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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: 329
Location: Oak Island, NC
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!


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.


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.

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

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