Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fertilizer Requirements of Orchid Plan

Fertilizer Requirements of Orchid Plan

Written by [Philippine Orchid Review]
Tuesday, 01 October 1985
How often should orchids be fertilized? This, of course, defends on the genus, the amount of sunlight it gets, temperature conditions, general condition of plant, and whether or not it has good roots. It is useless to fertilized heavily, or fertilizer will not produce roots. Fertilizers with nutrients are more conductive to the production of the numerous than those with an abundance of nutrients. In the cultivation of orchids, it is well to keep this in mind if one is to have a happy medium between vegetative plant growth and root growth; too many roots may indicate insufficient fertilizer or lack of moisture. The more sunlight the receives, the more fertilizer it can assimilate. Over fertilization of orchid can be just as detrimental to the quality of the flowers as under fertilization.
Scientific studies had provided us with the knowledge of which elements are necessary for proper plant growth, and, in turn, this as been useful in determining the percentages of nutrients to use it as fertilizers. We know the nitrogen, phosphate and potash are elements used in the greatest quantities, but there are other elements which are equally important such as boron, manganese, iron, zinc, copper and molybdenum. The lack of anyone of these will cause improper growth, either in flower or vegetative growth.
Too much of nitrogen will produce soft growth and the flowers of poor quality; too much potash and phosphate will produce small flowers. With seedlings since the first goal is to produce a good plant not flower – more fertilizer can be applied than the mature plant where fine flowers is the main objective.
When there is an over – abundance of nitrogen, it will be observed by the plants and damage the roots. If the root of orchid plants are damaged, water will have to be absorbed through the leaves a very slow process.
Fro time to time we are advised to fertilize orchids by spraying the leaves with fertilizers. Occasional light that foliage feeding in conjunction with the application of the fertilizer to the growing orchid plant is permissible, but should not be relied upon as the sole means of supplying all the necessary nutrients the plants needs. The fact that most orchids are epiphytic does not mean that they do not absorb nutrients from the roots. Therefore fertilizer should be applied through the potting medium rather than through the leaves if satisfactory culture is to be achieved. In fact, accumulation of fertilizers on the leaves of orchid plants can be harmful because photosynthesis ( the manufacture of food ) is prevented.
Since we have of abundance of sun and warm temperatures most of the year, nitrogen is generally limiting factor. So the use of fertilizers having 30-10-10 analysis during the greater part of the year is acceptable practice. To prevent soft growth and to increase production of flowers, fertilizer with 20-20-20- is often use on mature plants. Some orchid growers use fertilizer with high phosphate and potash content – for example 10-30-20. Such a formula is advantageous to induce flower production in Vandas, Dendrobiums and most generally grown in this country.
Remember – to fertilized orchids is a necessity, but it is far better to fertilized too little than too much.


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