Orchids are generally seen growing and thriving in tropical forests where minerals and moisture are in abundance. To grow an orchid plant to its fullest potential, you may have to replicate a tropical surrounding at home, or better yet, use various kinds of fertilisers accordingly. However, it must be noted that orchids won't benefit from overfeeding, although you may see a pompous bloom in the initial stage. Any salt build-ups from the fertilisers can potentially kill your plant in the long run. Thus, along with choosing the right fertiliser, you must also pay attention to how you use it.
What do orchids need?
Orchids as epiphytic plants; meaning, they typically grow on other plants or trees' surfaces without being parasites. They get moisture from the atmosphere or tree bark and gain many nutrients from forest debris. Some fertilisers come with an advanced moisture locking system to provide ample hydration. They can be sprayed on the entire plant to keep it hydrated. Others come as concentrated liquids that need to be diluted before application. They are packed with nutrients.
The quintessential minerals
Many macronutrients and micronutrients are needed for the ideal growth of orchid plants. The former is required in larger quantities, and they are potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen. While potassium is excellent to drive pests away and for a robust root system, phosphorous advances flower growth and nitrogen aids in forming luxuriant foliage. Most orchid fertilisers combine the three macronutrients in different proportions and portions of micronutrients such as manganese, zinc, iron and boron, catering to unique needs. Using a urea-free or low-urea fertiliser is ideal if your orchid plant is not grown in a pot.
Organic or inorganic?
Organic fertilisers for orchids are typically made of seaweed, ground bones, fish, blood meal etc. Such ingredients naturally produce an unpleasant smell which some people may not prefer. They also contain a lesser amount of nutrients than inorganic fertilisers. However, some gardeners still like them because they are organic, although inorganic fertilisers are more reliable. You could also try a combination of both organic and inorganic fertilisers for significant results. A sizeable portion of people also uses slow-release fertilisers that only require its application every three or four months. However, they only work well in soil.