Care of Orchids: Fertilizing 101

Everything You Need To Know About Orchid Fertilizer…

When orchids are grown in the wild, they are able to acquire nutrients in their environment from whatever crosses their path of growth. They can gain nutrients from a number of things, including but not limited to, animal feces; decomposing animals, leaves, and vegetation; or minerals provided to them through the rain. Since your orchid is going to be growing indoors, it is important to be able to provide those much needed nutrients for healthy and productive orchid growth. You can help take care of orchids by feeding them fertilizers.

It is important to note that if your orchid is in poor health, applying fertilizers won’t help the problem, but will just make it worse. If the plant isn’t functioning properly then the fertilizer will just build-up in the potting material. Fertilizer that becomes built-up can dehydrate the plant and further harm the orchid.


Care of OrchidsYou should only use only fertilizer that is specifically made for orchids. Commercial orchid fertilizer is made up of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), along with small amounts of other elements such as iron, sodium, and copper. Potassium is responsible for the overall growth of the plant. If you orchid does not get enough potassium then this could stunt the growth of your orchid and it will never reach its full potential. Phosphorous is responsible for the flower production and the growth of the roots. If your orchid does not receive enough phosphorous then it could affect the roots and stunt their growth. Other signs of a lack of phosphorus are leaves that turn a dark green color and an absence of flowers being produced from your orchid. Nitrogen is responsible for healthy stem and leaf growth. If you orchid receives too much nitrogen then this could cause your orchid to grow too large and can also delay the flowering process.

Potting Medium

The ingredients in orchid fertilizer are mixed with different combinations depending on the variety of orchid you have as well as the type of potting medium you have used. For example, if you have used bark as a potting medium, over time the bark begins to be decayed by bacteria that use a great deal of nitrogen in the break-down process, so ultimately this will leave less nitrogen for the plant to absorb. This means that an orchid with bark as a potting medium would need a fertilizer with extra nitrogen as opposed to an orchid with a different type of potting medium. The combinations are reflective of the three main ingredients as mentioned above. The combination, for example, might be 10-20-20 which would reflect the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. The most important thing to remember when picking out a fertilizer is to keep in mind your potting medium so that you can identify the correct combination of fertilizer ingredients.

Types of Fertilizers

There are an abundant number of orchid fertilizers on the market in different forms such as granule, slow-release, and also water-soluble. Granule fertilizer and slow-release fertilizer are both applied directly on the potting medium, although you have to be careful with these because both can burn roots. Slow-release is a little more pricey than the granule, although it will last a little longer. Water-soluble fertilizer must be diluted in water according to the directions on the label. It is an affordable option and also very easy to apply.

Orchids can grow with just regular watering, but for the best results and blooms, regular fertilizing can make all the difference. Taking care of orchids with regular fertilizing is an important step in maintaining a healthy and vibrant orchid.

Next Steps: Where do you go from here?

A couple options:

#1 – More Free Orchid Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your Orchids right away…

#2 – Get Access to ALL My Orchid Articles…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about orchid care (and caring for ALL types of orchids) we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.

The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.

The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.

Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!

(By the way, this link here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))

All my best,


Ryan “The Orchid Guy” :-)

IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.

It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! :-)

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