Fertilizing Cypripediums

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greenthumbguru

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Does anyone have advice on fertilizing Cyps such as Cyp. Kentuckiense, Cyp. Acaule, Cyp Pubescens and Cyp. Reginae, ? Mine are doing OK, but I think they would benefit with a little supplementation. I've heard using slow release pellets like Osmocote in the spring before or right as the buds break ground is best. But I've also heard not to even try to fertilize Cyp. Acaule.
So is there a trick to this? A specific NPK ratio that's best? A specific time frame to fertilize or just fertilize once a month - every 2 months or 3? Is it best not to even try to fertilize species, just fertilize hybrids?
I know I'm throwing a lot of questions out there, but members here have probably tested and tried everything and have found what works best. I'd rather hear it from experienced growers than my local nursery (who's trying to sell me something).
Thanks in advance!
 

Ray

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I grew a a couple of hybrids in semi-hydroponic culture, and they did quite well with 25 ppm N K-Lite (12-1-1-10CA-3Mg).
 

greenthumbguru

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Thanks Ray!! I did a little Google searching as well and it seems that several growers use either slow release pellets like Osmocote (using one supplemented with additional micro nutrient elements) applied right before the bud breaks ground in the Spring or Peter's 20-20-20 at 1/4 strength every 1 to 2 weeks when the bud breaks ground to after if finishes blooming. They additionally encourage adding lime - dolomite or crushed oyster shell for several types of Cyps that are Calcium lovers like Cyp. Reginae. One grower - Great Lakes Orchids recommends not fertilizing Cyp. Acaule at all. I guess Cyp Acaule thrives in mineral deficient soil. Has anyone fertilized Cyp Acaule with positive effects?
 

Linus_Cello

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Frosch apparently suggest slow release:

From: M. Weinert - Frosch Cyps <info@cypripedium.de>
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 4:23 PM
Subject: Garden orchids - fertilize now

Dear garden orchid lovers,



I would like to point out that it is important to fertilize your Frosch® lady's slipper hybrids now, a few weeks before they start growing. Otherwise the plants will not grow as vigorously as they could. A doubling of the number of shoots every year should not be unusual.



Use any granulated commercial garden fertilizer regularly in spring; best are those with a long-term effect. Apply the same quantity as for other perennials too. After flowering the need for nutrients is low, but at the beginning of the growth season the need is high. Compost is not recommended. Orchid fertilizers do not contain enough nutrients.



Leaves should always be bright green. A yellowish green indicates a nutrient deficiency or too much sun. Here you find a good example of suppressed flower buds and yellowish green leaves due to nutrient deficiency: www.ladyslipper.de/101/Nutrient_deficiency.pdf



Further information, nice photos and informative videos can be found at www.ladyslipper.de.





Happy gardening!

Michael Weinert, Frosch® Exclusive Perennials
 

greenthumbguru

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Frosch apparently suggest slow release:

From: M. Weinert - Frosch Cyps <info@cypripedium.de>
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 4:23 PM
Subject: Garden orchids - fertilize now

Dear garden orchid lovers,



I would like to point out that it is important to fertilize your Frosch® lady's slipper hybrids now

Thanks for your reply Linus!
I did find that during my Google search, but he specifically makes reference to "Frosch hybrids".
I'm trying to ascertain whether his recommendation applies the same fertilizing regime to Cypripediums across the board - especially the species that I've mentioned previously - specifically Cyp. Acaule which so far I have only one source - Great Lakes Orchids - saying not to fertilize it at all.
As we all know, what's good for one Cyp may not be so good for another.
Here on Slippertalk, there are experienced growers who have survived trial and error and can elaborate on those experiences. That's what I'm trying to tap into- like Ray who was very specific on what he used and how much.
I'm wondering if some have used 'natural fertilizers' (compost tea made with worm castings, etc.) with good success, but wonder if they water with this fertilizer each watering or every other watering or once a month. If they use commercial fertilizers - which ones do they use, what mix ratio, how often, etc..
Growing Cyps is not an inexpensive hobby and if I can avoid making mistakes I'm going to try. So here I am.....trying
 

Duck Slipper

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View attachment 19639 Cypripedium Sabine
This is a three year old plant, and has actually surprised me this year. The first year it bloomed with multiple growths. Last year 2 growths, This year six growths. The only difference in care is that, I’ve read they need to be fertilized, but are so sensitive to over fertilization, that I have probably under fertilized. So, Last year I started fertilizing every watering at 1/4 teaspoon/gallon of “First Rays K-lite” at most watering, just like all my other orchids.
 

Duck Slipper

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Cypripedium pubescens
Along with the Sabine, this pubescens surprised me also...It didn’t come up last year! I have read that they can sometimes skip a year and it makes no sense to me. I have actually seen ginseng skip a year...but this was a pleasant surprise. Of the different Cyps. I planted 3 years ago, and mostly species Sabine and Pubescens are the only survivors. Even 3 separate plants of kentuckiense did not make it, and they are native here. These plants aren’t a stick em in the ground and they grow.
FFAD5FDE-7EB3-4BED-AD7D-58C49DCF471B.jpeg
 

Duck Slipper

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Sorry, didn’t mean to hijack someone’s post...I tried to delete and start a new thread, but couldn’t delete. I was reading this thread and just started typing
 
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View attachment 19639 Cypripedium Sabine
This is a three year old plant, and has actually surprised me this year. The first year it bloomed with multiple growths. Last year 2 growths, This year six growths. The only difference in care is that, I’ve read they need to be fertilized, but are so sensitive to over fertilization, that I have probably under fertilized. So, Last year I started fertilizing every watering at 1/4 teaspoon/gallon of “First Rays K-lite” at most watering, just like all my other orchids.
The myth of sensitivity to fertilizer has been handed down over the years from some misguided person through many descendent authors who just cut and paste since they don't actually keep the plants. I fertilize my Cyps exuberantly and the more fertilizer they get the more lush they become. Over the years I have figured out how much I can get away with to have happy plants without a thick mat of algae covering the medium. The plants actually seem to enjoy algae mats but they are unsightly so I try to keep them from forming.

You are seeing the good results from your fertilization last year. Keep on and that Sabine will become very large.
 

monocotman

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Agreed. I give my hybrids growing in pots full rate general plant food, the powdered food you buy in the shops.do not fertilise at epiphytes orchids rates, these are way too low. Remember these plants are terrestrials.
David
 

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