When to Use Orchid Food? | 10 Best Orchid Fertilizers

Who would not adore the beauty and exquisite look of the orchid plants? They have beautiful and mesmerizing flowers that would surely catch one’s sight and attention. Orchids come in a variety of enthralling and fascinating colors such as lavender, pink, yellow, and orange that would definitely be a perfect fit in your backyards and gardens. It adds elegance and glamour to the ambiance of your house that’s why many plant enthusiasts grow this famous flower type.

But before starting to cultivate this gorgeous flora, it is essential to know what products to use in taking care of these plants and the frequency of their application.

When to use orchid food? Orchid food or fertilizers are typically applied at least once a month. However, it is believed that applying it every week using a weak dosage of nutrient concentration would yield better results.

It is definitely good to know when to use orchid food, especially if you are an aspiring orchid grower. Continue to read to know the best products to utilize in cultivating this lovely flower plant and its correct application and frequency of use.

Why Do Orchids Need Fertilizer?

Why Do Orchids Need Fertilizer

Orchids fertilizers are needed in order to promote and maintain their optimum health and growth. Most of them contain potent plant nutrients such as potassium, which stimulates the production of chlorophyll, increasing stem strength or fortifying plants’ tissue. It also has phosphorus, a substance that is instrumental in producing a healthy set of roots and flowers, and nitrogen, a chemical that induces vigorous production of stems and leaves and augments the release of chlorophyll.

The use of orchid food also speeds up plant growth and development, helps get rid of bacterial diseases that lead to flower infirmities, stimulates the healthy blooming of flower colors, and maintains the richness of its green leaves.

Furthermore, it is necessary to apply fertilizers on orchids when you remove them from their natural habitats. They lose the nutrients they would have naturally received when these plants are taken away from their usual environments and placed in artificial gardens and backyards.

When Should You Fertilize Orchids?

The majority of the plant lovers fertilize their orchids at least once a month. But it is recommended to apply orchid food once a week. As a result, it will enable the plant’s healthy growth and allow the rich blooming of its petals. To achieve this, you will need to apply a lesser concentration of plant chemicals and nutrients weekly rather than putting higher doses of fertilizer substances once a month. However, the frequency and dosage of fertilizer application may also depend on the product used. Some commercial fertilizers may be ideal for newly-cultivated orchids, while others may be best for fully-grown orchid flowers. Thus, reading a product’s label and instructions is advisable before putting them on an orchid plant.

Do You Feed Orchids When They Are in Bloom?

Do You Feed Orchids When They Are in Bloom

You can feed your orchids when they are in bloom, but it is not necessary. When in bloom, orchids do not require many fertilizers as their active growth is usually stunted. This means that when the orchid plant aggressively grows its leaves, flowers, and roots, it is not advisable to place a large amount of orchid food as it does not need a huge ton of nutrients during that time.

When Should I Start Feeding My Orchid?

When Should I Start Feeding My Orchid

It is recommended to start feeding orchids when it is not in full bloom. When there is a prominent growth of leaves and flowers, the orchid plants do not experience active growth, so it may be futile and unproductive to apply them in the blooming stage.

When Should You Not Fertilize Orchids?

Orchid plants also require a period of dormancy which is usually practiced every winter season. During this period, it is not beneficial to spray or apply fertilizers in order to give them time to replenish themselves and rest. They will usually conserve their energy, strengthen their roots and grow abundant leaves on this stage in order for them to survive and withstand the next blooming season. In most cases, an orchid plant typically blooms every eight to twelve months.

How Do You Fertilize Orchids Naturally?

How Do You Fertilize Orchids Naturally

The following are the natural ingredients you can use in fertilizing orchids:

  • Egg Shells. They are an abundant source of calcium and potassium. To use it, crush the shells using a mortar and place them in the orchid barks. You can also boil them in a pot of water and spray them around the orchid plant.
  • Potatoes. Potassium and phosphorus are found in this vegetable. They can be a potent instrument in growing and developing orchid roots and plant tissues. 
  • Tea. A huge throng of nitrogenous ingredients is found in tea bags to be used in cultivating orchid plants.
  • Molasses. This material is jam-packed with potassium that can aid in fortifying plant tissues and releasing chlorophyll.
  • Rice Water. The water from boiled rice consists of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, and niacin that can facilitate the healthy growth of orchid flowers.  

How Do You Use Orchid Food?

If you want to maximize the use of your orchid food, it is best to employ the following measures:

  • Choose the orchid food/fertilizer that suits your preferences and needs. It is best to buy a product that has the right balance of orchid nutrients and vitamins.
  • Mix the fertilizer with an equal amount of water. This may, however, depend on the product instructions and details. 
  • Pour a sufficient amount of the fertilizer mixture into the flower pot. However, this may depend on the type of product used as some orchid foods are in the form of spray mists and orchid sticks.
  • Drain and remove any excess of the fertilizer mixture.
  • Avoid, if possible, watering on days when fertilizers are applied.

Best Fertilizer For Orchids 

The following are the best products to use when you want your orchid plants to yield beautiful and healthy flowers, stems, leaves, and roots:

1. Grow More Urea Free Orchid Fertilizer 20-10-20

Grow More fertilizer is a premium orchid food that contains the necessary nutrients for an orchid plant to grow optimally. It has the perfect balance of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium to stimulate the healthy development of flowers and plant foliage. This product has fully chelated micronutrients, with a nitrogen content of sixty percent nitrate nitrogen and forty percent ammoniacal nitrogen. Additionally, it is free from urea and is utilized in the majority of the horticultural and agricultural settings.

2. Florikan Dynamite Fertilizer for Orchids & Bromeliads 10-10-17

If you want to have a stunning and wonderful set of petal blooms, then this orchid fertilizer from Florikan is one of the top choices. It induces the healthy growth of spikes and petals to bring out the beauty and elegance of the orchid plant. This product is made from eco-friendly materials and ingredients, so it is generally safe to apply. It is also packaged in one-pound bottles so that it can be applied in orchid plants for up to nine months.

3. Houseplant Resource Center All-Purpose Ready-To-Use Fertilizer for Houseplants 3-1-2

This fertilizer from the Houseplant Resource Center is one of most garden owners’ leading plant care choices. It is the perfect multivitamin for plants as it contains the ideal ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This product has 3% nitrogen, 1.5% ammoniacal nitrogen, 1.5% nitrate nitrogen, and slow-release calcium ingredients that promote leaves and flowers’ consistent and steady growth.

It is made from natural and organic materials, so it is safe to apply and prevents the accidental burning of your plants. This product is also pre-mixed, so there is no need to mix and do complicated procedures just to utilize it. You can add it directly to your watering can and spray it on the plants and flowers themselves. Lastly, it is an all-purpose fertilizer as it can be applied to other plants and flowers such as Christmas Cactus, King of Hearts, Elephant Ear Philodendron, Bird of Paradise, Norfolk Island Pine, Lily Turk, Oakleaf Ivy, Chinese Evergreen, Dwarf Banana, and Madagascar Jasmine.

4. Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Spikes 10-10-10

This fertilizer from the brand Miracle-Gro is definitely a miracle ingredient for orchid plants. It provides essential nutrition to the said flora by maintaining the green foliage of its leaves and stimulating the beautiful blooms of its petals. This product is ideal for actively growing plants, specifically for developing flowers, leaves, shoots, and roots. It can be a source of food and nutrition to orchids for up to sixty days and can produce new flower spikes every two months. To use, simply cut the fertilizer sticks in two and put them into the potting mix by pressing them gently.

5. Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Ready-To-Use Mist 0.2-0.2-0.2

If you want to have an instant source of nutrients and moisture for your orchid plants, then this product is one of the leading options. It is in the form of a mist spray, so plant vitamins and nutritional enzymes are instantly released and distributed. After watering the flowers, it is typically applied by spraying it on the roots, leaves, and growing media once per week.

6. Better Gro Orchid Fertilizer Plus Bloom Booster 11-35-15

For your petal addiction and blooming needs, buy the orchid fertilizer from Better Gro. It offers an ideal mix of plant nutrients and a high concentration of phosphorus that can stimulate flower growth, beautify petal color and increase blooming size. This product causes petal blooms that are fresh, vibrant, attractive, and long-lasting. Also, it does not utilize urea nitrogen.

7. EarthPods Orchid Plant Food 100 Organic Fertilizer Spikes 2-2-4

This organic fertilizer from EarthPods is an excellent plant-growing product for orchids, bromeliads, tillandsias, including miltonia, oncidium, cattleya, vanda, phalaenopsis (moth), cymbidium, and other epiphyte and terrestrial plants. It works by inducing the flower blooms, developing the healthy production of leaves, and stimulating the growth of roots. This product is composed of organic plant nutrients, trace minerals, and soil life and humates in the form of EarthPods. Each package contains one hundred EarthPods that are used by putting them individually in a potting soil mix or opening it and spreading it on the plant itself. It is a slow-releasing agent that allows the nutrients to seep down into the roots within a proper time interval.

8. Espoma Organic Orchid Plant Food 1-3-1 

If you want a complete provision for your orchids and bromeliads, then this fertilizer from Espoma is a perfect candidate. It is made from all major plant nutrients that can effectively enhance and increase plant development, petal bloom, and root growth.

9. Orchid Love B008QMR23C – The World’s Greatest Orchid Food!

This plant fertilizer from GS Plant Foods is one of the best orchid boosters because of its high-quality ingredients. It contains a mix of organic and topnotch materials like plant and rooting hormones, liquid fish, kelp, and natural sugars to promote the healthy growth of the orchid roots, stimulate the blooming of flower petals and develop the rich green color of leaves. This is also made up of a newly-deodorized formula that can prevent the incidence of root burn. Lastly, this fertilizer product is easy to use, cost-efficient, sustainable while producing promising results.

10. Osmocote 274150 Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor

This plant food from Osmocote is an excellent product for both indoor and outdoor plants from a wide range of varieties and growing conditions. It is made up of a fortified formula that is composed of eleven essential nutrients and vitamins. This plant food does not cause unwanted plant burns and can effectively feed orchid plants for up to six months.

Can I Use Orchid Food on Other Plants?    

You can use orchid food on other plants such as cacti, poinsettias, ferns, succulents, conifers, eastern lilies, and perennials. The ingredients found on these fertilizers, such as nitrogen, can help develop the leaves, roots, and flowers of the said plant species. However, it is not advisable to use them in vegetables and other edible produce as orchid food usually contains a huge amount of nutrients and chemicals. It may cause unwanted effects when humans consume the said plants.


It is definitely true that orchid plants are one of the most beautiful and elegant flower structures around the world. To facilitate their optimal growth and nutrition, the best thing to do is to apply orchid food and fertilizers on a scheduled basis. The use of the said products has many advantages, including the vibrant blooming of petals, strengthening of the roots, and rich growth of green foliage.

List of Sources

Growing Orchids in the Home

Show Me the Basics: What Are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium?

Growing Orchids Indoors