Homemade Fertilizer Recipes That Will Skyrocket Your Orchid Growth

Choosing Your Orchid Fertilizer

There is much to consider when choosing an orchid fertilizer but it basically comes down to two main options; a home-made orchid fertilizer recipe or a manufactured one. In this article, I will try to give you a basic understanding of the pros and cons of both.

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Home-Made Orchid Fertilizers

Home made orchid fertilizer recipes have the following advantages over mass-produced fertilizers that you can pick up from your local garden centre:

  • Price - Creating fertilizer from products found around your home is cheaper.
  • Green - Recycling waste material to produce orchid fertilizer that is organic is better for the environment.
  • Knowledge - Learning about the chemicals that orchids need for growth whilst making organic fertilizer will make you a more knowledgeable gardener.

The most important ingredients of home-made orchid fertilizer recipes should be Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). Trace minerals such as Magnesium (Ma) and Calcium (Ca) should also be considered.

Manufactured Orchid Fertilizers

Garden Centres usually carry a large stock of general fertilizers as well as more specialized orchid fertilizers (such as orchid-plus). Here are some of the advantages of using these products:

  • Time - Buying a pre-made orchid fertilizer is much more time efficient than creating home made fertilizer
  • Piece of Mind - A lot of research has gone into the production f these fertilizers leaving you safe in the knowledge that you can't do anything wrong (as long as you follow the directions).
  • Exact Measurements - You know exactly how much Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium you are giving to your orchids (see below)

As mentioned above, the main chemicals needed by orchid are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). All mass-produced orchid fertilizers are labeled with what is called an NPK ratio. This is the percentage of each chemical that is in the mixture. For example an orchid fertilizer with an NPK ration of 10-10-10 would contain 10% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorous and 10% Potassium.

Recommended Manufactured Fertilizers
General Purpose Orchid Fertilizer
High Nitrogen Fertilizer (for orchids grown in fir bark)

No Longer recommended due to reported customer service issues
Cymbidium Orchid Fertilizer
Phalaenopsis & Paphiopedilum Orchid Fertilizer

Conclusion and resources

As you can see there are benefits to using both home-made orchid fertilizers as well as the manufactured kind. If you do not have a lot of time, I would suggest using pre-made fertilizer, however if time is not an issue I would recommend producing your own.

For more advice on home-made orchid fertilizer recipes, check out John Perez.

For more information on orchid fertilizers in general take a look at our mini-series entitled "How to Take Care of Orchids" and Jan Wilson's article on Orchid Fertilizers.

I hope this article has been useful to you. Please feel free to contact me with any feedback you have.

Related:
Homemade versus manufactured orchid fertilizers
Buying Orchids Online

Orchids: Everything You Need to Know - one of the best orchid resources on the Internet.