As beautiful as orchids are in the home, your desk or coffee table do not offer the same hospitable environment as a rainforest or greenhouse. To compensate for nutrients orchids would normally receive in their natural habitat, we recommend occasional fertilization. However, the concept of orchid fertilizing often leads to more questions than answers.
To help clear up some of the confusion, we’ve collected and answered five of the most commonly asked questions.
5 Common Fertilizing Questions: Answered
1. When should I fertilize my orchid? Fertilizing is most effective after your orchid has finished flowering. Once the blooms have dropped, fertilize your orchid at least once a month or, at most, every other week.
2. What type of fertilizer should I use? The specific type of fertilizer can vary, but it’s important to make sure your fertilizer contains equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Look for labels that have “20-20-20” on them to denote these percentages. Balanced granular fertilizer can be used if dissolved in water before applying.
3. Do I need to dilute the fertilizer? Yes! You want your fertilizer to be half-strength, so dilute it with an equal amount of water before applying it to your plant.
4. How do I apply the fertilizer? This is where fertilizing can get a little tricky. Follow these steps to make sure you don’t oversaturate or over fertilize your plant:
- Put your fertilizing solution in a watering can or pitcher with a spout that will allow you to get close to the bark of your plant.
- Hold your plant over the sink and steadily pour the fertilizer directly on the bark. Make sure you don’t get any fertilizer on the leaves!
- Let the solution drain all the way through your orchid so you can ensure any excess fertilizer is removed. Double check that your drainage holes aren’t obstructed so the solution can completely drain through.
5. How does fertilizing affect my orchid’s watering schedule? You won’t need to water your orchid on the weeks when you fertilize. Since your fertilizing solution is half water, this will take the place of your usual three ice cubes.
Keeping your orchid healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right schedule and information, you can give your plant the water, nutrients and environment it needs to thrive.
For more information on how to raise a healthy orchid, download “10 Simple Steps to Keeping Your Orchid Healthy” for free here.