Hello: I was reading about KelPMax as a supplement. Can anyone let me know if they recommend it. What have you experienced with your plants and what type of plants you used it on. I have phals., paphs, oncidium.
I am the seller of KelpMax, but don’t assume I’m just hawking it. You can read more at my website, but here’s a short summary:
After years of using synthetic hormone products, I started researching natural stimulants and came across the manufacturer of KelpMax, who gave me the name of their US wholesale distributor. He sent me a sample. (The product has been used for decades on food crops, fruits, nuts, flower, grain, shrubs and turf, and is backed by tons of university and field-generated data). I contacted the manufacturer to ask about its use on orchids. They had no idea, but recommended a trial regimen.
Then I got concerned about trying it on my precious orchids, so decided to use my tropical houseplants as “guinea pigs”. I watered them twice with a 1 tablespoon/gallon solution. A few weeks later, the dracaenas started new growths from the base, and started branching. The aglaonemas as (Chinese evergreens) bloomed, as did a spathyphyllum that had not done so in 15 years. Hmmmm….let’s try it on the orchids.
Back then, I grew a lot of vandas in my greenhouse. When the weather warmed up in the late spring, they “woke up” and started new growth, including the emergence of (typically) about a half-dozen new roots. After two consecutive waterings with KelpMax at that same concentration, the average that year was 40.
In addition to root-growth stimulation, KelpMax stimulates overall growth and seems to accelerate the branching of sympodial plants and activates dormant meristematic tissues.
I use it on all of my orchids, by bedding plants, houseplants, herbs, vegetables and my sole fig tree. I sell a lot to folks laying sod and planting shrubs, as it gets them established much more quickly. Here are some impatiens plants my wife planted this spring and what they looked like 8 weeks later. KelpMax was applied at planting and again 2 weeks and 6 weeks later.
Ray, when I first became a user years ago I focused on the auxin content as a rooting stimulator as you showed with the Vandas. I tended to use KelpMax during the time of year when I thought rooting would occur (mostly spring and summer) and backed off in autumn and winter. However, I think the complexity of KelpMax and what you are describing supports it as a support for more aspects of growth than just rooting so I am using it more months than I used to. I know that excessive KelpMax may produce some flower abnormalities but what does your experience tell you about KelpMax and inflorescence induction? Do you and other experienced users apply KelpMax once a month throughout the whole year, including the cool period when growth is slowed?
Terry, My initial readings on the product suggested that the auxins were the primary stimulant, but later studies have indicated that the degree of growth stimulation is far beyond what that level of auxins would be expected to do. Later research suggests that all of the various proteins, polysaccharides, amino acids, vitamins and other plant growth regulators act as what I refer to as a “short-cut” stimulant. That is, KelpMax provides the plant with many of the same chemicals that it would produce for itself, thereby “short-cutting” the need for the plant to expend its own resources to produce them for itself. That leaves the plant with excess resources it can dedicate to faster growth, more and bigger flowers, etc.
I have seen a direct relationship between its application and root growth , plant growth, and vegetative branching, but I have not seen a similar correlation with flowering. Unless there is an environmental trigger to be considered, I think flowering is a matter of “when it’s ready”, i.e., when it has built up enough reserves to be able to afford to expend them on reproduction.
I typically recommend using it at one tablespoon per gallon, monthly, but have done double the frequency and double the dosage if I really want to “kick start” growth. The manufacturer’s technical director is an orchid grower, and he and several in his orchid society have experimented with a 1:100 dosage (as opposed to my 1:250), and have been very pleased with the result.
There have been no reports of flower deformation with overdosing KelpMax, unlike synthetic auxins.
i use it on Phrag seedlings year round at double strength and double frequency... (of course i miss a few doses... but that's just age setting in) i have great growth and rooting experience...
on the rest of my collection (vandas, mounted phals, aerangis, cat alliance, tol, coel, Ddc) i use it at Ray's recommended dosage and frequency... just part of my natural routine.
i will say that anecdotally this past season, i may have forgotten where i was in that sequence, and thinking that some multifloral paph seedlings (NDS) were not going to flower this year... hit them in the every other week sequence a few times...
and darned if a few didn't just flower after all...
and yes the first few flowers on the inflorescence were malformed ... but the final flower(s) were perfect...
i call that anecdotal because the malformation may have had nothing to do with the kelpmax overload... but i found it an interesting coincidence