Orchid Growth and Nutrition in Response to Mineral and Organic Fertilizers 1609

Abstract

Orchid fertilization is fundamental for a satisfactory plant growth and development for commercial orchid production as well as in collections. Mineral and/or organic sources can be used for fertilization. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of the use of organic and/or mineral fertilizers on the nutrition and growth of orchid (Laelia purpurata ‘werkhanserii’ x L. lobata ‘Jeni’) seedlings in greenhouse. The following fertilizers were tested: an NPK fertilizer + micronutrients; a Ca source in the form of calcium nitrate; two organic fertilizers, one prepared with a mixture of bone meal, castor meal and ash, and a similar commercial fertilizer. The organic fertilizers were distributed on the surface of the pots every two months and the minerals were applied weekly to the substrate in 25 mL aliquots of a solution containing 1 g L-1 of the respective fertilizer. The plant response to the application of mineral together with organic fertilizer was better, with higher dry matter production than by the isolated application of each fertilizer (organic or mineral). The treatments with calcium nitrate + NPK fertilizer did not differ significantly from the use of NPK fertilizer, probably due to the S deficiency detected in a mineral analysis of the tissues. Commercial organic fertilizer had a very elevated B level, leading to toxicity symptoms, reduced growth and necrotized tips of the older leaves in all fertilized treatments.

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