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 Post subject: "Less is More"
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:52 am
Posts: 268
Location: Bucks County PA
If you look at the chemical makeup of plants, they're 85% water, 14% carbon, and 1% everything else. Lots of available water equals more carbon fixation, so better growth. If you calculate the conversion, for a plant to put on one pound of mass, it must absorb and process about 25 gallons of water and less than a teaspoon of N-P-K nutrition. (For you metricated folks, 1 kg of mass gain requires 200-210 L of water and about 10 g of fertilizer.)

Considering how much water, and how little food an orchid gets in nature, I switched to K-Lite fertilizer (12-1-1-10Ca-3Mg) at only 25-35 ppm N at every watering in November of 2011, and soon thereafter began supplementing monthly with KelpMax and Inocucor Garden Solution. Since then, I have been very pleased with their growth and flowering, but it makes me wonder if even that might be excessive. Examples like this also push my thinking in that direction:

This is Phrag. Will Chantry, moved from flask directly into 3.5" Semi-Hydro pots about 18-20 months ago. They were watered in with roughly 30 ppm N K-Lite, which was supplemented with 1:250 KelpMax and 1:100 Inocucor Garden Solution. Since that time, they have only received RO water, applied via overhead misting 2x/day, in my basement "incubator". This was not done by choice, but by too many distractions that led me to ignoring it. Apparently that's not so bad!

Image

The leaves are a bit mottled, suggesting a bit of nutrient deficiency (easily remedied with a little food), but this still managed to grow and bloom. The second image shows the extensive root system, both in the pot and overgrowing it.

Image

I will reiterate that this was an accident, not a plan, and "nothing" is certainly not "more" for the plant, but it does support the concept that the nutritional needs of these plants are pretty slim.

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Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
Using science & logic to improve orchid growing


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