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Fertilize with tea?

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by judypots, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. judypots

    judypots Member

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    Hi all,
    So I'm in the process of rehydrating a phal. using the tea method in some Youtube videos and it seems to be working well. Since using a weak tea solution works with rehydrating, does anyone ever fertilize with a weak tea solution - say once a month or so? If so, would you include the other fertilizers normally used? Currently I use a quarter teaspoon of African Violet fertilizer I have on hand along with 2 Tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide per gallon of water once a week or so.
     
  2. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    Never heard of using tea as a fertilizer or in combination with fertilizer. The main components of tea are catechins and caffeine, none of which has any role in rehydrating plants or, as far as I know, in fertilizing them. In fact using anything other than water might run the risk of further dehydrating the plants if the osmotic concentration of the solution used is higher than those of the tissues of the plant. Using tea along with a fertilizer applied at the proper dose is not something anyone I know does. You see, with orchids more is not better or more advantageous since too much fertilizer might burn or dry up the roots. All you need to rehydrate a plant is plain water.
     
  3. judypots

    judypots Member

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    Thanks Ricardo. Here is the URL for the Youtube video using the tea method for rehydrating: . There was another video using it as well. I've been doing it for about a week and it seems to be working. The plant is looking more and more hydrated. Anyone else out there who's tried it?
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    There are several things wrong in that video, starting with bending the leaves. Even in a flaccid leaf, that may cause cellular damage that won't show up for a long time.

    That business about cutting spikes above a node, as it blocks progression of a possible infection, needs to be scraped up off the barn floor. In the case of that video, no infection will be spread because the tissue is dead. Pathogens don't infect dead tissue. Had that spike still been green, the living tissue - nodes or not - can certainly harbor and transfer pathogens - that's why we use sterile tools.

    Tannins are acids of complex polyphenols. There is some evidence that some tannins can induce rooting, but there is no scientific evidence that those derived from Camellia sinensis (tea) do so. What they might do (stressing the "might") however, is suppress microorganisms that lead to rot.

    As far as the rehydration process, Ricardo nailed it. It's water that does that, not the tea. Had that entire process been done without the tea, the results would have been identical.
     
    ChemMonster and Ricardo like this.
  5. judypots

    judypots Member

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    Thanks for the info. I wonder where the stuff about the tea originally came from?
     
  6. ChemMonster

    ChemMonster New Member

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    I’m going to guess that the idea to soak orchids in tea to stimulate root growth comes from another video on YouTube that uses a piece of “cholla wood” [sic?] as a source of tannins, and he suggests that using a tea bag is also a source of tannins. The creator’s channel is called “Taming the Orchid” and the video in question is called “How I Make Orchid Roots Grow”. I’m not here to criticize him, though…since his video has more than ¾ million views, which is not insignificant, this may be another place where people are getting the idea about tea, Ms. Judy. I also noticed that he has his H2O2 in a clear spray bottle, and he mentioned something about mixing it with water. If his hydrogen peroxide is stored in a clear container, there’s no need to add water, because UV light (and heat) will hasten the decomposition of it back into water and oxygen. But, the water and oxygen are both in their pure forms!
     
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  7. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    If I want to stimulate root growth in my orchids, I use a solution of phosphate and potassium. It works well. Tannins, as far as I know, have no role in stimulating root growth in plants. It is important to note that root initiation in orchids is dependent on seasonal cycles, the growth stage of the plant, the particular genus and species and the availability of nutrients. You can shower a dormant plant with all the fertilizer and water in the world and the most likely result will be rot, not root growth. The number of views on a video is not a proxy for quality. I have seen videos on Youtube with many views but with such misguided, and wrong advice that it has made me shudder. And don't get me started on the people that sing the praises of watering with ice cubes.