Orchid is not just a plant. It is a symbol of beauty, integrity, elegance, and serenity. But these words are meaningless if your orchid has no blooms.
Orchids don’t need too much food to thrive and blooms. Yes, you read that right and it’s true. But that doesn’t mean, they don’t need food. Like all other plants, they also need fertilizer as plant food for healthy roots and long-lasting blooms.
There are hundreds of brands that produce different types of orchid fertilizer today. Sad but true, all are not perfect for your orchids. And you know; feeding wrong fertilizer can burn orchid leaves or fail to re-bloom.
Now the question; what is the best fertilizer for orchids?
Any type of fertilizer that contains a balanced ratio of NPK and other macro and micronutrients. Most importantly, the best orchid food has less urea nitrogen and a higher amount of nitrate-nitrogen or ammoniacal nitrogen.
For your convenience, In this article, I have listed and reviewed the 10 best orchid fertilizer that you can pick for your orchid without any risk of damage.
In a Hurry? Here is best of the best fertilizer for orchids that you can pick right now-
Best Orchid Fertilizer-Comparisons
|Best Orchid Food||NPK||Type||Price|
|Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food||10-19-10||Spike|
|Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Orchid Food||30-10-10||Granular|
|Espoma Organic Orchid Plant Food||1-3-1||Liquid(conc.)|
|Miracle-Gro RTU Orchid Plant Food||.02-.02-.02||Mist|
|Earthpods Organic Orchid Food||1.3-1.2-1.1||Spike|
|Sun Bulb Better Gro Orchid Fertilizer||11-35-15||Granular|
|J R Peters Jacks Classic Orchid Food||7-5-6||Liquid(conc.)|
|Orchid Love by GS Plant Foods||1.19-1.06-0.39||Liquid(conc.)|
|Aquatic Arts Orchid Fertilizer||30-10-10||Liquid(conc.)|
|rePotme Orchid Food||13-3-15||Granular|
Best Orchid Fertilizer-Reviews
1.Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Spikes
Are you looking for an easy-to-use orchid fertilizer? Here is the Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Spikes for you.
It is the best spike fertilizer for orchids to bloom that can apply easily without pre-measured. Simply cut the sticks in half and press into the soil without disturbing the plant roots.
According to the NPK ratio, this fertilizer contains 10% nitrogen for green leaves,10% phosphate for strong roots and blooms, and 10% potash for overall plant health and long-lasting vibrant blooms.
The higher amount of urea nitrogen may burn and damage the orchid leaves. Good news; this fertilizer contains 3% ammoniacal nitrogen and only 1% urea nitrogen.
And also it contains 4.2% water-soluble and 1.8% water-insoluble nitrogen. You will be happy to know, water-soluble nitrogen can feed the orchid instantly and water-insoluble nitrogen can feed continuously up to 2 months.
Sounds impressive, right? But there’s more-
It also contains 0.05% chelated manganese and 0.008% molybdenum and all the nutrients of this fertilizer are derived from some toxic-free chemicals that are completely safe for plants.
It is specially formulated for only indoor orchids. Take 1 spike for 3-4 inches diameter of pots. Cut or break the spike in half, press into the potting mix. Repeat the application after 2 months.
2.Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Orchid Food
Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Orchid Food is the best fertilizer for indoor and outdoor orchids. Also, it can be applied perfectly to some acid-loving plants like gardenias and hydrangeas. Let’s see what’s inside-
The NPK number of this fertilizer is 30-10-10. That means it has 30% nitrogen,10% phosphate, and 10% potash that helps your orchid to produce dark green leaves, strong roots, and robust blooms.
As you saw, it contains a higher amount of nitrogen and it is good for orchids and other acid-loving plants. But it contains 27% urea nitrogen and 3% ammoniacal nitrogen.
So, it has enough chance to burn leaves if you apply it on foliage. That’s why the manufacture prohibits applying on leaves. You should strictly follow their instructions to minimize the chance of damage.
Good news; this fertilizer is fortified with micronutrients.It contains 0.02% boron,0.07% copper,0.325% iron.0.05% manganese,0.07% zinc and 0.005% molybdenum.
The best part of these nutrients are, all have an organic chelated coating that protects the nutrients from reactions in the soil. As a result, they always remain available for your orchids.
For feeding this nutrient-enriched water-soluble fertilizer-
Measure ¼ teaspoon for indoor orchid and 1 tablespoon for outdoor orchids. Mix the pre-measured fertilizer into a gallon of water and pour the solution around the base of the plant. For better and quick results feed once per 14 days and don’t apply on the foliage.
3.Espoma ORPF8 Organic Orchid Plant Food
As the plant nutrients, it contains 1% nitrogen,3% phosphate,1% potash, and 1% calcium.The bloom booster ratio of this liquid fertilizer helps your orchid to promote blooming.
It is a fast-acting urea-free fertilizer that has 0.88% water-soluble nitrogen for instant feeding and a little amount of water-insoluble nitrogen for continuous feeding.
And good news; all the nutrients of this liquid fertilizer are derived from some organic and natural compounds such as hydrolyzed poultry manure, bone meal, hydrolyzed fish protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, potassium sulfate, and kelp exacts.
Though the manufacturer didn’t mention the ratio of micronutrients, it must contain the required micronutrients for orchids. How can I tell you that with confidence?
For the organic compounds. These are the natural sources of some macro and micronutrients. You will be happy to know, only the poultry manure can provide 13 essential plant nutrients but it has some other natural compounds too.
The best parts of this fertilizer-
It contains some beneficial soil microbes that promote root growth, improve soil and make plants healthy and resistant, and also it has 0.35% dextrose and 0.25% sucrose as microbes food and 0.25% humic acid for protecting the plant from environmental stress.
Mix 7 ml of liquid food into 1-quart water, apply water, and then pour the pre-mixed solution around the base of the orchid. Feed every 2-4 weeks to promote flowering.
4.Miracle-Gro Ready-To-Use Orchid Plant Food Mist
Miracle-Gro strikes again with the best ready-to-use orchid food named MIracle-Gro Ready to Use Orchid Plant Food Mist. It can easily be applied to all kinds of orchids for providing nutrients and moisture.
It is a balanced fertilizer that has an equal ratio of NPK.According to the fertilizer analysis,it contains 0.02% nitrogen,0.02% phosphate and 0.02% potash.
Some plant lovers claim that it has a poor NPK ratio. But they should know, it comes in the Ready to Use formula which means you don’t need to dilute. If the same fertilizer comes in a concentrated form then the NPK ratio would be 20-20-20. So, this ratio is perfect for healthy orchids with vibrant blooms.
Moreover, it contains ammoniacal, nitrate, and urea nitrogen in a perfect ratio that can feed your orchid without damage. Sad but true, it is poor in micronutrients.
It comes in a Ready to Use(RTU) form with a hand trigger. So, no need to pre-measured.To feed this fertilizer instantly, Shake and spray on the leaves, roots, and soil of orchids once per week. Don’t spray on the blooms.
5.Earthpods Organic Orchid Food Spikes
For lush green leaves and colorful blooms, it has 1.3% nitrogen,1.2% phosphate, and 1.1% potash. Also, it is fortified with some other essential plant nutrients including calcium and magnesium.
Good news; It has no urea nitrogen and all the nutrients are derived from some organic and natural compounds.
The best part of this fertilizer is-
It is fortified with trace elements, minerals, growth hormones, humic & fulvic acid, and most importantly it has a natural blend of beneficial fungi and bacteria for healthy and resistant orchids with dark green leaves and healthy and colorful blooms.
It comes with 100 capsules with a recyclable container and it can easily apply to the terrestrial & epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, and tillandsias in pots, hanging baskets, balcony planter, and hydroponics.
To feed this best organic orchid fertilizer-
Simply push 1-2 capsules for small, 2-4 capsules for medium, and 4-8 capsules for a large orchid plant into the soil near the stems. Repeat the application after 2-3 weeks and enjoy the beauty of the orchids.
6.Sun Bulb 8305 Better Gro Orchid Plus Bloom Booster Fertilizer
It comes with the bloom booster formula that encourages your orchids to promote blooms and for doing that it has a higher amount of phosphorus(35%). Also, it contains 11% nitrogen and 15% potash for green leaves, healthy plants, and more robust blooms.
And good news; the nitrogen does not contain any urea.it has 4.43% nitrate nitrogen and 6.65% ammoniacal nitrogen.
Besides NPK, it has other required nutrients in a perfect ratio.As an essential plant food,it also contains 0.6% magnesium,0.02% boron,0.05% copper,0.1% iron,0.05% zinc and 0.0005% molybdenum.
Most of the minor nutrients are chelated, which means they have an organic coating that protects them from some soil reactions and remains in an available form for orchids.
It is a water-soluble orchid fertilizer that can feed the most hungry orchids instantly. Mix 1 teaspoon per gallon of water and soak foliage and roots. For better results, feed this fertilizer once per month.
7.J R Peters Inc 50708 Jacks Classic Liquid Orchid Food
Let’s see what is the ratio of NPK-
The NPK ratio of this fertilizer is 7-5-6. That means it has 7% nitrogen for promoting the foliar growth,5% potassium for strong roots and blooms, and 6% potash for resistant plants and more robust and colorful blooms of orchid.
Besides, It also has all other minor essential plant nutrients that protect the plant from minor nutrient deficiency.The nutrients are- 2% calcium,0.5% magnesium,0.021% boron,0.0525% copper,0.1066% iron,0.0525% manganese,0.011% molybdenum and 0.0525% zinc.
Good news; most of the micronutrients are chelated and you know chelated nutrients have a protective coat for preventing them from soil reactions and remaining them always available.
To get the healthy orchids with desired blooms-
Mix ¾ tablespoons liquid fertilizer into a gallon of water and feed the orchids every week.
The JR Peters also provides water-soluble granular fertilizer named J R Peters Jacks Classic Orchid Special Fertilizer that has a 30-10-10 NPK ratio.
8.Orchid Love Food by GS Plant Foods
As the primary nutrients, this organic fertilizer contains 1.19% nitrogen,1.06% phosphorus, and 0.39% potash and the higher amount of nitrogen and phosphorus of this fertilizer helps the orchids to produce dark green leaves and re-bloom.
You know, all the nutrients are extracted from organic sources and you will be happy to know organic ingredients can feed the orchids without the risk of damage. Moreover, organic fertilizer is safe for your pets and the environment.
Also, it contains some other micro and macronutrients but most importantly it has rooting hormones and natural sugars that promote healthy root growth. And you know healthy roots mean healthy orchids and healthy blooms.
It comes with a liquid deodorized formula that can apply easily to all kinds of orchids. To feed this fertilizer- Mix 1 tablespoon into 1 quart of water and pour the solution around the plants. Repeat feeding after 1 week.
9.Aquatic Arts Orchid Fertilizer
I heard the Aquatic Arts Brand name when I was looking for the fiddle leaf fig fertilizer. Now I am a fan of this brand. The research plant biology and produce fertilizer based on research.
Here is the another best natural orchid fertilizer that is specially formulated for different types of orchids such as Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, moth, paphiopedilum, cymbidium orchids, Oncidium, zygopetalum, vanda, “Bat plants”, livilan, laelia, and so on.
As the orchid food,it has 30% nitrogen,10% phosphate,10% potash, 0.02% boron, 0.05% copper,0.10%iron,.05% manganese and 0.05% zinc. As you saw this fertilizer enriches with macro and micronutrients that give you healthy orchids with green leaves, strong roots, and colorful blooms.
All the nutrients of this liquid orchid fertilizer are derived from organic ingredients. So, you can feed this natural orchid fertilizer with no risk of any kind of harm. Besides, it is safe for your pets and the environment.
If you want to produce desired orchid blooms, mix 1 teaspoon of this gentle liquid food with 2 cups of water and pour it on the base of the plant.
10.rePotme Orchid Food-Feed Me MSU Orchid Fertilizer
As the macronutrients,it has 13% nitrogen, 3.7% phosphate,15.9% potash,8% calcium,2.6% magnesium.All are the most required nutrients for growing healthy orchids and producing more blooms.
And this fertilizer has no urea nitrogen, it has 12.5% nitrate nitrogen and 0.7% ammoniacal nitrogen that can feed your orchid gently.
Also, as the micronutrients,it has 0.177% iron,0.088% manganese,0.044% zinc,0.044% copper, 0.018% boron,and 0.018% molybdenum.Do you want more nutrients? In my opinion, these are enough to fulfill the nutritional demands of your orchids.
Besides all kinds of orchids including cattleya, hong kong, phalaenopsis, and espresso, it can also be applied to succulents, African violet, cactus, and some other houseplants. This fertilizer comes with water-soluble granules.
Mix ¾ teaspoons per gallon of water, feed your hungry plants instantly and help them to produce lots of blooms.
How to Choose the Best Orchid Fertilizer?
Choosing the best orchid food for flowering is not so difficult if you consider some points. Here I will discuss some points that you should strictly consider before buying.
Type of Orchid Fertilizer
Different types of orchid fertilizers available in the market today. Such as Water-soluble, Granular, Spike, Liquid, and Capsule.
Which type of fertilizer should you pick for your orchids?
Honestly, all are good for orchids. But they are different in the application method. Water-soluble and liquid fertilizer need to be pre-measured and premixed with water before application. In contrast, water-insoluble granular and spike fertilizer don’t need to be pre-mixed.
Nutrients and Their Ratio
Like all the other plants, orchids need balanced nutrients for thriving and blooming. Let’s first talk about NPK-
NPK means the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are the three primary nutrients. Nitrogen important for green foliage, phosphorus for blooms, roots, and potassium for overall plant health. Only the balanced ratio can give you healthy green plants and colorful blooms.
Moreover, some other essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc are important for long-lasting blooms and protect the plant from chlorosis and some other diseases.
Remember one thing; the fertilizer must have a lower amount of urea nitrogen. Excess urea nitrogen may burn the orchid leaves.
Organic vs Inorganic
Organic and inorganic both are good for orchids if they don’t contain any harsh chemicals. Some reputable brands like Miracle-Gro have been producing synthetic fertilizer successfully. Plants and gardeners both like those fertilizers. Don’t think I am promoting synthetic fertilizer. I am only telling you the truth.
You can also pick organic and natural fertilizer from reputable brands like Espoma, Aquatic Arts. The best thing about organic fertilizers is they contain some beneficial soil microbes.
How Often to Fertilize Orchids?
Fertilizing schedules may vary depending on the type of orchid fertilizer and ratio of NPK.
Generally, water-soluble fertilizer needs to apply once per 1-2 weeks but you can apply slow-release fertilizer once per 1-2 months.
Feeding once per week is the basic rule of fertilizing. But the best way to know how often you should feed your orchids, read the label of your fertilizer.
Quick Tips: If you feed your orchids every week, avoid feeding every third week. It minimizes the chance of overfeeding.
When is the Best Time to Fertilize Orchids?
Orchids need more fertilizer in active growing seasons. After blooming they don’t need too much fertilizer. So apply fertilizer once per 1-2 weeks in an active growth period and apply once 3-4 weeks in the rest of the period. And stop feeding when the blooms fall off and orchid goes dormant.
Here is the best guide on orchid care by season- Season by Season Orchid Guide
How To Fertilize Orchids?
Applying fertilizer to the orchids is not a difficult task. Thereafter, I am showing you the best way to fertilize orchids step by step-
Step 1: Select the Perfect Fertilizer for Your orchids
First, you have to pick the right fertilizer for your orchids. You can choose water-soluble, liquid, or spike. Just make sure, fertilizer made from toxic-free ingredients by following the quality standards. Here is my pick-
Step 2: Measure and Prepare Solution
Measure the fertilizer according to the fertilizer label directions and prepare a solution. Skip this step if you pick spike or ready to use fertilizer.
Step 3: Feed the Orchids
Liquid and water-soluble fertilizer: Soak the leaves and soil of the orchid with the premixed solution.
Ready to spray solution: Shake well and spray on the foliage until the leaves and soil wet completely.
Spike fertilizer: Simply push the spikes into the 1-2 inches of soil near the stem of orchids.
Warning: Some fertilizer is prohibited to spray on foliage and some on blooms. Read the label of your fertilizer carefully.
Best Homemade Orchid Food: DIY Orchid Fertilizer
Recipe 1:Granular Fertilizer for Orchids
- Coffee Grounds(Nitrogen)
- Egg Shells(Calcium)
- Banana peels(Phosphorus, potassium)
- Cut the banana peels and break the eggshells into small pieces and dry in full sun until they break easily.
- After drying, grind them.
- Mix coffee grounds with powdered banana peels and eggshells.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon around the base of the orchid and apply water.
Recipe 1:Granular Fertilizer for Orchids
- Epsom Salt(Magnesium)
- Mix 1 teaspoon of milk, molasses, and Epsom salt into a gallon of water.
- Shake the solution and pour it on the orchids.
Frequently Asked Questions
#Are Coffee Grounds Good For Orchids?
Coffee grounds can provide nitrogen to the orchids. You know nitrogen is the main component of chlorophyll and chlorophyll is important for dark green healthy leaves as well as healthy plants. So, coffee grounds are a good natural nitrogenous fertilizer for orchids that you can feed your plant regularly.
#Are Eggshells Good For Orchids?
Eggshells are crystals of calcium carbonate. It can provide calcium to the plants. And calcium is required for cell wall development. So you can feed eggshells to meet the calcium demand of your orchids.
#Are Banana Peels Good for Orchids?
Banana peels are the most popular homemade fertilizer that contains lots of macro and micronutrients including potassium(42%), phosphorous, nitrogen, and magnesium. And the best part of the banana peels fertilizer is it acts as a slow-release fertilizer. So, you can apply the banana peels to your orchids without hesitation.
Some orchids bloom once in a year and some twice or more in a year. So, don’t force them to rebloom without knowing the flowering cycle of your orchids. If they don’t bloom, don’t think they die. They are dormant, stop feeding them, and take the rest.
Feed the best orchid fertilizer only during the active growing period of your orchid. Summer and spring may be the best time to feed more fertilizer to the orchids though it may vary depending on the varieties.