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wilbeck

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I have been fertilizing my paphs about every two weks with a weak solution (currently of Hauserman's Fertilaide Fertilizer liquid 15-5-5). Unless they are in bloom or spike. I use mostly dehumidifier water, with the occasional drink of local tap water, which is pretty hard. Prior to using the Hauserman's liquid fertilizer, I was using dilute (quarter-strength) Peter's balanced fertilizer. Copuld I be doing better? I haven't killed anything yet. Should I be fertilizing while the plants are blooming? Thanks for any advice.
 

bwester

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I use 150ppm MSU fertilizer every time I water, but I grow in S/H so they are always in it.
 

Heather

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I fertilize all my plants 3 of every 4 waterings. Usually I flush the plant with plain water first, and then again with water with 150 ppm of MSU fertilizer (and a little protekt and KLN in the mix). My plants are grown semi-hydroponically.
 

Rick

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This is a question that will be all over the board.

Presently I don't do semi-hydro (well maybe for a few phrags unofficially).

I use the 1/2 strength MSU fertilizer + superthrive + enough proteckt to increase the pH to 6.5 to 7.5 in RO water.

I fertilize 1 X per week, which is 1 out 3-5 waterings for potted orchids and 1 out of 7 waterings for mounted orchids. All other waterings are with RO water.
 

aquacorps

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Heather, is the 150 PPM nitrogen or the TDS of the MSU fertilizer? Rusty
 
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patrix

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I read that Venustrums aren't calcerous (sp?) species, does that me I shoudl not use cal-mag?
 

Rick

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patrix said:
I read that Venustrums aren't calcerous (sp?) species, does that me I shoudl not use cal-mag?
No all plants need some calcium. But I would not put them in a potting mix that keeps the pH in the mid 7's or higher. (This would be done with the addition of lime or oyster shell and the like).
 

likespaphs

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i've noted which of my paphs are big on calcium and fertilize on one of every three or four ferts with cal mag

i've always wondered if you cross one that likes calcium and one that doesn't, which need wins out or is it just that the need for calcium decreases?
 

Rick

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likespaphs said:
i've noted which of my paphs are big on calcium and fertilize on one of every three or four ferts with cal mag

i've always wondered if you cross one that likes calcium and one that doesn't, which need wins out or is it just that the need for calcium decreases?
I think the "need" for calcium is pretty much the same for all paphs. What varies is the pH environment that various species prefer. The term calcereous or calciolis just refers to the species preference to grow on calcium (limestone) rich substrates. Although these substrates are rich in Ca (the bioavailability is debatable) they are also strongly buffered substrates that keep pH from drifting too low, as what generally happens in more oganic (humic) substrates. The pH of the substrate drastically alters the forms and availability of macro and micro nutrients in our fertilizer mixes.

I would suggest that if you do use a calcereous addition to your potting mix, then the nitrogen source in your fertilizer mix should be primarilyfrom nitrates rather than ammonia since ammonia becomes toxic as pH goes up from the mid 7 range.
 

wilbeck

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Thanks for the advice and discussion. It appears that I should keep fertilizing while the plant is in bloom, perhaps more often, and that I need to get some MSU fertilizer. Ah, but from where? I won't be using hydroponics (semi- or whole) anytime soon. I would need to learn a lot more. Does the occasional watering with our local hard well water count for much as regards the need for calcium?
 

Rick

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I get my MSU (for RO water) from Robert's flower supply (orchidmix.com). He also carries the MSU mix for tap water. But there are other sources too.

Actually folks use all kinds of brands of fert. I just got one that works well for me, and I'm going to stick with it for a few years before I decide there is something better.
 

Rick

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NYEric said:
I dont know anything about MSU fertilizer. Can you use it in R.O. water w/out getting salt build-up?
There are two types of MSU. 1 for making up in RO water that has calcium and magnesium added, and 1 for making up in tap water that is lacking in cal mag.

The cal mag in most tap waters is fine for orchids and doesn't need to be added twice in a fert mix if not needed.

Any inorganic based fert mix has the potential for salt buildup, but if you use RO (or rain, or distilled) water as your primary source water you will tend not to build up salts.
 

SlipperFan

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wilbeck said:
... and that I need to get some MSU fertilizer. Ah, but from where?
Porter's Orchids carries both the tap/well water and the RO/rain/distilled water versions.
 

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