If you stop for a second and think of the prettiest flower you have ever seen orchids will most likely be on top of your mind.
Orchids belong to the biggest family of flowers in the world, and the fact that this group comprises more than 30,000 species and more than 200,000 hybrids is mind-blowing.
This gorgeous plant is extremely adaptable and can grow in almost any part of the world which is great news for anyone looking to grow it!
However, to increase the likelihood of growing a beautiful orchid in your home you should definitely use some kind of fertilizer. You are about to see the list of the best 8 ones I found.
8 Best Fertilizer for Orchids
After years of testing, I can surely tell the difference between a good fertilizer and the one that brings nothing on the table. With that being said, here are 8 best fertilizers for orchids that will make your garden greenish and lush.
1. Better Gro Orchid
If you are reading this, I am pretty sure you wish to take the best possible care of your lovely orchid and give it as many nutrients as it needs. Sun Bulb Company has created this Better Gro Orchid Fertilizer to help you in this pursuit.
This product contains high amounts of phosphorus, just like orchids love it. With this amount, your plants will be encouraged to flower, and not only that, but the flowers will be larger than they would in an un-fed orchid and with much brighter colors.
Since this fertilizer was formulated by professional growers who know exactly what orchids need and like, you can rest assured that it will bring them lots of benefits.
It can be used for plants growing outside in your backyard or inside, even in greenhouses where they show great results.
Opposite to other plants’ fertilizers that are used only a few times a year, this Better Gro food is supposed to be applied during every 4th watering.
It comes as a concentrate that needs to be diluted by adding one teaspoon of fertilizer in a gallon of water. As you water your plant with it, make sure to soak the roots and also poor some of the foliage, letting the whole plant bath in it.
Besides the above-mentioned crucial elements Nitrate, Potassium and Phosphorus it also offers other ones such as Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, and Molybdenum.
- Quite rich with potassium
- It also offers other quite important elements for your plant’s quality growth
- Affordable and long-lasting
- It may take longer for it to give results
If you wish to offer proper nutrition to your orchid and health and beautiful flowers along with it, then this Sun Bulb Company – Better Gro is a great choice for you!
2. Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Spikes
Spikes are a great way to fertilize your plants without having to think too much about the process, nor put much effort into it. Miracle-Gro is a very famous and high-quality brand that creates fertilizers for dozens of plants quite successfully.
These spikes are pre-measured and ready for you to drive them into the ground and wait for them to start working. They will assist in several ways: by aiding the development of new shoots, growth of healthy green leaves, nurturing the older ones, and promoting blooming.
It is made precisely for orchids with balanced levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in the 30-10-10 ratio that these plants require. This balance offers sufficient elements in a very easy, reasonably quick and affordable way.
In case you are grooming other acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias, etc then this fertilizer will be an even better choice for you since it is made for these species as well.
It is important to know that these spikes should be used only when the orchid is in a state of active growth (whenever you see new shoots or leaves appearing).
First, you should cut the spike in two parts, insert it into the mix and distribute it evenly from the plant towards the edge of the pot.
This should be done every two months during the growing season (March to September), while the dosage should be reduced by half in winter (October to February). These seasons do, however vary from region to region.
- Pre-measured, very easy to use method
- Well balanced 30-10-10 element ratio
- Suitable for other acid-loving plants
- The dosage can be too strong, thus I would suggest that you apply less of it than instructed in the beginning
If you are looking for a very simple and affordable way of fertilizing your orchids that is well balanced and also good for other various plants, that you found your product.
3. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Orchid Food
Miracle-Gro is one of the best companies in the US that sells hundreds of products for gardening to professionals and amateurs who love growing their plants.
It is no wonder then that another product on the list belongs to this brand.
We are talking about soluble food that is pretty much another food shape from the above-mentioned orchid spikes. It is used by mixing it with water by adding ¼ teaspoon in a gallon of water during watering. ¼ teaspoon is used for indoor plants.
1 tablespoon is used for outdoor plants since they need more nutrients because they also get absorbed by the ground and other plants.
As you water your orchid, or other acid-loving plants make sure to water the roots only, without showering their stem, leaves, and flowers.
Larger dosage is used during the active period in spring and summer, every two weeks and a smaller one in winter and fall, once per month.
By following the instructions carefully, you will help your orchid grow stronger and have longer roots, a stronger stem and larger and brighter flowers.
- Easy to prepare and apply
- Offers much-needed nutrients
- Makes the blooming process much faster
- It tends to be too strong for the first-time-fed orchids, thus it is better to use a bit less than instructed
No matter if you stick with spikes, or wish to give this soluble Miracle-Gro plant food a chance, your orchids and other suitable plants will be thankful and quite healthy and happy.
4. rePotme Orchid Food – Feed ME! MSU Fertilizer
Repotme Orchid Food is another fantastic product that I used for several years for my orchids and have always been very satisfied with.
This is a very good fertilizer that is free from urea. If you are wondering if urea is bad, then the answer is a yes for orchids.
This is because urea contains nitrogen, but it is not in the form that plants can use right away and they have to convert it into that form first. Since orchids don’t grow in soil in most cases, this conversion is complicated and takes a lot of time.
This fertilizer has the best effect when used with reverse osmosis, which pretty much means with filtered or distilled water, rainwater, or tap water, but it should be low in alkalinity.
It is applied by mixing ¾ teaspoon with a gallon of water and watering the plant. This product is also great because an 8-ounce container gives you around 64 ounces of liquid fertilizer.
Repotme received hundreds of best grades and its customers are amazed by the results in a majority of the cases which says enough.
- It was developed at Michigan State University and has been highly popular since its publishing in 2013
- It doesn’t contain any urea
- Gives better results than advertised according to many users
- None so far
If you wish to provide high-quality urea free food for your orchid that was deeply and carefully tested at a university and brought amazing results to thousands of people, then you should choose this fertilizer.
5. Orchid Love- The World’s Greatest Orchid Food!
This fertilizer came to be thanks to one lady who created the mix on her own and then shared it with her friends, family, and other locals.
No one was able to understand what she did to her orchids to make them bloom every single time as if a true professional was taking care of them. This is how the company GS Plant Foods was born.
This food comes as a concentrate in a 32oz or 1-gallon bottle and the first option will provide you with 16-32 gallons of diluted ready-to-use fertilizer.
It will help them bloom every single time with beautiful and vibrant flowers contrary to unfed orchids.
Orchid Love fertilizer contains 1.19% Nitrogen, 1.06% Phosphorus and 0.39% Potassium.
If your orchid is in a smaller pot is enough to take one tablespoon and mix with ¼ gallon each week while you water the plants, but skip every 3rd or 4th week. If you usually use a gallon of water, two tablespoons of this fertilizer are enough.
Orchid growers are very satisfied with this plant food, both professionals and amateurs, as their orchids grow very fast and they see spikes and new buds showing very fast.
- Carefully and successfully developed the formula
- Very good NPK ratio for orchids
- Promotes amazing flower growth with all-natural ingredients
- Many users dislike the smell
If you wish to provide your beautiful orchid with a high-quality, locally developed plant food that will nurture it with much-needed elements, then this fertilizer is a very good choice for you!
6. Miracle-Gro Ready-To-Use Orchid Plant Food Mist
Well, well, well, here we have another Miracle-Gro, another member of this amazing company that has some of the highest grades, 4.9/5 stars on Amazon!
This is another form in which you can get an orchid fertilizer – mist. It is an amazing product, because most of the fertilizers aren’t supposed to be applied on stems, leaves, and flowers, but not this one.
This mist can be applied all over the plant except the flowers, without being afraid of applying it incorrectly or burning the tender parts of your plant.
Feel free to spray your orchid once a week, since it will provide enough food for that certain period. This Miracle-Gro spray is sold in an 8oz bottle, that will last a very long time (unless you have lots of orchids).
This fabulous mist has a very good NPK ratio: 02-02-02 and does wonders for these beautiful plants, as they become lush, grow gorgeous flowers and become stronger. Many customers are very satisfied with it, giving it a 4.9/5 grade.
- Very easy to use and quite affordable
- Well balanced NPK ratio
- Long-lasting product
- Doesn’t have any specific flaws
If you are tired of using granules, spikes or from diluting your fertilizer, then this mist is great news for you! Nothing more is expected from you than to spray your plants all over once a week and sit back and relax!
7. Orchid Myst. Professional Spray feed for Orchids
Here is another mist that I simply need to recommend for all of you, passionate orchid growers! Like the previous one, this Orchid Myst is an amazing product that will allow your beautiful plants to reach their full potential and grow gorgeous, vibrant flowers.
Your orchids probably wouldn’t be able to reach it otherwise, on their own, especially if you’ve just started your plant-care journey.
This formula is made especially to help plants grow flowers that will last longer and decorate your living outdoor space. It is used by many professionals, especially those who take part in display competitions.
Not only that you will enjoy amazing flowers, but your plant will enjoy much-needed mineral and organic nutrients.
If you decide to use a mist, you will allow your plant to feed in a way that is the most similar to the way it does it in nature – by absorbing mist via exposed roots or by absorbing tiny water flows via its stem and leaves.
This is, as you may imagine, also the fastest way to fertilize your plant as spraying all over the plant, without having to skip anything but flowers is quite simple and convenient.
- Fertilization like in the original habitatOverall good quality
- Fast, simple and affordable
- Long-lasting and vibrant flowers
- Some people couldn’t see the results even after longer application
If you wish to offer your plants much joy with the product that used to be used by professionals only then this is the right one to choose. Using a mist is fun, easy and quite effective as it resembles a way of feeding that orchids go though in nature.
8. Grow More 5119 Orchid Food 30-10-10, 15 oz
This “Grow More” fertilizer is an amazing product if you grow various orchids’ species and don’t wish to keep all kinds of jars and packages at your home. This all-purpose food is thus the perfect choice and makes feeding more plants quite easy and simple.
Even though this fertilizer is for any orchid, it works especially well if you have an epiphytic one or the ones that have more-or-less exposed root systems. Also, if you keep the plants in a potting mix, this food will provide sufficient nutrients.
It has a 30-10-10 nitrogen-potassium-phosphorus mix that provides each orchid with just enough of these elements. It is also recommended if you wish to offer a slagged release to your plant as it has several sources of nitrogen.
This orchid fertilizer consists of many small granules that need to be dissolved in water. Each gallon of water should contain one tablespoon of this product that should be applied every 10-14 days.
If you read reviews of this product online you will see that it has an amazing grade and that so many people are satisfied with it.
- Several sources of nitrogen
- Quite helpful with epiphytic orchids and the ones with exposed root systems
- Fit for any possible kind of orchids
- Some users complained that it burned their orchids’ roots
If you prefer to use a fertilizer in a form of granules that easily dissolve in water and help you feed your plants with an equal balance of the most important nutrients then you should give this “Grow More” fertilizer a chance.
Orchids Nutritive Requirements
With its thousands of different kinds, this gorgeous plant can grow pretty much anywhere in the world, from tropical and extremely humid regions to regions with a moderate and cooler climate.
What is even more interesting is the fact that orchids are often found growing on other plants in nature, such as on barks of various trees, instead of the ground.
As this high adaptability makes a great trait of this plant it also shows that it can grow anywhere and get used to various growing conditions.
Thus, if you are interested in purchasing one, feel free to dive into that adventure, as your orchid won’t need much care. There are only two things to keep in mind: Please look for one that is best suitable for given circumstances (your home, garden, pot size, climate, humidity, amount of sunlight, etc) and find the best fertilizer.
The most important nutrients that fertilizer can provide for the plant since it can’t do it on its own are:
- Potassium – the second most important element for a plant since it is the key ingredient in ATP generation. ATP is the molecule that serves as the main source of energy for almost every process in a plant.
- Phosphorus – crucial for the growth of plants; that is the growth of their cells and new tissue. It is also another key ingredient of an ATP molecule.
- Nitrogen – one of the crucial elements of an orchid as it is located in a chlorophyll molecule that is active in the process of photosynthesis. This is the process through which every plant creates food for itself.
Besides these elements, there is a whole variety of other ones that are quite important for plants in their way and in different domains- however that won’t be the focus of this article.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that plants often cannot produce every element or as much as it is necessary and that is where fertilizers come into play.
By using them you can help your plant grow stronger, be more lush with healthy leaves and most importantly – beautiful and vivid flowers.
What Does a Fertilizer Do?
The best way to describe a fertilizer is to compare it to a “vitamin boost”.
Just like humans take vitamins and other supplements because they can’t obtain them with every-day meals (or meals take too long to prepare), plants take them via the fertilization process.
Orchids are gorgeous plants, but they do require some work and time to reach their full potential and grow their gorgeous flowers.
The most important ingredients that you will find in each product are potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus that are crucial for this plant’s growth, strength, and beauty.
They are written like “20-20-20” for example and each number tells you in what amount each element is found in the mix.
If all numbers are the same, then you are looking at a balanced mix and if the mix is “complete” that it means that all three elements are present.
Your fertilizer should hold nitrogen, but without any urea nitrogen, as urea takes too much work to be broken down and to release the nitrogen form that orchids can use.
If the fertilizer you chose has some additional elements, such as magnesium, calcium, etc it is a good idea to use it, as these elements provide additional benefit to your plants.
How Should You Fertilize Your Orchids?
No matter what kind of fertilizer you use – granules, mist, spikes, liquid, etc, you should be careful, read the instructions carefully and keep in mind that many orchids behave differently.
Anything from a potting mix, previous care, the present condition, and other elements can cause a different outcome.
Most of the formulas are concentrated and mixed with water and poured onto the soil and on the roots afterward. These usually shouldn’t come in contact with the stem and leaves, as they can get burnt.
Mists are quite “harmless” since you can spray them all over the plant, except the flowers, which makes this method quite easy.
The option that the majority of people also use, or have at least tried are the spikes that are filled with a pre-measured formula and driven into the ground around the plant.
How Often Should You Fertilize Your Orchids?
When it comes to fertilization frequency people tend to go two ways: Some say that they should be fertilized less but in large amounts, and some that it should be done once a week, but weakly.
The truth is that these plants aren’t able to get a huge amount of nutrients in nature, and can be shocked if you give it to them, causing even fatal results.
Thus, orchid fertilization should be done modestly and you could even apply a smaller amount than instructed and observe how it affects the plant.
For example, if you’ve purchased a concentrate that instructs to use a tablespoon per one gallon, feel free to use ½ first. Afterward, you can experiment and add more to get better results.
One crucial thing that you need to be careful with is to not over-feed your plants, as they can die (believe it or not).
If you’ve found the right amount that creates great results for your orchid, then please don’t try to add much more ad wish to see even greater ones.
There is only so much fertilizer that your plant can absorb.
When Is The Best Time of The Year For Fertilization?
There is additional important information and it is when you should fertilize your orchid. I know that some of you might be wondering why that is.
The answer is quite simple – orchids go through two periods every year and those are a growing and dormant period.
This period lasts from early spring until fall (March through October) and this is the time when the majority of plants blooms and starts growing rapidly. This period isn’t necessarily the same for every orchid species since they grow in quite different parts of the world.
However, the growing process is the same for each one of them. At that point, they need larger amounts of nutrients, because they “wake up” from the dormant phase and are about to start growing their cells, tissues, roots, leaves and flowers.
If you use granules or concentrate I would recommend that you fertilize your orchids once a week and make a pause every third week.
The dormant period starts in the fall and lasts until the spring (whenever those two seasons begin and end), but the main characteristic is that every orchid becomes dormant and all of its internal processes naturally slow down.
It stops growing as rapidly, it doesn’t bloom and doesn’t require as much food. This is why you shouldn’t fertilize your orchid as often as you would during the growing period.
If you fertilize them every week, then you should do it every other week during this period.
Fertilization during a Blooming Period
When your orchid starts blooming you might start wondering if it needs as much fertilizer as before it started this process.
The answer is no because the growing process is not occurring anymore, as blooms are the last parts of the plant that show up.
Before them, all of the leaves have already grown, along with the roots, and the majority of the growth has already happened. This is why you could fertilize your plants only twice a month.
When you see leaves wilting and falling off, it is the sign that the dormant period is near and that your orchid is getting ready for its “winter sleep”.
After this point, you can slow down with fertilization and start doing it only once every few weeks.
My dear readers, I truly hope that you found this article to be helpful and filled with useful information about the best orchid fertilizers, as well as other practices and advices.
Orchids are gorgeous plants that will give much beauty to your home, workspace or any other space where you spend time and they don’t need much of your time and effort.
You need to be careful with giving these beautiful plants enough sunlight and water and of course fertilizer.
Please keep in mind information that I mentioned above, and that is that you should read the instructions carefully and feel free to experiment with smaller amounts in the beginning.
I hope this process will bring you lots of fun and joy!