Fertilizing orchids regularly provides them with the nutrients they needs for optimal health and vigorous blooming.
Just as the leaves fall from the trees and animals begin to hibernate this time of year, your orchid will go through a period of dormancy. If its flowers have fallen, this is the perfect time to replenish its nutrients by applying fertilizer.
Here's what you need to know about how to fertilize orchids.
Why Do Orchids Need Fertilizer?
Most plants obtain the nutrients and moisture they need from the soil. Because Phalaenopsis orchids naturally grow on trees, they trap wind-blown plant and animal matter, grains of soil, mineral flakes and other nutrients between their tangled roots where they can be absorbed by the plant.
When we bring orchids into our homes, we remove them from the natural environment that nourishes them. The mixtures of fir bark, sphagnum moss, cork, gravel, peat moss and other materials in which commercially-grown Phalaenopsis orchids are generally potted provide some minimal nutrition as they break down; but hardly enough to provide the plant with the nutrient boost it needs to generate new growth and flower.
When Should You Fertilize Orchids?
Experts recommend fertilizing Phalaenopsis orchids once every other week or at least once a month only after its blooms have dropped. Fertilize your orchid with a weak solution of a balanced plant fertilizer.
How To Fertilize Orchids In 5 Steps
- Choose a fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (look for 20-20-20 on the label). Fertilizer should be used at half-strength, mixing it with an equal amount of water before applying it to your orchid.
- Using a narrow-spouted pitcher, slowly pour the fertilizer into the pot, avoiding leaves.
- Drain any excess solution.
- Skip watering on fertilizing days.
- Repeat once or twice a month.
That's all there is to it! Fertilizing your orchid is easy and will keep it healthy as it rests. The resting period typically lasts about nine months before your orchid will rebloom.
Don't want to wait that long? Buy a new one you can enjoy now while you wait!