Learn the four most important tips to fertilize your orchid and encourage stunning blooms.
Your orchid is a show-stopper. Its blooms are big and bold, and its foliage is the perfect shade of green. You’re overjoyed with your choice, and you’ve made yourself a promise: You’re going to master orchid care so your orchid brightens up your garden for years to come.
You’ve got most of the basics down. You picked out the perfect orchid pot, found a well-draining orchid potting mix, and splurged on a humidity tray. But when it comes to choosing an orchid fertilizer, you’re confused and end up putting it off.
You know the key to keeping your orchid healthy is regular feeding, but you’re afraid to buy a fertilizer that’s too strong or doesn’t work. Weeks go by and you’re still not really sure which orchid fertilizer is best or how to feed your orchid.
We get it. Choosing the right orchid fertilizer can be overwhelming. There are so many products on the market that make fertilizing your orchid complicated. Lots of fertilizers require measuring, timing, and dilution; it’s no wonder you’ve put off buying an orchid fertilizer and feeding your plant.
Luckily, we’ve been there before, and we’re here to help take the guesswork out of feeding your orchid.
Below, we list four must-know tips to master orchid feeding and recommend the perfect orchid fertilizer so you can feel like a green-thumbed expert as you watch your orchid’s dazzling blooms explode.
Why should I use orchid fertilizer?
Just like all living things, plants need nutrients to survive. In the wild, plants typically obtain their nutrients from the soil they grow in, but because many orchids are epiphytic, they absorb their nutrients from the air.
In the lush, dense tropics, orchids are able to thrive in a nutrient-rich atmosphere. They absorb animal matter, grains of soil, mineral flakes, and other organic particles from the moist air of jungles, forests, and alpine regions.
When an orchid is grown indoors, however, it loses access to its natural nutrient-dense environment. As orchid caretakers, it’s our job to provide our plants with food so they can survive and thrive indoors.
Orchid potting mixes offer nutrients in the form of fir bark, moss, cork, gravel, and peat, but potting mixes are limited in their ability to deliver the nutrients your orchid needs.
Using an orchid fertilizer will ensure your orchid has access to all the nutrients it loves. Think of your orchid fertilizer as a multivitamin for your plant. The best orchid food will:
- Bring out big, bountiful blooms
- Support rich foliage
- Encourage strong plant stems
- Ensure healthy root systems
- Optimize plant growth
- Help ward off common diseases
If you’re ready to master orchid care and keep your plant happy and healthy, using an orchid fertilizer is a no-brainer. Let’s dive into four must-know tips to help you feed your orchid like a pro.
Tip #1: Use an orchid fertilizer regularly.
The key to fertilizing your orchid is to do it consistently. One dose of fertilizer every six months is better than nothing, but it isn’t enough to keep your plant happy and healthy. A regular feeding routine will help lock in your orchid-growing success.
Depending on the product, tropical orchids can be fed anywhere from once a week to once a month.
Professional Tip: For best results, choose an orchid fertilizer that’s safe to use every time you water. This will keep your fertilizing routine simple, which will increase your chances of feeding your plant regularly.
Tip #2: Don’t over-fertilize your orchid.
Over-fertilizing is an easy way to accidentally kill your plant, and it’s perhaps the number-one reason beginner growers avoid using fertilizers. Generally, orchids fare better with too little fertilizer rather than too much.
Your orchid’s root system is delicate, and fertilizer products contain varying ratios of acidic nutrients. Too much fertilizer can burn your orchid’s roots and damage its ability to absorb nutrients.
Professional Tip: Use an orchid fertilizer that’s beginner-friendly. Avoid products that require complicated dosing procedures like mixing, measuring, or diluting. It’s easy to over-feed your orchid if the instructions are complex.
Tip #3: Choose an easy-to-apply orchid fertilizer.
Fertilizers come in all shapes and sizes. They come in liquids, sprays, dry mixes, and slow-releasing spikes. Some varieties are water-soluble, some are to be used at half strength, and some require you to water your plant before application.
The best strategy is to use a fertilizer that’s hassle-free and easy to apply. Otherwise, you’ll risk under- or over-fertilizing your orchid. Or—what’s worse—you’ll risk giving up on fertilizing your orchid because your feeding routine will take too much time and effort.
Professional Tip: Generally, a spray-on application is simplest, since spraying your plant is quick, easy, and safe. Most importantly, spray-on fertilizers reduce the risk of damaging your orchid’s root system.
Tip #4: Use an orchid fertilizer with a gentle formula.
Your plant will thrive with a fertilizer that provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, though too much of any one nutrient can overwhelm your plant.
The best orchid fertilizer will have a gentle, well-balanced formula so it doesn’t burn your orchid’s roots or damage your plant from the inside.
Professional Tip: Choose an orchid fertilizer that has a gentle formula that’s specifically designed to feed orchid plants. Regular fertilizers are usually too acidic for orchid feeding.
Use Houseplant Resource Center’s Premium Orchid Food
We know firsthand how complicated fertilizing an orchid can be, and after years of trial and error and testing different products, we’re proud to recommend the best orchid fertilizer on the market.
Houseplant Resource Center’s Premium Orchid Food lets you grow beautiful, exotic orchids with ease. This product checks all the boxes. It’s gentle, easy to apply, and it won’t burn your orchid’s roots.
Here are a few of the features that’ll take you from orchid beginner to expert grower in no time:
- It’s easy to apply: The pre-mixed spray acts as a root stimulator for plants to improve their ability to use nutrients. This is especially important for young plants.
- It’s specially formulated: Sea kelp extract and humic acids address the unique needs of your orchid. With regular use, you’ll see healthy and vibrant orchids that grow larger year after year.
- It’s natural and gentle: The standard orchid fertilizer ratio is diluted, so it’s safe to use at every watering without burning your orchid’s roots.
- It works with many orchid varieties: Premium Orchid Food is compatible with many indoor varieties, including phalaenopsis, epidendrum, Miltonia, cattleya, vanda, cymbidium, and oncidium.
For best results, simply use Premium Orchid Food every time you water. Then sit back and watch your orchid’s blooms explode.