn't contain any urea so I've recently switched to an urea free fertilizer and I think it's improved things slightly in some orchids but it can take a long time to notice much difference in orchids so I will have to compare blooming and see.

I think what is more important than the fertilizer is the total dissolved solids of your water and the ph and hardness of the water.

So yes those are more important but I try to get as much right as I can and I still find it can be hard enough so there shouldn't be a question of which is important/what can I ignore, it should be how can I do the best without skimping on their care.

Well that's my approach, I know people have had no problems using all purpose tomato feeds and all sorts to flower their orchids but some orchids are more sensitive than others - some can tolerate lots, others can't as much.
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:10 PM
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I have to admit that I get around to fertilizing less often than I should, the orchids seem to do fine with what they do get. Would they grow better and bigger with more? Probably. But I always have something (actually quite a few "somethings") in bloom, so what I do seems to work. A consideration on "how much" is " how fast are they growing?" The nutrients primarily affect the process of growing new tissue (building cells, etc.). For the energy needed to live, that mostly comes from the sugars resulting from photosynthesis. That's why most orchids need very little - they grow sloooowwwwly. And why a few, like Catasetinae that, in the spring and early summer grow so fast you can almost watch them, or Cymbidiums that make big new growths, need more. Those, I add some time-release fertilizer in the spring, to compensate for my paltry fertilizing. Just like you have to fertilize tomatoes a lot, because they also grow almost fast enough to watch it happening, while trees (except for fruit production) need very little (When was the last time you fertilized a pine or oak tree?)
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:12 PM
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Essentially all plants need nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) in roughly equal amounts, including orchids. Phosphorus (P) much less than N or K.

Follow the advice Estacion Seca gave. Nothing will be harmed by providing more P than is needed. By keeping the fertilizer concentration low, and applying only once a week, you are also not going to over fertilize.

As a follow-up to Roberta's post, some some places actually do fertilize pine trees etc. A lot of wastewater treatment systems, in places where land is available, irrigate the treated water on land planted with trees, instead of discharging it to a river. That water has N, P, and K in it. Pine trees irrigated this way grow rapidly.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:53 AM
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A lot of wastewater treatment systems, in places where land is available, irrigate the treated water on land planted with trees, instead of discharging it to a river. That water has N, P, and K in it. Pine trees irrigated this way grow rapidly.
Very true.

A good example is a WWTP located in Jacksonville, NC. A fairly basic wastewater design consisting of biological treatment lagoons (capacity of 40 million gallons and covering 10 acres of land) - influent is aerated, screened/grit removal, disinfected - effluent is land applied.

The land treatment site covers 6300 acres (1/3 of that is dedicated to spray irrigation fields where pine trees are cultivated) - 18,000 sprinkler nozzles used to water those trees. Treated effluent is used to water those trees and applied at 1.4 inches a week/per acre in the summer months, and 0.7 inches a week/per acre in winter months.

This facility also has storage lagoons, which have a capacity of 340 million gallons when full and cover 90 acres of land. The City of Jacksonville knocks out 'several birds with one stone'... the time it takes a pine tree to mature in nature, takes a fraction of that time with their spray irrigation (NPK).

They also sell those trees (which is another win-win), replanting new seedlings for the ones harvested ~ and the process starts again. Not only do they eliminate discharging 5.2 MGD (million gallons a day) into the New river, trees and wildlife flourish in that area. Groundwater supplies are also being replenished. More importantly, they are meeting or exceeding their WWT compliance regulations.

Just a late note: not many of these exist throughout the country > treatment wetlands. Had a few fingers in this one. Funny thing, the initial thought was "it will never work". Conventional wisdom thumbed their noses at alternative wisdom - go figure.
Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment

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Old 02-22-2021, 11:48 AM
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Here on Oak Island NC, the wastewater is used to irrigate a town park and golf course.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:08 AM
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The two best fertilizers I have ever used came from the Goldfish pond and the pet rabbit. Both were like magic for my plants.

Eggshells are good but they take a while to decompose and do any good. If your plants need Calcium immediately, it is best to use another source in the meantime.
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