In this guide we’ll take a look at the best orchid foods for the UK market.
I’ve compared nutritional value, effectiveness, sprayer design and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best Orchid Food?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Plant food to dramatically improve orchid growth and health!
This Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Concentrate comes in a 236 ml bottle with a pump dispenser to make it easy to get the right dilution. It contains 9 essential nutrients to promote plant growth and health, including phosphorus and potassium. Only 1 pump is required for 1 L of water.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Orchid Food Reviews
Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Concentrate Review
This Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Concentrate comes in a 236 ml bottle with a pump dispenser which makes it easy to use just the right amount of fertiliser.
The instructions suggest using 1 pump per litre of water and to water every week during the growing season.
Obviously, 1 L is quite a lot of water, so if you only have a few orchids you might want to make up a batch in a separate bottle and use this to save wasting water. If you prefer to feed your plants bi weekly, you should add 2 pumps to 1 L of water.
The food contains a blend of 9 essential nutrients, with just the right balance to encourage orchids to flower; it is lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous and potassium.
Within two weeks of using this food, the two orchids I tested it on were looking healthier. The leaves had more shine and were plumper than before. After the fourth week, I had two new flower spikes emerging on one. The other one was already in flower and I am sure that the flowers lasted longer than they had previously done.
I was amazed at how quickly this orchid food worked and I’m really happy that my orchids seem to love it so much. This food is also excellent value for money, and in my opinion is the best orchid food on the market.
Baby Bio Orchid Food Review
The Baby Bio Orchid Food is smaller than the Miracle-Gro, however, you use less of it, so it still works out at good value for money.
The directions recommend that you add 5-10 drops to ½ litre of water and use this every time you water during the growing season.
This food soon began to work, and my orchids looked healthier and had glossy, plump leaves after about three weeks of feeding. After using this product for about six weeks, I noticed some new flower shoots on both of my orchids, too.
This orchid food worked well, is simple to use and good value for money. It is ideal if you only have a few orchids as you can mix it in a small amount of water to save waste.
Growth Technology Orchid Focus Bloom Review
This Growth Technology Orchid Focus Bloom contains high levels of phosphorus and potassium to support and prolong heavy flowering. It also contains humic and fulvic acids for healthy growth.
The food is easy to use: simply mix 1 tsp. of product with 2 L of water.
I found that my orchids looked much healthier within two weeks of using this food and one had a new flower spike emerging after about five weeks.
This is a great value product that would be ideal if you had a lot of orchids to feed.
Growth Technology Orchid Myst Spray Review
This orchid mist is very simple to use. You simply spray a few squirts onto the plant every few days during the growing season. The mist contains all the nutrients your orchids need, and the spray is designed to replicate the nutritional environment of these plants in the wild.
Using a mist spray helps prevent waterlogging the roots and also adds humidity which orchids love. You can mist this spray onto the leaves and also the exposed roots of your plant.
This Growth Technology Orchid Myst Spray is easy to use, and I found it quite handy to be able to water and fertilise my plants separately. My orchids also seem to like the extra humidity from the mist and the foliage looks exceptionally healthy with lovely bright green, glossy leaves.
After about two months of use, both of my orchids began to develop new flower spikes. One orchid was already in flower when I started using it, and the flowers lasted a long time before drooping and dropping off.
The 300ml bottle will probably last me through the growing season on the two plants I am using it on.
I found this orchid food took a little longer to work than the Miracle-Gro, particularly on the orchid that had no flowers, but both plants look really healthy now.
Baby Bio Orchid Drip Feeders Review
These Baby Bio Orchid Drip Feeders are really convenient to use as you simply pull off the cap and push the feeder into the orchid pot. Each drip feeder lasts for four weeks.
The drip feeders are the perfect solution if you are unsure about how often to feed your orchid and how much to feed them as this has all been worked out for you.
The feeders get to work quickly, and my two orchids were looking healthier than they ever had after just a couple of weeks. After another two weeks, I had a new flower spike on one of them, too.
This orchid food works out a little more expensive than a bottle of orchid food, however for sixteen weeks of convenient fertiliser for one plant they are pretty good value for money.
This is a really convenient way to feed your orchids and is ideal if you only have one or two orchids as there is no waste. It’s the best orchid food if you’re looking for a truly no-fuss solution to feeding your plants.
Things to Know Before Buying Orchid Food
Orchids are widely available and easy to grow (with a little know how!), making them perfect for both beginner and experienced gardeners.
Choosing a plant food specifically designed for orchids is a great way to keep yours healthy and to encourage plenty of new flowers.
Naturally, you’re going to want to find the best orchid food to make your life easier, and keep your plants blooming. So, the following tips should help you make an informed decision:
Using orchid food is a great way to encourage your orchids to grow stronger and healthier. However, if you don’t have the right conditions to begin with, orchids can be a tricky plant to grow.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how to properly care for an orchid plant:
It is of paramount importance to now water an orchid too often. Insert your little finger several centimetres into the pot to ascertain how damp the soil is. If it is wet or damp, the orchid doesn’t require watering. If it’s dry – it’s time to water.
Try to use distilled water to water your orchid.
You can water by submerging – leaving the orchid to sit in water for 10 – 15 minutes and then allowing it to drain for 5 minutes before pouring the remaining water out. Possibly around once a week.
Water using ice cubes – if it is not winter or too cold, one ice cube twice a week can be placed under the leaves, on top of the potting bark. Remove excess water if you notice any pooling.
Water using a watering can – water sparingly and avoid getting water on the plant. You want to be aiming for the roots.
Humidity and Sunlight
Orchids are originally from humid environments, so keeping the atmosphere humid helps them thrive. Misting can help recreate this humidity. It must be done with a very fine mist, and be wary not to overwater even when misting.
Be sure to keep your orchid out of direct sunlight. This can’t be stressed enough! Your orchid needs indirect sunlight and a consistent temperature (no drafts or radiators!) to thrive.
Feeding Your Orchid
- Don’t pour orchid food onto the leaves of the plant as it will scold them and do more damage than good!
- Be mindful to apply liquid food directly onto the soil, using a watering can with a narrow spout can help this.
- If your orchid is in a period of active growth, this is a great time to feed it.
Orchid feed comes in different forms. The most popular options are either concentrate (which will need diluting), misters or drip feeders.
These are the most fiddly to use, as they require diluting before use. However, they tend to be the best value for money and are usually very effective.
Look for a handy pump dispenser that allows you to easily dispense the correct amount of fertiliser. This will stop you having to work out the measurements yourself. In some of the products I have reviewed below it’s as easy as ‘1 pump per 1 L of water’.
Misting sprays are very easy to use, simply spray a few squirts onto the plant every couple of days. They also help add humidity to the plant. I have found a combination of diluted product and mister work very well in the growing season, providing enough nutrients with little chance of overwatering.
If you are not a confident orchid grower, or you’re just looking for a fuss-free orchid-feeding route, a drip-feeder is a really convenient and reliable option. You can set a drip feeder running and not have to give orchid fertilization a second thought until it runs out.
Drip feeders can also be a good choice if you’re going away on holiday and are looking for something to tide your plants over.
Many people choose to simply feed their orchids using normal houseplant food. However, these don’t tend to have quite the right formula for orchids, and won’t give your plant the ‘oomph’ that you’re looking for.
Complete orchid feeds contain a huge range of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This is often referred to as ‘NPK’ because of their chemical symbols.
Sometimes fertilisers can be ‘NPK 20-20-20’ meaning they have equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. However, orchids don’t require as much nitrogen, and orchid feeds tend to have different NPK mixes to normal plant foods.
For example, the Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Concentrate is NPK 4/4.5/8 – it has twice as much potassium as nitrogen. This is a good mix for keeping an orchid healthy.
To have your orchids looking their very best, I highly recommend using a specially designed orchid feed.
Most orchid feeds contain a diverse range of nutrients and a specially designed formula. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the three main nutrients required by plants.
It can help to know what each nutrient is beneficial for, as sometimes different strength formulas can be more beneficial at different moments in the growing cycle.
Nitrogen tends to encourage new growth. This is good if you have a very sparse plant, but once your orchid has the necessary leaves and shoots it is not beneficial to feed it large amounts of nitrogen.
Phosphorous is good for the roots of a plant and to encourage flowering. This is why it can be especially good to feed your orchid when you notice that it is in an ‘active growth’ stage, as you will be giving it the nutrients needed to flower.
Potassium also adds a bit of a boost to flowering orchids. Not only that, but it promotes overall plant health. As a result, potassium is a really valuable to orchids.
Most orchid feeds are designed to deliver essential nutrients there and then, but it may take a couple of weeks to see results.
The fastest-acting orchid feed can transform your orchids in just a few days, although it may take up to 3 weeks before you notice a difference with the slower acting feed.
Orchid Food FAQs
Orchids do not like to sit in water and their roots may rot in wet compost. You should water then about once a week but ensure that you allow excess water to drain away thoroughly. Ideally, use tepid rainwater, or distilled water.
Orchids also like high humidity. To increase humidity you can mist them, or sit their pots on a wide saucer of gravel half-filled with water to act as a humidifier.
Different types of orchids have different nutrient requirements; however, most are not particularly heavy feeders. As a general rule, feed with a liquid orchid fertiliser every other watering during the growing season.
Many orchids need a rest period, usually during the winter months, when watering and feeding should be reduced.
You can do this, and it will probably keep your orchid alive and flowering. However, complete orchid foods have added micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, boron and copper that these plants require in small amounts for optimal health.
It is a good idea to use a specific orchid food at least once a month to ensure your plant gets the full range of nutrients it needs.
Try to find a bright place out of direct sunlight for your orchid. Near a north facing window usually suits them very well. Most orchids like daytime temperatures of about 21°C and a night time temperature of between 13 and 15°C.