What you absolutely cannot feed an orchid with: prohibited fertilisers

Moderation is important when feeding orchids

The Internet is bursting with life hacks on how to make organic fertiliser for orchids. But not all of them have passed a full safety check. The fact that a grower hasn't killed a flower with such fertilisation may mean that he has a very resilient plant that can survive such abuse. This is not to say that this is universal advice. Therefore, it is important to know which folk remedies should not be used to feed orchids.

OBOZREVATEL has compiled a list of such remedies. And tells you how best to feed the flower in reality.

Hydrogen peroxide

Recommendations are circulating online that call peroxide almost a miracle cure that feeds the flower and saves its roots from decay. In fact, this chemical is dangerous for an orchid even in a pharmacy concentration of 3%, and in a higher concentration, it is simply fatal. It damages the roots and can lead to the death of the plant.


Wood ash is a good fertiliser for some garden and horticultural crops, but not for orchids. In nature, this plant grows on tree bark and receives very little nutrition from such a substrate. The flower tolerates a lack of substances better than an excess of them. Therefore, ash that is very rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium can kill it.

Various herbal infusions

Organic fertilisers made from various herbs or fruits are a good idea in themselves. However, when they are made, it is impossible to calculate the amount of nutrients that will be included in the infusion, as well as the proportion. Therefore, there is a very high risk of overfeeding the flower and thus harming it.

Coffee grounds

The coffee grounds left over from brewing a drink are a really valuable source of nitrogen, which is essential for orchids to be healthy and bloom. However, the specific substrate in which the flower grows is not able to break down the grounds into the form of the substance that the plant metabolises. It does not contain the bacteria necessary for this. Therefore, at best, coffee will have no effect on the orchid. At worst, it will block water from reaching the roots of the plant, and then it all depends on the stage at which you notice the problem.

Universal fertilisers for flowering plants

Flowering plants that grow in ordinary soil have more or less the same nutrient requirements, so a universal fertiliser can be developed for them. However, orchids have completely different needs. Therefore, such care will be harmful and even dangerous for them.

What can you feed a plant with?

No matter how much you would like to do something for your favourite plant with your own hands, you can't think of anything better than ready-made orchid fertiliser. However, experienced growers advise to dilute it twice as much as the instructions recommend. After all, even a specially formulated composition can be too rich.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL published detailed instructions for caring for an orchid for beginners.

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