We should talk about orchid cactus fertilizer when taking care of them. That’s why I thought about writing on this matter as a big orchid cactus lover.
Does orchid cactus need fertilizer?
Fertilizing the orchid cactus is crucial for their flower blossoming activity. If you fail to feed them appropriately, chances are that they may not flower at all.
Ideally if you feed them monthly, it will be beneficial for the plant’s healthy growth as well. However , you should be mindful to not to use fertilizers which have a higher component of nitrogen as it could result in leggy growth of the plants.
Furthermore, you should skip feeding the plants during their dormancy too.
What fertilizer to use for orchid cactus?
A balanced orchid fertilizer of 10-10-10 would go well with these plants. It would be a good idea to feed them once a week during summer and fall so that it will stimulate the healthy growth of the plants.
However, before you use the balanced fertilizer ensure that you dilute it to a quarter teaspoon per gallon and then use it on the orchid cactus.
Orchid fertilizers are made to feed the orchid cactus just as their name depicts. They consist of three main vital macro nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and potassium and they are quite useful for the overall growth of the plants as well as to produce vigorous blooms.
You can easily identify the Nitrogen phosphorus and potassium balance on the fertilizer packages and that indicates to you on how much element contains in the plant food.
Nitrogen is vital to promote healthy foliage and to grow the stem. On the other hand, phosphorus is crucial to develop a study root system and to produce vigorous blooms.
Potassium would be effective in helping the plants to overcome the stresses and the diseases of the plants. It would be a great factor in assuring the overall health of the plants.
Besides these three main nutrients, orchid cactus soil mix has other macronutrients, beneficial microbes and even water.
Orchid cactus fertilizer requirements.
You can go ahead with a balanced fertilizer to feed the orchid cactus. Ideally one which has a ratio of 10-10-10 would be ideal.
Dilute it to quarter strength and then apply so that you will end up feeding a full doze in one month.
How often should I fertilize my orchid cactus
You can feed the orchid cactus once every two weeks during their actively growing seasons in spring through fall.
Avoid using fertilizers which have a greater component of Nitrogen as it would be harmful for the plant’s growth.
When it comes to feeding them during the end of February and October, you can go ahead with a 2-10-10 fertilizer as it will be effective in encouraging the flowering.
You need to suspend feeding the orchid cactus during winter since they will be in dormancy during winter.
How to add fertilizer to orchid cactus
You need to add fertilizers to their roots and not on the leaves as only then they can absorb the nutrients as they wish. If you apply the fertilizers on the leaves it will lead to feed burns in the plants.
As aforesaid you need to stick to aforesaid guidelines when selecting the right fertilizer type to feed the orchid cactus.
Do not feed the completely dry orchid cactus. Instead, you need to water them and then feed. Unless it would lead to feed burns.
Orchid cactus fertilizer ratio
As aforesaid you may apply a balanced fertilizer which is blended at a ratio of 10-10-10.
If you wish to use a liquid fertilizer, you can go ahead with a fertilizer which has a ratio of 5-1-0.4 and follow the guidelines as per the labelled instructions.
Indoor orchid cactus fertilizer
You can apply a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer to feed the indoor grown orchid cactus.
You need to feed them either in Summer or in fall. Even if you use those fertilizers ensure that you dilute to quarter strength and then apply.
Outdoor orchid cactus fertilizer
You may use the same fertilizer which is mentioned above to feed the outdoor grown orchid cactus which literally means a fertilizer which is blended with a ratio of 10-10-10 during their actively growing phase.
On the other hand, when you need to feed them during February, you can use a fertilizer which has a ratio of 2-10-10. That will stimulate the flower blossoming of the plants.
Liquid fertilizer for orchid cactus
You can use liquid fertilizers easily as you can straightaway use them to mist the plants. Unless you can dilute them and apply them too.
They reward the plants with faster boost in the nutrients and it will be easy for the plants roots to absorb the fertilizers too. Hence you can spot the results of the fertilizers within a short period too.
Other fertilizer for orchid cactus
Besides the aforesaid liquid fertilizers, you may use the following fertilizer types also to feed them. However, they have their own good and bad sides for both the plants and for the plant’s owners.
If you wish to have a high level of concentration , you can go ahead with a powder fertilizer. You need to dissolve them and then apply on the plants.
Granules & Pellets
You need to mix them with water and then apply on the plants. Pellets would usually come in larger parts than the natural granules.
They slowly release the nutrients, and it will ensure that there are no feed burns in the plants. You may feed them less often if you use these types of fertilizers.
If you are looking for an easy way of feeding the plants, you can use the capsules. You have the option of either mixing it to the potting medium or apply directly into the soil.
However, when you put them in the potting mix, ensure that you apply them closer to the root system though.
You can proceed with this option if you are busy and have a little time to spare on gardening.
Homemade fertilizer for orchid cactus
Homemade fertilizers would be effective for the growth of the orchid cactus. They would also supply the essential nutrients for the flower blossoming too.
Besides, it is crucial to develop healthy stems , healthy shots, foliage and healthy roots as well. There are so many options which you can go ahead with if you wish to apply homemade fertilizers.
Having said that if you wish to apply a fertilizer which has an exact balanced ratio, best would be to proceed with commercial fertilizers.
You can use the following homemade orchid fertilizers to feed them.
- Crushed dried chicken bones.
- Water that rice has been boiled in
Why do these homemade orchid fertilizer recipes help orchids?
Orchid cactus healthy growth mainly depends on the three main macronutrients ( Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus).
The aforesaid homemade fertilizers such as milk, tea, eggshells, crushed dried chicken bones, molasses consist of these nutrients. However, the plants will not get them in balanced amounts though.
Milk (contains Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium)
Your beloved orchid cactus can obtain nitrogen-built protein from the milk.
You can feed the plants by mixing one part of milk into four parts of water. Consider applying them fortnightly.
Tea (contains Nitrogen)
Tea bags would be quite handy here as they contain nitrogen. Further tea bags consist of organic matter which is nontoxic too.
Besides, it does not carry any bad smell as well. To apply it you can open it and apply them to the orchid pot. Consider applying them once a month in spring and in summer.
Potatoes (Contains Potassium and trace Phosphorous)
To apply the potatoes, you need to chop them or grate them into small pieces with skin. Before applying, ensure that you boil them for a few minutes.
You may further be tactful in adding fresh bananas and sugar into the mix also. The purpose of adding these is to increase the nutrients levels and it will help the ingredients to bind together.
Molasses (contains Potassium)
You may apply a teaspoon of molasses diluted with water to feed them too.
Crushed Dried Chicken Bones (contains Potassium and Calcium)
You could simply sprinkle the Crush dried chicken bones over the potting medium as they contain potassium and calcium.
Egg Shells (contains Calcium).
If you are looking for the cheapest way of feeding the orchid cactus, the best option would be to use eggshells.
All you need to do is to crush the eggshells into small pieces and try to make them as a powder and then apply on the plants.
If you wish you can grind them and make a powder too. If not, you can also boil eggshells in water and let them steep for about 8 hours’ time and then apply.
Next you can strain out the eggshells and store them in a covered container and use them weekly.
Epsom Salts (contains Magnesium)
If you wish to feed the orchid cactus with Magnesium, you can apply Epsom salt diluted with water. The ideal amount should be one teaspoon of salt into one gallon of water.
Water that rice has been boiled in
You may use the water you utilized to boil the rice also to feed the orchid cactus to provide the extra minerals such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin etc.
Brown rice would be a better option than the white rice as only brown rice contains the aforesaid ingredients.
However, no matter what rice type you use, ensure that you let them become cooler at room temperature and then apply.
Should I water after adding fertilizer?
If you have fed the orchid cactus with liquid fertilizer, you need to first let it wither and then water. However, if you had used granular fertilizer, you could water them as soon as you fed them.
However, you may always follow the labeled instructions on the fertilizers before watering the plants once you feed them.
To wind up, trust you found this article helpful and now that you are on how to fertilize the orchid cactus in the correct way while using both organic and chemical fertilizers. Happy cultivating with orchid cactus !
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