Orchid Fertilizer Tips & Programs
Orchids require coarse, high porosity media, such as bark, to allow air movement through the media. It is recommended that this be used in combination with a water absorptive material, such as sphagnum peat moss, perlite or coconut husk chips, to ensure a well-balanced medium for growth. One of the best absorptive materials for growth in warm climates is sphagnum moss, due to its low pH and high holding capacity of nutrients and mine rails.
To prevent accumulation of salt, plants should be watered until 20% of applied water begins to leach out of the bottom of the pots. The recommended EC level of this water being added to plants is 0.5 mS, while the EC level of leachate should be between 1-1.5 mS. If the leachate is higher than 2 mS, plants should be flushed with clear water.
The appropriate fertilizer should be applied every watering at 200 ppm N, and with adequate levels of Calcium and Magnesium. It is recommended that fertilization continues as spikes emerge. Eliminating fertilizer at this stage will result in reduced flower count. Alternating between Plant-Prod® 12-2-14 Optimum and Plant-Prod 24-8-16 Foliar will ensure high flower count and maximum flower size.
Vegetative Cultivation and Growth
This stage lasts for 20-25 weeks. During this time, maintain plants at high temperatures between 27-32° C.
Cooling and Spike Induction
This stage occurs when plants have 5-7 leaves and lasts for 4-6 weeks. During this time, reduce temperature to 17-25° C.
Finishing and Post-Harvest
Finishing occurs once spikes emerge and lasts for 20-25 weeks. During this time, maintain plants at 17-25° C.