Orchids are mostly plants that do not grow in the ground. Then the question arises about the effectiveness of fertilization with all kinds of household products, such as coffee, milk or cut bananas. Experts say a good natural fertilizer should be water-based with no solids and well fermented for immediate absorption of nutrients. Know that it is a myth to put coffee or eggshells in your orchid jar. It will not be able to absorb these nutrients, because it is a very special flower. The natural version is much more effective and is yeast orchid fertilizer. Yeast is the most effective natural fertilizer that contains many B vitamins. The perfect balance of these substances promotes the growth of plant roots, making them stronger and easier to transplant.
What is a good natural fertilizer for orchids?
Natural fertilizing a little more complicated than simply dumping an organic substance into the soil of plants. This requires a holistic ecosystem with healthy communities of microorganisms, the right temperature, humidity and time to break down large nutrient molecules in organic matter into smaller chemical molecules before they can be absorbed by the plant’s roots. The principle of organic fertilization is to feed the soil rather than the plants. Microbes in soil can take anywhere from 3 weeks to a few months to metabolize large molecules of organic matter such as proteins into smaller molecules. But, since orchids do not grow in the soil, the way of naturally fertilizing epiphytic orchids should not be aimed at nourishing the soil for release. On the contrary, an immediate release of nutrients is required. Furthermore, what makes natural fertilization more difficult for orchid growers is the approach that most orchids are grown at home is not natural to its original habitat. This includes:
- growing potted orchids
- Growing orchids at home
- Orchids growing in a medium of moss and bark
- Rinse or soak orchids periodically to prevent salt buildup on the roots
- change the environment every 2 years to avoid rotting and root rot
Fertilizer for yeast orchids: the recipe
A good natural fertilizer suitable for growing orchids indoors should be water-based to facilitate the rapid release of nutrients. Follow these notes to prepare the yeast seasoning recipe:
- 1 kilogram of yeast diluted in 5 liters of water
- Dilute the solution with water in the ratio 1:10 before use.
If you have dry yeast instead of usual yeast:
- Count 10 grams per 10 liters of hot water
- Add two tablespoons of sugar
- Let the mixture rest for a few hours.
- As a rule, this solution is used for watering flower beds, vegetables, fruit trees and berry shrubs and orchids.
Myths about natural fertilizers for orchids
There is nothing wrong with fertilizing plants naturally, as natural fertilizers work well for plants. But many people make it sound too simplistic. Below, I will tell you about the problems with some myths of these commonly recommended natural fertilizers to avoid orchid maintenance mistakes.
- Coffee: The use of coffee to fertilize orchids is one of the main myths. Coffee works well as a fertilizer for garden plants with soil. But not really for indoor orchids. Are Coffee Grounds Good for Houseplants? This poses several problems, especially for fertilizing orchids. It can clog the foam support, reducing airflow to the roots and thus increasing the risk of root rot. Additionally, coffee grounds take a long time for the protein to be broken down by microbes and release its nitrogen for root uptake. Again, epiphytic orchids don’t grow in soil, so it’s questionable whether there are enough microbes, if at all, around the roots to break down the nitrogen. Coffee grounds can also attract gnats and decay pests.
- Eggshells: There are recommendations to cook eggshells, grind them into a powder and then sprinkle them on orchid leaves or apply them directly to the support. The claim is that burnt eggshells provide orchids with calcium phosphate. The problem is very similar to that of coffee grounds. Eggshell dust can clog the middle of the orchid, reducing air flow to the roots. And applying eggshell powder to the leaves won’t work, because the protein molecule is too large to fit through the tiny pores of the leaves. So, beware of myths.