What is not to love about the elegant and gorgeous multi-colored blooms on orchids? Orchids come in various shapes and sizes and colors. The beautiful flower is pleasant to behold, and many people find it an exciting subject of study. Beautiful as they are, these delicate orchids need extreme care and maintenance to grow efficiently. Choosing the best fertilizer for orchids is essential to growing healthy and beautiful flowers.
If you have the desire and passion for growing and tending orchids, you should not be fazed by the fact that orchids require high maintenance. True, it may require a little more of your time and care compared to other plants, but the overall result is guaranteed to please you. You do not need to worry about the efforts you need to implement on the plant. Growing beautiful and colorful orchids is not as hard as it is said to be.
All you need for beautiful orchids is a perfect amount of light and water and a high quality orchid fertilizer to help you achieve a green thumb.
Why Does an Orchid Need Fertilizer?
Fertilizers can help your plants grow better with more productivity. For an orchid to retain its leaves and give more vibrant flowers, the right fertilizer is necessary.
Orchids need extreme care and maintenance, and therefore, it can be more challenging to handle when compared with other plants. You need to use the ideal fertilizer at the right time and in the right way to produce the best results.
The availability of orchid fertilizers can leave you undecided. So, we have compiled the top fertilizers for orchids to serve as a guide.
Below is a brief review of the best orchid fertilizers.
Best Fertilizer for Orchids
There are a ton of great orchid fertilizer options on the market.
No matter if you are looking for liquid, granule, powder, or slow release sticks we have you covered! Here are our top choices for orchid fertilizer.
Miracle-Gro Orchid Food
Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Spikes
Sun Bulb Company 8305 Better Gro Orchid Plus Bloom Booster Fertilizer
MSU Orchid Fertilizer - Feed ME!
Orchid Love - "The World's Greatest Orchid Food!"
Miracle-Gro 100195 Orchid Plant Food Mist Orchid Fertilizer
Orchid Myst Natural and Professional Orchid Feed Spray
Grow More 5121 All-Purpose Premium Orchid Fertilizer
1. Miracle-Gro Orchid Food
During the growth and rest periods, applying once in two weeks and once in four weeks, respectively, is recommended to give you the most favorable result. You can easily use by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of fertilizer in 3.8 liters of water to spray on the orchids.
It is recommended to water your plants in the morning as it gives them more time to dry in the sun during the day. When you apply the fertilizer, it is best to spray it on the surface roots as it prevents molds that could build up on the leaves if you spray on the whole plant.
2. Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Spikes
These food spikes are another significant contribution to plants by Miracle-Gro. They help the plants acquire rich, healthy leaves and the most beautiful and vibrant blooms. The best thing about the food spikes is that they require no effort at all during its application. You need to break the spikes into halves and stick them into the soil.
Remember that the food sticks are recommended for use only during the growth period of the plant. A single stick lasts for about two months, after which it should be changed and replaced with a new stick. Only having to feed your orchids every two months makes this one of the best fertilizer for orchids.
The package comes with ten spikes in total. You can use them according to the size of the plant pot. For instance, a four-inch pot will require only one spike for each application.
3. Better Gro Orchid Plus Bloom Booster Fertilizer
It is handcrafted in the company’s greenhouse. The fertilizer ensures the growth of luscious and colorful blooms. You can use the formula by mixing one teaspoon in 3.8 liters of water and water the plant on each fourth round. Ensure that both the roots and foliage are thoroughly soaked.
The fertilizer comes in a sizeable 1-pound bag that can be resealed. The product should be sealed tight when not in use to preserve its quality and nutrients.
4. MSU Feed Me! Orchid Fertilizer
This formula is carefully researched as well as tested on orchids to bring the best results. It has no urea and gives the most desirable effects when you use it with low alkaline water, such as rainwater.
The product comes in an 8 oz jar. It has granules enough to make approximately 64 oz of fertilizer. You only have to mix ¾ teaspoon of the fertilizer in 3.8 liters of water and start watering. The product should be stored away from sunlight when not in use to extend its quality and shelf life.
5. Orchid Love- The World’s Greatest Orchid Food
This orchid fertilizer has the perfect combination of high-quality and natural products such as natural sugars, plant hormones, and kelp.
It is a liquid concentrated fertilizer and comes in a 32 oz container. Depending on your usage, it can make up to 60 to 120 liters of fertilizer. It has an easy application. You need to add 1 or 2 oz to 3.8 liters of water, shake it well and use it.
Due to the gentle properties of this fertilizer, it can be used weekly. However, make sure that the watering is replaced with natural water once every three watering. If you use it right, it has the properties to make your orchids flower consistently and give them stable and secure roots.
6. Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Mist Orchid Fertilizer
Miracle-Gro also manufactures this reliable product. With this product, you can spray the fertilizer almost anywhere on the orchid from the roots to the leaves to ensure the growth of gorgeous and sturdy orchids.
The spray gives an instant helping of moisture and nutrients that your orchids need. However, you should take care not to spray on the blooms as it may defect your orchid’s ability to produce healthy and gorgeous flowers. A single application lasts for a whole week, so this 8 oz bottles will serve you for an extended period.
7. Orchid Myst Natural and Professional Orchid Feed spray
Pest infestation is one of the significant problems when it comes to gardening and growing plants. Not only does this orchid spray has a blend of nutrients and growth properties, but it also has organic pest repellents to keep your orchid safe and unharmed from insects, thereby promoting its overall growth.
An orchid only needs a low level of nitrogen in its natural habitat for active growth. The fertilizer is effective as it supplies the same level of nitrogen to the orchid continuously.
Every two or three days, squirt a bit of formula in the plant with the spray bottle. You can spray on the soil, and the base stems. You can also spray on the protruding roots and leaves while avoiding the blooms.
8. Grow More 5121 All-Purpose Premium Orchid Fertilizer
If you have the zeal to grow plants in inorganic cultures, we recommend the Grow More fertilizer. You can use this fertilizer at any time of the year as a multi-tasking fertilizer as it provides nutrients and the ideal amount of nitrogen release to encourage the growth of your orchids.
The 20 oz jar contains the granules with equal portions of three main components for healthy plant growth, namely, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Mix one teaspoon to about 3.8 liters of water and water the plant every 10 to 14 days for the most noticeable results.
What Are the Types of Best Fertilizers for Orchids?
Even the highest quality fertilizers are not proven to restore a dying orchid. So we are left to question why we even fertilize a plant.
The answer to this is that a fertilizer acts as a sort of supplement and vitamin to your orchids so that they receive all the nutrients necessary to have a healthy growth.
It does not have the power to restore a wilting plant to its former glory, as it is not an antidote for dying plants. It cannot be called food for plants either as plants prepare their food by photosynthesis.
Having some knowledge about photosynthesis is vital to help you know which fertilizers are best for your orchids.
What is Photosynthesis?
Like in all other plants, photosynthesis takes place in the same way, even in orchids. The absorbed water is distributed to the leaves by the roots. The chlorophyll present in the leaves helps the plant to absorb sunlight. It also gives pigment to the plants to produce green leaves.
The process of photosynthesis breaks down water into two different components: hydrogen and oxygen. Most of the oxygen is released into the atmosphere. The plant uses the remaining oxygen along with the broken down hydrogen and carbon dioxide to provide sugar to feed the plant.
As you can see, photosynthesis prepares food for the orchids but does not provide the necessary nutrients to enhance the plant’s growth. Therefore, fertilizers are made to serve as an enhancer to plant growth just as we humans have vitamins and supplements to improve our growth.
What Do Fertilizers Do?
A plant needs three macro-nutrients for productive growth. These nutrients can only be found in fertilizers. They are;
- Nitrogen – It helps in the development of the stem and the leaves.
- Phosphorous – It gives sturdy roots and encourages the production of flowers in plants.
- Potassium – It gives longevity to the plant and makes plant tissues stronger and healthier
Fertilizer is made up of these three ingredients, and every pack has a three-numbered label. The numbers give the ratio of the components. For instance, if there is a 10-10-10 number label, then it means that there is a 10% of each ingredient to the mix.
You should be aware of the components and their proportions as they are essential in determining the effectiveness of the fertilizer. A complete fertilizer has all the three vital components in it. A balanced fertilizer has equal proportions of all three elements.
What Should You Look for in an Orchid Fertilizer?
Nitrogen has the best effect on plants. Therefore it would be wise to choose a fertilizer that has ammoniac nitrogen or nitrate nitrogen. You should, however, look out for products containing urea nitrogen and avoid it. According to research, it does not benefit plants.
Although nitrogen has a good reputation on plants, too much of it can degrade your plant’s health. Therefore, it is crucial to find a fertilizer that has an adequate amount of nitrogen. The recommended level of nitrogen can be anywhere below 20 %.
You should keep an eye on the sub-components and trace elements, as well. Magnesium and calcium supplemented fertilizers are suitable for a plant’s growth. If these sub-components are absent, you can always add them during the application if required.
How to Fertilize Orchids?
Different fertilizers have different impacts on plants.
The fertilizers that are applied by mixing with water should be watered on the roots and soil. These types of fertilizers can either come as granulated crystals or concentrated formula. You should properly mix it in water and make sure that it is dissolved before you use it.
Some fertilizers are safe to apply on the leaves; however, you should be aware of the instructions in the label. Using fertilizer on the leaves of the orchid can lead to mold and fungus build-up, which can deteriorate its growth and development.
Next comes the spray fertilizers. A spray gives out gentle mist and is safe to use on the whole plant except the flowers and buds.
There are also fertilizer sticks. They are easy to use but take a longer time to provide nutrients to the plants. You can use the sticks by sticking the spikes into the pot’s soil.
How Often Should You Fertilize Orchids?
Orchids are delicate plants that need delicate care.
According to some researchers, orchids are not like other plants and receive little nutrients in their natural habitat. That is why a modest amount of fertilizer will be enough to strengthen its growth.
However, there are some who believe that a larger amount of fertilizer will benefit the orchid better. So, which group of the research is right?
Orchids tend to get little nutrients out of their natural habitat. So it is not ideal for overdosing them with fertilizers. Excessive use of fertilizers can cause damage to the roots and give brown, dry leaves.
Different fertilizers come with different dose directions in their labels. It depends on how strong the fertilizer is. It is, therefore, important to read the instructions before you use it to avoid over-fertilizing.
You can always perform a diluted concentration experiment if you are unsure what the dosage should be. For instance, if you are instructed to mix one teaspoon into 3.8 liters of water, you can start by mixing a half-teaspoon into 3.8 liters of water and work your way up until you find the perfect balance.
Be careful not to overfeed your orchids. People tend to believe that they can get even better results by adding more dose to the already balanced dose. But this is unlikely. Every good thing has a limit.
The reason why people tend to believe that way is that orchids can develop a deceivingly desirable effect within its first few applications. They can even outgrow the rest if they are overfed. These over-fertilized orchids are weaker than the other orchids and are more prone to catching diseases.
To find out if you are overdosing your orchids, you should keep a close watch on the pot. Over-fertilized plants tend to emit salt on the pot, which has an adverse effect on plants. If you notice the build-up salt, you might want to consider re-potting your plant as salt is harmful to your delicate orchids.
When Should You Fertilize Your Orchids?
The orchid’s blooming cycle decides when you need to fertilize it.
Your orchids need fertilizers during their growing stage before it starts blooming. The growing stage in orchids differs from orchid to orchid. Some orchids flower in summer and spring, some in winter while some varieties even bloom twice in a year.
During their growing stage, it is ideal for fertilizing your orchids every week, replacing it with water on the third week. During this time, your orchid is in its pre-sprouting stage and needs a lot of care and nutrients. At this stage it is imperative that you use the best fertilizer for orchids that you can find. If you choose to make your own fertilizer, I recommend a liquid organic fertilizer.
Along with the correct amount of fertilizers, you should give importance to moisture too. Damp the soil with water if it turns dry in between applications.
The information provided here is in regard to using granules or concentrated formula. But these directions can even apply to sprays and sticks.
The flowers naturally wilt off gradually after its bloom. This wilting leaves the plant barren as it transitions into the latent stage, preparing itself to produce the next bloom.
During the dormant stage, it is not required to fertilize your orchid as much. Every other week is sufficient to ensure it is receiving all it needs to remain healthy and produce flowers for the next cycle.
In their dormant stage, the orchids that bloom in summer require more fertilizers than the ones that bloom in winter.
Fertilizing your orchids in the morning is the best time as it gives them more time to dry during the day.
A Note on Watering
Watering and fertilizing are two very different things. Fertilizers ensure your orchids get sufficient nutrients, while water helps them stay hydrated. Watering can also remove salt build-ups from fertilizers and minerals that are harmful to the plant.
However, overwatering your plants can result in unfavorable conditions such as rotting of the roots as well as bacterial and fungus problems.
When to Fertilize Orchids When Blooming?
During the flowering stage, orchids do not require many fertilizers as there is no growth activity during that time.
However, during its growing stage, orchids need more fertilizers because it is steadily growing and developing new leaves and roots and therefore needs all the nutrients to thrive.
The dormant stage comes when the flowers naturally wilt off. During this time, the orchid lays barren as it prepares itself for the next bloom. It does not require much fertilizer during this stage.
While the orchids are blooming, there is a moderation between the two. Fertilizing as rarely as once or twice in a month is enough. Be sure to start with weaker concentrations as the plants do not require much fertilizing because immediately after the blooming period, the dormant stage starts.
Summing up the the Best Fertilizer for Orchids
Do not let tall tales of how difficult it is to grow orchids hold you back from your desire to grow orchids. Growing an orchid is easy with some research, a perfect balance of water and light, and the best fertilizer for orchids. It will not take you long to figure out precisely what your orchids need for beautiful and healthy growth.
The information in this review is an overview in the general aspect. Orchids have multiple varieties, and each one is different and unique. You should research your orchids well before looking for fertilizer to understand them better.
There is one more crucial thing you need to remember. Always follow the application guidelines provided on the label of the fertilizer. All of our top fertilizers are unique, so make sure you read and understand the package label carefully before you start fertilizing.
Another important thing to keep in mind is to take the instructions on the label very seriously regarding its application. Guidelines differ from fertilizer to fertilizer, depending on their effectiveness. So, be sure to check the instructions every time you decide to use a new fertilizer.
Also, keep in mind that orchids do not require much fertilizing compared to other plants. It is, therefore, recommended to use only a small dose of fertilizer when it comes to treating orchids. Experiment with diluted fertilizers until you get the balance amount that will work wonders for your orchid.