Fertilizing indoor bonsai...

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#1
So, I was originally using organic solids on my indoor trees but started putting it in tea bags because it clogs the soil.

The tea bags are just an eyesore for the smaller indoor trees so I'm thinking of switching to a liquid organic fertilizer, like Neptune's.

1547587934131.png

What do the pros use?
 

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#3
I use the K-Lite version of the MSU Metro Mix Orchid Fertilizer, 12-1-4. It is a lower level of potassium for continuous feeding indoors and or for hydroponics. It also has the Calcium & Magnesium supplement adjusted lower, to work in concert with municipal tap water with an alkalinity of 200 ppm as calcium carbonate. It has a full list of micro and macro nutrients, PM me if you want to find a source.

I have in the past used Miracle Grow, Mira Acid, Dyna Gro, Peters, Fish Emulsion and many other brands. They all can be made to work well. Some are definitely better than others. But all can be made to work.
 
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#4
I use the K-Lite version of the MSU Metro Mix Orchid Fertilizer, 12-1-4. It is a lower level of potassium for continuous feeding indoors and or for hydroponics. It also has the Calcium & Magnesium supplement adjusted lower, to work in concert with municipal tap water with an alkalinity of 200 ppm as calcium carbonate. It has a full list of micro and macro nutrients, PM me if you want to find a source.

I have in the past used Miracle Grow, Mira Acid, Dyna Gro, Peters, Fish Emulsion and many other brands. They all can be made to work well. Some are definitely better than others. But all can be made to work.
I have a couple of orchids in my bonsai display and I remember you posting that you have orchids as well @Leo in N E Illinois.

I'm currently using Miracle Gro Orchid Spikes for the orchids and I'm trying to make them bloom again. Does choice of fertilizer have much to do with them blooming or is there something else that would make them bloom?
 
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#5
I have a couple of orchids in my bonsai display and I remember you posting that you have orchids as well @Leo in N E Illinois.

I'm currently using Miracle Gro Orchid Spikes for the orchids and I'm trying to make them bloom again. Does choice of fertilizer have much to do with them blooming or is there something else that would make them bloom?
Making an orchid rebloom is a matter of getting ''the list'' in the ''good enough'' range. Fertilizer is low in priority on ''the list'' but it does play a role. If you totally stopped fertilizing your orchids, they would continue to bloom, for a number of years, but by the time you get to 10 years without fertilizer you would be wondering why your orchids never bloom anymore, and why they seem to be getting smaller and smaller. Orchids don't need much fertilizer to get by. A little more than the bare minimum will give you a nice robust blooming. Too much fertilizer will kill them. It is far better to error on the too little side of the fertilizer balance versus too much. I personally am not a big fan of the fertilizer sticks. For orchids I prefer the liquid fertilizers. I believe the liquids give me better control over both concentration of the solution and the frequency. Once a stick of fertilizer is in a pot, you don't know how much is dissolving on any given day. Miracle Gro soluble fertilizer, where you make up the solution is just fine. I would just avoid the solid fertilizers. This also applies to the pelletized fertilizers, for orchids they can present problems.

To rebloom a Phalaenopsis orchid you got to get the list in the good enough range
Light - bright shade, roughly 1000 foot candles to 2500 foot candles
Water - they want to be watered, where the entire root ball gets soaked, then slowly dry out to just about dry, not bone dry, just barely damp. Then watered again. - in a bark mix this might be every 3 to 7 days, in long fiber sphagnum this might be once a week to once every 2 weeks. You must change your frequency of watering with the changes in weather.

Humidity, - always above 20%, ideally above 40% up to about 80%. Higher than 50% indoors is simply not practical. The humidity above 50% will melt the wallpaper off the walls, your paint will bubble and pop off, black mold will begin on your window mullions, and sashes. and the house will slowly crumble and decay. But getting humidity above 20 or 25% is not too hard to do and will definitely help the orchid.

Temperature - Phalaenopsis (Phals for short) Like temperatures above 60 F, and below 95 F, they like the daytime to be 10 to 20 F warmer than night time. This happens naturally by picking the right spot in your house.

Fertilizer, as discussed above - you need at least a little, but too much can be catastrophic, so it is better to error on the too little than the too much. The perfect fertilizer should be around 12-1-4, but the plants can't read the labels, other formulations can give relatively good results.
 
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#6
Making an orchid rebloom is a matter of getting ''the list'' in the ''good enough'' range. Fertilizer is low in priority on ''the list'' but it does play a role. If you totally stopped fertilizing your orchids, they would continue to bloom, for a number of years, but by the time you get to 10 years without fertilizer you would be wondering why your orchids never bloom anymore, and why they seem to be getting smaller and smaller. Orchids don't need much fertilizer to get by. A little more than the bare minimum will give you a nice robust blooming. Too much fertilizer will kill them. It is far better to error on the too little side of the fertilizer balance versus too much. I personally am not a big fan of the fertilizer sticks. For orchids I prefer the liquid fertilizers. I believe the liquids give me better control over both concentration of the solution and the frequency. Once a stick of fertilizer is in a pot, you don't know how much is dissolving on any given day. Miracle Gro soluble fertilizer, where you make up the solution is just fine. I would just avoid the solid fertilizers. This also applies to the pelletized fertilizers, for orchids they can present problems.

To rebloom a Phalaenopsis orchid you got to get the list in the good enough range
Light - bright shade, roughly 1000 foot candles to 2500 foot candles
Water - they want to be watered, where the entire root ball gets soaked, then slowly dry out to just about dry, not bone dry, just barely damp. Then watered again. - in a bark mix this might be every 3 to 7 days, in long fiber sphagnum this might be once a week to once every 2 weeks. You must change your frequency of watering with the changes in weather.

Humidity, - always above 20%, ideally above 40% up to about 80%. Higher than 50% indoors is simply not practical. The humidity above 50% will melt the wallpaper off the walls, your paint will bubble and pop off, black mold will begin on your window mullions, and sashes. and the house will slowly crumble and decay. But getting humidity above 20 or 25% is not too hard to do and will definitely help the orchid.

Temperature - Phalaenopsis (Phals for short) Like temperatures above 60 F, and below 95 F, they like the daytime to be 10 to 20 F warmer than night time. This happens naturally by picking the right spot in your house.

Fertilizer, as discussed above - you need at least a little, but too much can be catastrophic, so it is better to error on the too little than the too much. The perfect fertilizer should be around 12-1-4, but the plants can't read the labels, other formulations can give relatively good results.
Great write up!!! I'm not sure what kind of orchids they are, but the blooms are SUPER small, less than 1", roughly about the size of a nickel. They were given to me by a lady I met at my local nursery.

They smell great when they are in bloom and the leaves are long, slender, and grow out of each other. Check out the picture below, they are on the top right and bottom off-center...

Bonsai Display.jpg
Light: Mine are right in my bonsai display rack getting 16 hours of light per day via grow lights, I would now assume this is too much.

Water: I water them every 3 days on a schedule and when I water, I flood the pots and let them drain fully. They are in a bark mix currently.

Humidity: Humidity is pretty high as I have them sitting on the same rock and water filled boot trays that the trees are sitting on, Humidity in that area is around 50 - 60% as long as I keep the trays watered.

Temperature: The temperature in that area is 72-75 degrees at all times so I will have to find an area in the house where the temperature changes as you mentioned.

Fertilizer: I will also be switching to liquid fertilizer because the spikes don't really seem to be doing much. Just sitting there barely dissolving and the plants are showing no change whatsoever.
 

Anthony

Imperial Masterpiece
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#7
The guide -

***We grow our bonsai for BEAUTY, noi lumber or produce._****

That said ------ fat trunks --------- need ground growing.

Refinement boxes - are for branchlets - uses oil seed meal,
NPK - around 8 to 6 N and P/K 2 to 4 and there should
be naturally included micro-nutrients.

That said Miracle Gro's orchid food is around 36 N and as
Leo said orchids don't need much.
In fact on our side Nature fertilises the orchids - bird poop
etc. Plus coconut husks.

So when you refine ------- thin the Moracle Gro Orchid to
give say 6 N......
Good Day
Anthony
 
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#8
Ah, you don't have Phalaenopsis. I believe you have Dendrobium. Different family of orchids, but by and large, not hard to grow, just a little different. I believe there is a good chance your Dendrobiums (Den for short), are hybrids that include Dendrobium kingianum in the background. This species is native to northern Australia, Queensland. They love a hot, steamy humid & wet summer, with as much sun as possible. And they like a cooler, dryer, winter. What I have done with mine is outside for summer, indoors for winter.
In summer, I put it out in part shade for 2 weeks, then move it to full sun. The foliage should get enough sun that it turns reddish or yellowish. Leave the Dendrobium outside until weather cools, into the low 50's F at night. Let them get a week or two in the lower 50's F to upper 40's at night. Should you accidentally get a light frost don't worry about it. Then bring the Dendrobium inside. Your light garden is bright enough for the winter. During the winter don't worry about temperature or humidity, your current range is just fine. We took care of the need for wide temperature changes while outside.

Here is the trick for the ''hard cane'' type Dendrobium orchids, this works for D. kingianum hybrids and D. nobile hybrids. Look at the top of each new growth for the year. If there is a blunt end of the ''cane'' (pseudobulb) just a little round blunt end, then the cane is fully mature. If there are the beginnings of new leaves, pointy tuft of leaves, then the cane is not mature. This is a little difficult to see with kingianum hybrids, but you can see it.
This is for the newest growths, that have not bloomed yet.
Canes not mature - keep watering exactly as you have been. Sometimes it take 2 years to mature a cane.
Canes mature - you see the end. - time for a dry spell.

If it is time for a dry spell, your plants are big enough you can simply stop watering, just leave them dry until you see signs of flower buds coming, or you see new shoots starting at the base of the plant. This can be a 3 month or 4 month dry spell. Or it can be as little as a couple weeks. The plant will tell you where it is at on its growth cycle.

If you can't stand the idea of letting the Dendrobium go months without water, for D. kingianum hybrids you can give them water maybe once a week. That is wet, to dry, stay dry several days then water. (D. nobile hybrids really need to stay dry)

If you have a mix, where some canes are fully mature but haven't bloomed, and some canes that are not mature yet, still have tufts of leaves. When you are in this situation, the water maybe once a week or so is fine. Personally, I just dry it out and don't water at all. But others have gotten okay results by allow 3 to 7 days bone dry between watering.

Fertilizer. - for best blooming of D. kingianum hybrids, Fertilize from after blooming or when new growth starts in spring, or by the spring Equinox, through to the Summer Solstice - or 4th of July. Then no fertilizer until next spring. Too much fertilizer blocks formation of flower buds. So 3/4's of the year they get no fertilizer.

So those are the tricks I know that will work to trigger blooming in a mature Dendrobium kingianum or nobile hybrid. Dendrobium kingianum is adaptable enough that you don't necessarily have to follow what I suggested to get blooms. But my suggestions will work fairly reliably. The key triggers for blooming once a Dendrobium is healthy enough and mature enough to bloom seem to be # 1.) a dry, or dry-ish spell, #2.) a lack of fertilizer during bud initiation.
 

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