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using mint leaves/tea as orchid fertilizer?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by jai, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    Has anyone ever tried to use mint as a organic fertilizer for orchids?
     
  2. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's one I've never heard of.
     
  3. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Jai, I put coffee grounds and tea leaves in my outside garden beds and they add good organics to the soil. I have never tried using tea or mint as a fertilizer for my orchids. There are lots of theories about using coffee to kill bush snails due to the caffeine content.

    Personally, I want to know that I am giving my orchid plants the nutrients they need (at least to the best of my knowledge and the labelling on the container). Unless you have an analysis done, using any homemade concoction would be guess work and inconsistent between batches. Also, for many of us the quantity required would be daunting. There are almost always organic alternatives for everything. However, I would rather take an aspirin than chew on willow bark ;)

    Now, with all that said, try it (on an expendable plant). You might discover something wonderful and teach us all how to do it :).
     
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  4. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    I will try it, I have alot of it growing in pots and no use for it, i normally use a store bought orchid fertilizer but i was just thinking outside the box.
     
  5. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    does anyone want any I could send you fresh cuttings or rooted for free? It is chocolate mint.
     
  6. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    Jai, I would suggest that if you can't find that someone somewhere is currently using something in orchid culture, it probably isn't a great idea. People have been growing orchids for a long time and have most things figured out. No need to reinvent the wheel. You seem to just be trying to using random things like mint tea or shark cartliage just because they are around.
     
  7. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    I have not tried either for the unknown effects, and plan not to for that reason. I thought about trying it at first but decided that I would just go with the professionals tested products no sense in experimenting when thiers tested products already. I just brought up the question for conversation inspired by some questions and statements made on some other forums. I stick with miracle-gro liquid orchid food for my fertilizing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  8. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    What do you think would be available in either of those?
     
  9. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    When I thought about using them: the mint would be good for nitrogen because of its high levels it contains and the cartliage I thought would be good for calcium and phosphate since it stores heavy amounts of those two items when in the body. But unable to know how much of each is releasing could could result in unknown side effects.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    If any of those nutrients are tied up with the cellulose, it would take a very long time for that to break down and release them.

    The scenario I foresee is an undernourished plant attempting to grow in a sludge of leaf bits.
     
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  11. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    I agree ray, that's why I threw the idea out the window.
     
  12. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Some essential oils from herbs (including mint) have anti fungal effect. But you need to extract in certain way, I believe.

    There is a couple scientific paper showing that combining organic fertilizer + chemical fertilizer is better than each by itself for orchids (I think they used Cattleya). In other country (e.g. Japan and Brazil), they seem to use both for orchids, but in the US, organic fertilizer isn't popular for orchids. I tried a little bit, but I feel that I have less control with organic fertilizer (the solid kind), and it may require quite a bit of experience.

    With a related note, you can try worm composting. I haven't found an experiment in orchids, but there are quite a bit of evidence showing that it would be beneficial (both disease resistance and nutritional effect).

    Or you can use EM-1 (effective microbe) or Inocucor to produce "Bokashi" (organic fertilizer based on decomposed organic matters).

    Putting fresh mint won't do much without composting. Some free-form mineral nutrients like K would leak out, but N is mostly bound to protein or nucleic acids. You need to at least break them down to amino acids (orchids seem to be able to take up some amino acids).
     
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  13. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    Could heating them up to a high tempt help break them down to amino acids?
     
  14. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it will. But I don't know how much of it will be available to plants. A big denatured protein chunks which aren't completely chopped up is likely not to be absorbed.
     
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  15. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Wouldn't heating to a high temp destroy the amino acids?
     
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  16. rinsh

    rinsh New Member

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    That's something I've never heard of !!