LifestyleSpringtime fertilization of orchids: Homemade solutions outperform store-bought

Springtime fertilization of orchids: Homemade solutions outperform store-bought

We fertilize orchids from spring.
We fertilize orchids from spring.
Images source: © Adobe Stock

3:55 PM EST, February 7, 2024, updated: 4:01 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Orchids are among the most popular houseplants. Their upkeep isn't tricky, but it's crucial to remember a few rules, chief among them being proper fertilization.

Remember This When Fertilizing Orchids

Orchids shouldn't be fertilized during the winter, as they enter a state akin to "dormancy" during that time. Given that there's less sunlight, photosynthesis slows down and thus the plant can't absorb nutrients entirely.

We usually start to fertilize orchids with the advent of spring, preferably from late March to early April. Store-bought concoctions and fertilizers we find in garden centers can certainly be used, but homemade fertilizers work just as effectively. Not only are they more economical, but they're also environmentally friendly and natural.

Homegrown Methods to Fertilize Orchids

It's easy to prepare homemade fertilizers for orchids. One option is to use banana peels, which are packed with phosphorus, calcium, and potassium—essentials for your orchids.

There's a bevy of methods to prepare this kind of fertilizer. One is to put a few peels in a jar, fill it with water, and after a few days, water the orchids with the mixture. You could also try powdered fertilizer. For this, you need to dry the peels in the sun or in an oven, then grind them into dust using a mortar or a mill before pouring it into a pot. A teaspoon per month will suffice. Even tiny pieces of peel combined with the substrate will do the trick.

Orchids are also partial to garlic fertilizer. Boil three garlic cloves in a quart of water, and once the infusion cools down, water the plant with it. You can either pour it directly into the ground or submerge the pot in a larger container filled with the fertilizer for thirty minutes.

Beer fertilizer can work wonders, too. Simply add a small amount of light beer to the water you use for your orchids. The ratio should be roughly 1:25.

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