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KateL

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Yesterday evening, at a meeting on a somewhat different topic, someone mentioned the use of silica products on orchids. It was reportedly used to attempt to improve flower substance and sturdiness of the plants in general. Has anyone here tried this with slipper orchids? Does it work? Any problems? Thanks.
 

tomkalina

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The only thing I've heard of that contains silica is called Dyna-Grow Pro-Tekt. I think it's supposed to increase cell wall strength.
 

KateL

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The only thing I've heard of that contains silica is called Dyna-Grow Pro-Tekt. I think it's supposed to increase cell wall strength.
Thanks Tom!
That was mentioned. The concept is appealing. I just don’t know anyone who has use it.
 

Ray

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The product most often used is potassium silicate (not silica - that’s sand, and is not soluble).

I used to be a retailer of Dyna-Gro products, and used their fertilizer on my entire collection. When I first started using RO water, I found that adding D-G “Grow” formula caused the pH to plummet, so I used Pro-teKt to adjust it back.

I did that for about 2 years and noticed absolutely no difference in my plants.

Silicon certainly has its benefits in plants, but my take it that the demand is so low in orchids that supplementing it is unnecessary. If we grew rice, it would be a whole different matter.
 

KateL

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The product most often used is potassium silicate (not silica - that’s sand, and is not soluble).

I used to be a retailer of Dyna-Gro products, and used their fertilizer on my entire collection. When I first started using RO water, I found that adding D-G “Grow” formula caused the pH to plummet, so I used Pro-teKt to adjust it back.

I did that for about 2 years and noticed absolutely no difference in my plants.

Silicon certainly has its benefits in plants, but my take it that the demand is so low in orchids that supplementing it is unnecessary. If we grew rice, it would be a whole different matter.
Thanks Ray! I asked Roy Tokunaga, as well, and he said pretty much the same thing, rice or sugar cane might benefit, but there is no evidence that orchids do.
 

Phred

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To be honest there are dozens of studies showing that lots of plants benefit from applications of silica both as a foliar spray and as soil applications. As I understand the issue with plants like rice and bamboo revolve around the situation where a deficiency can lead to death.
I think the best product to raise the available/absorbable silica levels in your potting medium is diatomaceous earth. Orchid growers have used it for years as a natural pesticide but applications watered into the medium provide a good source of silica that can be absorbed by the roots and as far as I know there are now adverse effects. If your plant needs it it’s available.
 

Phred

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Thanks Ray! I asked Roy Tokunaga, as well, and he said pretty much the same thing, rice or sugar cane might benefit, but there is no evidence that orchids do.
Hi KateL
So far not many nutrition studies involving orchids have been done. Not much funding out there for this kind of stuff compared to food crops and other ornamentals. Here’s one study on silica and Phalaenopsis:

 
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Ray

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I think the best product to raise the available/absorbable silica levels in your potting medium is diatomaceous earth. Orchid growers have used it for years as a natural pesticide but applications watered into the medium provide a good source of silica that can be absorbed by the roots and as far as I know there are now adverse effects. If your plant needs it it’s available.
I have a really hard time accepting that. (Remember that I'm a ceramic engineer with Corning Glass experience...)
Diatomaceous earth is almost pure SiO2, which is pretty much insoluble in all but very basic solutions. That's why beaches are SiO2 sand - everything else has been dissolved away, but it hasn't.
 

Junglejewel

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I use 12-16 mess silica in a lot of my mixes. They do really well.
 

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