Max is all about embracing the bold, beautiful blooms on your orchid, but blooms fall and then it’s a waiting game for them to come back.  One way to keep your orchid living its best life is by fertilizing. Fertilizing orchids regularly provides them with the nutrients they need for optimal health and vigorous blooming. 

Just as the leaves fall from the trees and animals begin to hibernate this time of year, your orchid will go through a period of dormancy. If its flowers have fallen, this is the perfect time to replenish its nutrients by applying fertilizer. 

Here's what you need to know about how to fertilize orchids. 

Why Do Orchids Need Fertilizer? 

Most plants obtain the nutrients and moisture they need from the soil. Because Phalaenopsis orchids naturally grow on trees, they trap wind-blown plant matter, grains of soil, mineral flakes, and other nutrients between their roots where they can be absorbed by the plant. 

When we bring orchids into our homes, we remove them from the natural environment that nourishes them. The mixtures of fir bark, sphagnum moss, cork, peat moss, and other materials in which commercially-grown Phalaenopsis orchids are generally potted provide some minimal nutrition as they break down, but hardly enough to provide the plant with the nutrient boost it needs to generate new growth and flowers. 

When Should You Fertilize Orchids? 

Experts recommend fertilizing Phalaenopsis orchids once every other week or at least once a month -- after its blooms have dropped. Fertilizing while your orchid is in bloom can cause premature bloom loss. During dormancy, the fertilizer helps your orchid store energy for a new stem and blooms. 

How Should You Fertilize Orchids?

Fertilize your orchid with a 20-20-20 NPK plant fertilizer. This means the fertilizer is 20% Nitrogen, 20% Phosphorous, and 20% Potassium. Follow the package instructions to mix the fertilizer with water for a solution, and then dilute to half strength with additional water.

Remove your orchid in its plastic grower pot from the decorative pot and place it over the sink. Pour the fertilizer solution over the roots of the plant and let it drain well before placing back in the decorative pot. 

You don’t need to water on the weeks that you fertilize because the water in the fertilizer solution will hydrate the plant.

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