Orchid food helps in growing the Orchid plant faster and bearing flowers sooner. But the only thing you need to know is whether you are giving the suitable fertilizers to your Orchid plant.
Orchids normally require an adequate amount of continuous availability of mineral nutrients. Although they are making their own food by the process of photosynthesis in which they use water, carbon dioxide and energy from the sun, they surely need some special kind of fertilizers to grow and flourish properly.
Seventeen different components have been identified that are necessary for the growth of Orchid plant. Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) are needed in larger amounts and are called “macro nutrients”. Whereas elements such as Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Zinc (Z), and Copper (Cu) are required in much smaller amounts and are known as “micro nutrients” or “trace elements”.
Almost every commercial Orchid fertilizer is marked with three numbers, like 10-20-30. These numbers show the percentage by weight of the macro nutrients that are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), in the fertilizer.
The properties of these three macro nutrients are as follows:
Nitrogen (N) is essential for the growth of stem and leaves, and gives them a rich green color.
Phosphorous (P) helps in the development of roots and flowers.
Potassium (K) aids in building Orchid tissues, and is also necessary for the production of chlorophyll.
Any fertilizer is considered to be complete and balanced when it contains N, P, and K in the equal ratio. Some of the fertilizers used for the Orchid plant are in ratio of 20-20-20, 10-10-10, and 30-10-10. Only nitrogen element can be added more than other two elements because it helps in giving the plant rich green color that is very useful in the healthy growth of Orchid plant.
Orchids grow best when given the water soluble fertilizers which are easily available and also easy to use. These fertilizers should be given to the plant in every 2-3 weeks.
Orchid plants warn you by showing some specific symptoms when they are not given the proper and appropriate food. Some of these symptoms are as follows:
- A lack of nitrogen stops the growth and makes the leave turn yellow at the tip, whereas excess nitrogen bears fast, soft, and flaccid growth.
- Inadequate phosphorus sometimes causes a brownish-purple discoloration, and also turns the tips of the leaves into yellow and the edges burn and dry.
- Improper and insufficient fertilizers make the growth of the Orchid plants slow, whereas very dark green leaves that are limp shows that the plant has been over-fertilized.
The Orchid plants require starting feeding when they begin to grow. For the novice, it is best to use the Orchid food which is commonly used among the Orchid growers.