Gardening - home-made Orchid Fertiliser Recipes


Gardening - home-made Orchid Fertiliser Recipes

Sunday, January 19, 2020

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The orchid family (Orchidaceae) includes approximately 600 genera and about 30,000 natural species worldwide. These exotic-looking plants have earned a reputation as being difficult to grow, but many turn out to be surprisingly easy to care for. Lighting and watering needs vary, but most orchids require fertiliser high in both potassium and calcium, as well as other basic nutrients.

Providing the additional nutrients required by orchids is easy and inexpensive when you use common household items. Here are several recipes for home-made orchid fertilisers.

Granular Meal Fertiliser

This nitrogen-rich fertiliser can be sprinkled about once a month over the orchid's soil to provide standard nutrition, as well as the extra calcium and protein needed.

Thoroughly mix 2 cups cottonseed meal, 2 cups bonemeal, and 2 cups wood ashes together in a mixing bowl. Store in a sealed plastic container. To use, sprinkle 3 tablespoons onto the orchid's soil about once each month.

Water-Soluble Fertiliser

This liquid fertiliser is another good source of nitrogen and can be used in place of regular watering once each month.

Measure the leftover morning coffee from your pot (black only) and pour it into a pitcher. Add four times as much water, then stir in 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Store in a closed container, and do not refrigerate.

To use, water your orchid with the mixture as a replacement for regular water once each month. The mixture is especially good at rejuvenating a sluggish orchid.

Eggshell Foliar Fertiliser

This home-made mixture is simply sprayed onto the foliage of orchids to provide the plants with calcium, potassium and protein.

Heat one quart of water in a saucepan, bringing it to a boil. As the water is heating, grind 12 eggshells with a mortar and pestle. When the water boils, turn off the heat and add the eggshells. Soak the eggshells overnight in the hot water.

Strain the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray orchids weekly with this mixture to add calcium, potassium and protein.

Other Fertilisers
Epsom salts

Mixing a teaspoon of Epsom salts in two quarts of water gives your orchids a boost of magnesium. Don't use scented Epsom salts of the type sold as foot or body wash, but instead use the form sold in the gardening section of hardware and home improvement stores.

Potato or rice cooking water

The cooking water from both potatoes and rice provides valuable nutrients to orchids: Rice water provides a good source of vitamin B; potato water contains calcium and potassium. Save the water from cooking potatoes and rice, and store it in the refrigerator. Every two weeks or so, take the water out and allow it to warm to room temperature, then apply it to the orchids.


Molasses gives your orchids a boost of potassium. Mix a teaspoon of molasses into a quart or two of water, and use it when you water your orchids.

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