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Fertilise or Not Fertilise and Charcoal

#1 User is offline   Fire 

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 08:57 AM

Hi to all Orchid Experts,

Hi all. I need advices from you guys regarding growing orchids.

I love orchids and are trying to grow them but not so successful. I was given advices - do not need to give fertilisers or must give some fertilisers by friends and read from web.

So which is which? If fertilisers needs, what type and how often? Is that hormone type one?

Also if I need to add charcoals to my newly bought orchids, do I need to wash the charcoals or just simply add onto the plant and water it??

Thanks in advance.

This post has been edited by Fire: 10 October 2018 - 09:00 AM

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#2 User is offline   osprey23 

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:39 AM

View PostFire, on 10 October 2018 - 08:57 AM, said:

Hi to all Orchid Experts,

Hi all. I need advices from you guys regarding growing orchids.

I love orchids and are trying to grow them but not so successful. I was given advices - do not need to give fertilisers or must give some fertilisers by friends and read from web.

So which is which? If fertilisers needs, what type and how often? Is that hormone type one?

Also if I need to add charcoals to my newly bought orchids, do I need to wash the charcoals or just simply add onto the plant and water it??

Thanks in advance.


Orchids are hardy plants and does not need much care, what you need to know though is whether the plant needs full sun or shade. Depending on where you are growing the plants it may be that plants are not suitable according the environment there that's why you are not successful. If you choose the type of orchids that grow best with the environment that you have, then you will have good success.

Fertilizers would be good if you want to help it to grow well, but it is not necessary. I have successfully grown orchids that flowers frequently with just daily watering for years with no fertilizers. However if you want to add fertilizers, it simpler if you get those beads fertilizers which you would just drop a few onto the base of the plant ($5 for a bottle at Woon Leng), you can replace the beads once every few months.

Fertilizers come specifically with percentage of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K), so typically you can see things label like 21:21:21 which means equal parts and sometimes you see the label reads 63 which is the total number of the ratio. This is normally used for general growth. Some people use 10:30:20 NPK to push for blooms, but really even if you add fertilizer, a simple balanced ratio would be good enough.

No need to add charcoal as the plant should be settled when you buy it. If you are re-potting or propagating, then just get the regular charcoal and wash it with water before using it. There are some advocates who state that you should get gardening grade charcoal that has less chemical etc, but I have never used any of these. I just use those that we buy for BBQ and use them and it works fine.

A simple guide for growing orchids. It needs a lot of light (not necessary directly depending on the species), and if there is wind it is better. Orchid roots like to get wet and then dried before next wetting. When you water orchids, water only at the base of the plant, do not wet the plant, in addition you should fully drench the base, i.e. you see water running out. You should only water again after you see that the pot is drying out.

Enjoy your journey!
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#3 User is offline   Fire 

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:57 AM

View Postosprey23, on 11 October 2018 - 09:39 AM, said:

Orchids are hardy plants and does not need much care, what you need to know though is whether the plant needs full sun or shade. Depending on where you are growing the plants it may be that plants are not suitable according the environment there that's why you are not successful. If you choose the type of orchids that grow best with the environment that you have, then you will have good success.

Fertilizers would be good if you want to help it to grow well, but it is not necessary. I have successfully grown orchids that flowers frequently with just daily watering for years with no fertilizers. However if you want to add fertilizers, it simpler if you get those beads fertilizers which you would just drop a few onto the base of the plant ($5 for a bottle at Woon Leng), you can replace the beads once every few months.

Fertilizers come specifically with percentage of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K), so typically you can see things label like 21:21:21 which means equal parts and sometimes you see the label reads 63 which is the total number of the ratio. This is normally used for general growth. Some people use 10:30:20 NPK to push for blooms, but really even if you add fertilizer, a simple balanced ratio would be good enough.

No need to add charcoal as the plant should be settled when you buy it. If you are re-potting or propagating, then just get the regular charcoal and wash it with water before using it. There are some advocates who state that you should get gardening grade charcoal that has less chemical etc, but I have never used any of these. I just use those that we buy for BBQ and use them and it works fine.

A simple guide for growing orchids. It needs a lot of light (not necessary directly depending on the species), and if there is wind it is better. Orchid roots like to get wet and then dried before next wetting. When you water orchids, water only at the base of the plant, do not wet the plant, in addition you should fully drench the base, i.e. you see water running out. You should only water again after you see that the pot is drying out.

Enjoy your journey!


Hi Osprey

Thank you very much for your detailed explanation. I will follow your advice and hopefully they survive and try to bloom.... hahaha. I place them outside of the walkway of my hdb, it is partly shady and with some sunshine in the morning.

Another thing is that I thought we have to add new charcoals on the existing orchid so that it has enough medium for the roots to cling onto. My orchid pot is only half full.

My newly bought orchids are the common yellow colour ones - dancing orchids, mini dendrobiums and mini cattleyas.

Just a question off the topic - By the way, are we allow to bring in orchid plants from Thailand??

Thanks a lot!
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#4 User is offline   osprey23 

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:04 PM

View PostFire, on 11 October 2018 - 10:57 AM, said:

Hi Osprey

Thank you very much for your detailed explanation. I will follow your advice and hopefully they survive and try to bloom.... hahaha. I place them outside of the walkway of my hdb, it is partly shady and with some sunshine in the morning.

Another thing is that I thought we have to add new charcoals on the existing orchid so that it has enough medium for the roots to cling onto. My orchid pot is only half full.

My newly bought orchids are the common yellow colour ones - dancing orchids, mini dendrobiums and mini cattleyas.

Just a question off the topic - By the way, are we allow to bring in orchid plants from Thailand??

Thanks a lot!



If you are referring to the Dancing Lady Orchid or Golden Shower, this is the Oncidium orchids. If you are referring to those miniature plants, then it is the Tolumnia. Oncidium don't really like full sun, so should be okay with partly shady, just make sure it is getting enough light.

For the Dendrobium and Cattleya, they grow better with full sun. So they may not grow as fast or as well in your environment but they will are more hardy than Oncidium and should not die in your environment.

According to regulation, we are only allowed to bring in 3 plants without potting from West Malaysia without necessary certificates. However, a lot people (including commercial growers) bring in orchids from Thailand as it is cheap and they have exotic plants there. Just ensure that it is in the luggage and not on your hand carry, then just walk out normally.

American Orchid Society has a good pictorial guide that you can benefit from. Get it here:
http://www.aos.org/A...s-Printable.pdf
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#5 User is offline   Fire 

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:03 PM

View Postosprey23, on 11 October 2018 - 02:04 PM, said:

If you are referring to the Dancing Lady Orchid or Golden Shower, this is the Oncidium orchids. If you are referring to those miniature plants, then it is the Tolumnia. Oncidium don't really like full sun, so should be okay with partly shady, just make sure it is getting enough light.

For the Dendrobium and Cattleya, they grow better with full sun. So they may not grow as fast or as well in your environment but they will are more hardy than Oncidium and should not die in your environment.

According to regulation, we are only allowed to bring in 3 plants without potting from West Malaysia without necessary certificates. However, a lot people (including commercial growers) bring in orchids from Thailand as it is cheap and they have exotic plants there. Just ensure that it is in the luggage and not on your hand carry, then just walk out normally.

American Orchid Society has a good pictorial guide that you can benefit from. Get it here:
http://www.aos.org/A...s-Printable.pdf


By the way, my yellow dancing orchid is Golden Shower. I just googled Tolumia that you mentioned, nope I do not have them. They are beautiful orchids!!!

And thanks for that link you sent. Ya I looked at it and realised I am wrong that I just placed the pot on the plate/saucer without any small rocks for water to leak through. I will be buying the small stones / rocks very soon so that my orchids will live. Also I water the orchids every other day.

And thanks for the informations re bring orchids from Thailand. I will think about it.
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