does anyone have a favorite fertilizer and what is best?

meyermike_1micha(5)February 28, 2010

Is there any particular fertilizer that you favor and have had awsome results with?

Is there a "best" fertilizer to use for orchids, a general all purpose for most?

Thanks alot.


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There is no "Best", other than the usual suggestions for urea free fertilizers. Orchids are slow feeders and the urea would be flushed out before it gets broken down into a useful form.

Two of the top choices would be Dynagro and MSU brand fertilizers. I'm fond of the dynagro myself but also do have the MSU.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 4:59PM
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When you say Dyna -gro, are you meaning the of 7-9-5, or the Foliage Pro one of 9-3-6..?

I have both and I tend to use the FP on most my plants..

I also have Grow More orchid fertilizer, 20-10-20 urea free...

Which one would you use, or would you rotate use of all 3..?

Thank you

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:17PM
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In my case, I'm talking about the grow formula, 7-9-5.

I would use either of them, really. I'm not very picky about my fertilizers.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:44AM
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I have been to several lectures on this topic. ALL leaders on this subject suggested to choose your favorite fertilizers and to rotate their use.

Common sense was also strongly suggested by the lecturers.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 12:48PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Here is a link to a Loooooonng thread on this particular topic.

Here is a link that might be useful: a previous fertilizer thread

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:10PM
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Mike, A sage observer (arthurm) wrote in that thread, Too often, a great looking orchid collection is thought to be the result of some sort of wondrous fertilizer routine when in fact it is the result of getting growing conditions right.

Many other gems are to found in this *ancient* thread. Thanks for bringing it up again, arthur!


    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 8:15AM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

I agree. I alternate my fertilizers. I use either Dyna-Gro Grow or Bloom, liquid seaweed, epsom salts, and a clear water flushing once a month. They even get a shot of Everclear whiskey when they look pouty and I want to cheer them up.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 4:35PM
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Much better that you use Everclear than any products from the Stitzel Weller Distillery! :)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 5:22PM
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while on the subject fertilizer, I have a question:
Will the dissolved fertilizer in a 32gal.drum ( 1/4 tsp. p. gallon) become impotent after it is left in the water for 3+ weeks? The 32 gal. will last me 3 or 4 weeks of watering.

I alternate with 20-20-20, 31-10-10, or high bloom, when appropriate. I have not noticed any significant growth spurt using fertilizers. Am I too conservative with the dosage?

My orchids seem to respond more to length of day, sunshine, regular watering, fresh medium.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 10:17PM
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Hi Mike, Welcome!
I do similar to helgal. Because I use RO water only, I use MSU for pure water but also use whatever I have at hand. I fertilize very little but do use a higher N when plants begin new green growth. I never fertilize when a plant is blooming.

I agree again with helgal that growing conditions have the biggest impact on the plant.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 1:23AM
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richardol(Santa Royale CA)

I am a fan of low even numbers, applied in a pump sprayer after watering. I use a lot less that way, with none if it draining out of the pot.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 12:06AM
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I use Dynamite slow-release fert. because I'm really busy with kids (and I'm an idiot about remembering anything). It's a 13-13-13 with up to 9 months of feeding. It contains micro-nutrients and doesn't use urea. I don't use it for Dends though, from my understanding they don't care for slow-release fert. 2 lbs for $4-5 I usually sprinkle about a teaspoon in each pot, so really this lasts me a good long while. ginnibug

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 8:33AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I am new to Orchids, got my first two for Valentines. I don't know exactly what the Urea is?

I got a MG orchid food 30-10-10.
It says on the box 27% Urea Nitrogen, is this bad? Do I need to return it and get something else?

It would have to be something I can get local. Like Wal mart, home depot, lowes..

Great topic Mike! This is good info to have all in one thread. :)


    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:46AM
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Jojo, urea is one form that nitrogen can come in (found in urine, hence the name). In order for orchids to take it up it needs to be broken down into another form of nitrogen by bacteria; this takes time. And while you are watering over and over again, that urea you're waiting to break down is being washed out of the pot before it does get changed to the form that orchids can use. So it disappears before the orchids can use it! This is why its most often recommended that you use urea free fertilizers. Should you return it? Thats up to you.

Recommendation: To anyone interested in MSU, I found some at a local hydroponics store, both the city water and the R/O water. So if you have a hydroponics store near you, check it it out. It might have it and you won't have to pay a ton in shipping.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:58AM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Helgal, as far as I know, these are minerals. And minerals will always be minerals. They don't dissolve, and they don't dissipate. Perhaps someone with more knowledge might clarify this.

And with the very high nitrogen formulas you use, do you get much bloom? Here in NJ all I would get would be beautiful green leaves and few flowers.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:18PM
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zzyzzyx(Lower MI)


orchid 126 is correct. Though I am not a chemist, I have taken a few chemistry classes for my botany degree, and I can say that the fertilizers we use are salts, which do not evaporate or dissipate when left to sit in the water. If the water evaporates, the solution actually becomes stronger in concentration. The salts are too dense to evaporate. The primary salts we use are potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous, all of which are elements, and will not simply go away by sitting in a water mix for any extended period. As for the other things in the mix, I can't say, because they differ from mix to mix.

As long as you're keeping the stuff in the drum, nothing should change in as little as three or four weeks. Even in three or four years, you would probably see some change, but most, if not all of the original substance should still be present.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Wow,,What a stealth of info..I feel like Jojo..

I am learning a lot here..I do have two that have bloomed and I will take a pic soon..I have been holding back..Shy I guess. But I never fertilized them because of fear of hurting them..

What is MSU...Sorry if I missed it..Wouldn't rain water be just as well? I store barrels of it all winter. That is the only water I have been using to water all my plants..

Thank you..

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:25PM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

Well I haven't seen any of these commercial products on sale in Brazil and if I did I wouldn't buy them as the chances are they would have been adulterated. I use Chile saltpeter (guano) which is basically Potassium nitrate, and wood ash which is also high in Potassium and Phosphorus. Just throw it at the plants!!! It ought to burn some but never seems to. I suppose they're both "natural" products...They also get a free extra dose from bird splat now and again...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 3:57PM
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I use Dyna Grow 7-9-5 and Dyna Bloom. However, I find that fertilizer can't make up for deficiencies in the growing environment. Although obviously fertilizer is needed to grow most plants, good culture is also critical.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 4:11PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

MSU fertilizers are formulas developed by the Michigan State University. I believe one is for pure water, the other for well water and/or tap water. (Someone please correct me on this). They are not brand names, and are sold by many vendors.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:24PM
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Thank you all for giving me this information and please pardon my being so late for getting back with all of you.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 3:31AM
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