Anyone use organic fertilizers for orchids?

serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)July 31, 2009

I was just curious as to whether anyone has had experience or a lot of success with organic fertilizers or more natural types of fertilizer for orchid care...

For my roses I feed them Gardenville sea tea (fish emulsion, compost tea, seaweed)... and that stuff is absolutely fabulous for them. But then again we're talking roses not orchids, hehe! I know I'm such a big silly in not being able to figure out the intricacies of orchid growing and can only blab out about completely unrelated plants...

Thanks for everyone's patience with me...

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Plenty of us do. Orchids are more susceptble than other plants to fertilizer damage/burn and salt damage. With organics you really can't hurt them if you overdo it. I switch between organics and inirganics and my plants love it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 8:57PM
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Is Horsie Doo Doo considered organic? I add it to their pots, place it on top of the root balls of mounted orchids and make tea which is served at 4PM. This is done in addition to the regular fertilizing and I'm sure is beneficial. I also have two 200 Gallon aquariums and a 160 gallon Koi pond. When I suck out debris it goes straight to the larger orchids.

Is organic better? I doubt it very much. Vit C is ascorbic acid whether its made in a chemical factory that also makes Napalm or squeezed out of rose hips, its still ascorbic acid. The natural kind is very beneficial to the people that make it other wise it's still ascorbic acid! The 'Natural Is Better' freaks amongst us will never accept that and refuse to be confused by facts.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 12:24AM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

ummmm, o.k. orchidnick...are you serious about the Koi pond or are you calling me a tree-huggin' freak, LOL!

Man, horsie doo-doo are you kidding me?

now rosie organic gardeners we can be freaks because the stinky stuff is put outside with plenty of earthworms sunshine and rain to break it down...but indoors, phewooey!

Terpguy, which organics do you use or would recommend.

The advantage of organics is because it very slowly breaks down... Usually the synthetic fertilizers are like a quick rush to the plant (like a sugar candy bar as opposed to a human eating fruits and grains)...

I am very cautious about using any of my sea tea because I'm afraid it may be a little higher in sodium than is ideal...

I too think that the candy fertilizers are good while the plant is blooming but I am thinking eventually I'd like to use a variety of smorgasbord for my orchids. Sort of the philosophy that a little bit of everything supplements my "babies'" diet...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 4:41PM
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Here is a treat, a guide to organic gardening! It was a joy to read Nic's writing while he was alive.

Arthur, did you have the pleasure of knowing van den Bosch?


Here is a link that might be useful: Nic van den Bosch's Home Page

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 7:38PM
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I used liquid kelp. I think the brand was Neptunes, or Captain Neptunes, something like that. Any of the seaweed/kelp or the fish emulsions would be great for your plants. I also do use the synthetics. Actually I've been out of the organics for a few months now, but don't have the money to go buy more, so it'll be exclusively synthetics for a while.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 10:54PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Nic van den Bosch wrote articles for orchid magazines and many people tried his method of growing Cymbidiums in Horse manure. I even tried it and i am not a Cymbidium grower. It certainly works, the only problem being that in a City of 4,000,000 people there are not many horses.

Now not being an avid Cymbidium grower i cannot say if that method is any better than using one of the many secret mixtures Cymbidium growers use.

In general gardening i think Organic plus inorganic works best. So applying that to my orchids i use something like a 12:12:20 plus trace elements and seaweed extract.

As a for the fish water theory. There is no extra green spot on the back lawn where the water goes whenever i do a partial water change on the 600 litre fish tank in this room.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 10:56PM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

wow, some of you indeed are really dedicated to some of the uh, more "involved" recipes, lol! And yes that was a very informative link... I really did originally think that Nick may have been joking with me about the horsie doo-doo. But now I see that orchids are even more hardy than roses...With horse manure one is not allowed to put those on the base of the rose... you have to cushion a soil buffer between the manure and the rose roots or else the manure will burn the roots... this is very interesting to find out.

But you know I am beginning to think that roses and orchids are becoming more like cousins now; I was really, really super surprised to read that orchids can actually tolerate the sea kelp... I always assumed that the sea tea would be too high in sodium (too "salty") for the orchids...but I guess I can use that now, I just will be sure to dilute it so that I can "barely see" the brown...

I also read someone using beer? for orchids? what is the ratio of that...If I use pure beer, how much should I dilute it with in terms of beer/water...

Anyone use coffee grinds?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 11:41PM
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coffee grounds? YUK!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 12:38AM
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The aquariums are fresh water, not salt water. I will dump a 5 gallon pail of brown debris from the bottom of the tank on large Cymbidiums or a large Speciosum or two.

I am quite familior with Nic Van De Bosch's writings and I also tried horse manure as the growing medium for Cymbidiums. I works fine but it disappears. After watering a plant for 6 month or so, all that is left is a bunch of undigested straw. So we are back to having to repot all the time, I'm trying to avoid that. I collect a garbage can full of the stuff, let it sit for a month, it truly does not smell, and then either make a solution of it or just throw some of it on top of plants. Again it seems to somehow disappear as a few months later there is no trace of it. If a plant comes into bloom and needs to go somewhere, it's totally easy to clean it up.

I also have a large tortoise who produces a considerable volume of droppings. They also get placed on top of suitable plants. A month later they are like dry paper and go into the trash.

Does all this do any good? I think so, it certainly cannot do any harm. On the subject of beer, there has been a large amount of posting on that subject. I use it all the time and so do a lot of people I know. Let me put it this way, I know of more people who add beer to the mix than add Super Thrive. I add a can of beer to about 80 gallons of water twice a week.

On the subject of 'smorgasbord' I'm a great fan of the concept. Give them anything including the kitchen sink, unless it does harm, it may do some good. My mix includes:

Urea free fertilizer
Epsom Salt
Sea Weed Extract
Horse manure
Fish tank debris
Tortoise manure
Birth Control Pills (only because I can get them free)
Prenatal vitamins (same reason)

I use a ppm meter to make sure that at any time the concentration of the mix is not to high. How effective is all this? Have no idea, the plants are thriving, that's all that counts.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 12:56AM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Stitzweller, LOL! coffee smells delicious! I can't believe you'd pass up coffee for our stinky sea tea! hahaha!

Nick, thanks for the beer ratio, it gives me an idea of what to use... Mine will be a lot less since I only have 2 orchids and not a total greenhouse of 'em... I am sure your roses must be very spoiled/pampered. (at least to an orchids' mind)...Although, I'll pass though on the birth control pills. I'm not sure how those things can add any "nutrient" to an orchid, hee-hee. Prenatal vitamins do have those vitamins, I admit.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 1:14AM
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I'm sure BCs don't add any nutrient but they are powerful steroids. They are not anabolic or muscle building steroids but Estrogen and Progesterone have a powerful influence on animals. If Ahnuld's mother had left Austria when she went into labor and delivered him in the US, steroids may have put him into the White House. Plants are another story. I have added a pack (a month worth) of BC pills about once or twice a month for years now and have not noted any abnormal or deformed flowers. I have specifically looked for that.

The reason I do things in multiples of 80 gallons is that I mix 5 gallons of Witch's Brew and then use a Siphonex to dilute it to 80 gallons. At least that's what its supposed to dilute it to. Since I use a long hose and a sprayer which restricts the flow, I'm probably getting more like 160 gallons. By measuring the ppm or ec of the tap water and the finished mix I can see how much of the nutrient is actually getting through.

How much of that is NECESSARY, especially if you have a small collection, is another matter. Probably very little of it. Use a good all around fertilizer, I use GrowMore but there are many others and let it go at that. I mix up that Kikapoo Joy Juice of mine because I can, its easy to add to that 5 gallon jug which acts as my base and I've fallen into an effortless routine over the years. Some of these things, the hormones for example can have unintended consequences.

The other very important thing to keep in mind is that most of my plants are bareroot. When I water them with fertilizer added water, they get a chance to absorb whatever I offer up. On hot days like this they will get watered again within less that 12 hours with clean water and go through as many as 2 or 3 watering cycles before get hit again with the toxic brew. I think this cleansing action is important and will not be duplicated in the average home grown collection. When you are growing a Phaeli in a pot full of bark on a window sill, you are dealing with a completely different set of circumstances and little of what I'm talking about applies to that situation.

Soylent Green may work for me but not necessarily for you, keep that in mind.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 9:37AM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

My rose mentor Karl Bapst, like you, uses Koi pond runoffs and goes through tons of labor intensive feeds, various homemade "teas" and brews; at least it's labor-intensive for me, LOL! I have enough of a battle doing the instant stinky but easy Gardenville sea tea, all I have to do is stick one TBS. inside a gallon of water and voila! there I have it...P.S. I bet your orchids love the tortoise leave-behinds...I bet it is the closest thing to the earthworm-stuff...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 3:37PM
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Compost tea seems to be the rage for orchids now. I keep reading about soaking your medium in it before potting.the

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 2:15AM
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