Hydroponic Fertilizer Experiment: The Final Update

Back in February, we started our experiment to test how Heavy 16 fertilizers and APTUS additives performed compared to General Hydroponics’ Flora Duo. We have been growing Trinidad Scorpion peppers using separate drip to waste reservoirs, feeding individual plants in the same 4′ x 4′ Botanicare grow tray. All of the plants are being lit by a single 400 watt High Pressure Sodium Hortilux SUPER HPS bulb. As a refresher, check out Update #1 and Update #2. After a little more than 3 months, we have had to end the experiment a bit early. While both fertilizers performed admirably, the experiment was hijacked by a massive number of aphids.

"Killer Aphids Invade Experiment"

“Killer Aphids Invade Experiment”

Final fresh weight results from the experiment

Final fresh weight results from the experiment!

Due to the fact that the aphids could not be controlled by organic pesticides, I have decided to end the experiment so as not to bias the results. The final results have been tallied, and the total fresh plant weight (weighing the stems, leaves, and flowers) is shown below. Thank you to all who voted for this experiment as well as those who have been following it diligently. If you have other experiments you would like to see performed, please email me at david@atlantishydroponics.com.

Orchid of the Week: Cirrhopetalum Lovely Elizabeth

cirrhopetalum lovely elizabeth

cirrhopetalum lovely elizabeth

When you see this orchid flower you may wonder if it is it real. It certainly doesn’t resemble any flowers you see in your day to day life, but there is something intriguing about it.Maybe it is the bold contrast of pink spotting on the cream background or the tapering slender flow of the flowers, possibly the unusually fimbriation on the top segment of the flower, or the gently bobbing hinged lip. Whatever it is about this flower that attracts or repels you, you certainly must agree it grabs your attention. Cirrhopetalum Lovely Elizabeth is a hybrid of Cirr. Elizabeth Anne crossed with Cirr. rothschildianum. It blooms only once a year, but because it makes several growths each year when grown well, it is capable of putting on quite a show! 

Required Light: In the greenhouse I use 50% shade cloth and have it in a spot where it gets mostly morning and afternoon sun but not Midday.  Under artificial lights like T5 fluorescents I recommend it be 16” underneath at least two 4 foot T5 bulbs.

Temperature: This orchid prefers night-time temperatures to be between 65° F – 75° F. Daytime temperatures can easily reach the mid 90’s without causing a problem.

Humidity: Best kept at 60% RH or higher.

Required Watering: Depending on environmental factors, twice a week or more under normal conditions. More waterings are generally necessary when it is hotter in the growing environment. Clean water is preferred by this orchid genus of orchids so a Reverse Osmosis water filter may be necessary depending on your water quality.

Fertilizer: Should be applied at ¼ strength weekly. I prefer to use the Grow More brand of fertilizers.

Potting: Should be done annually as you see new roots just starting to emerge from the newest pseudoblulbs. I use a mixture of 4 parts coconut husk chips, 2 parts #4 Perlite, and 1 part Hydroton. Also I prefer plastic pots as they will not dry out as fast allowing the roots to stay comfortably moist.

To learn more about orchids and orchid growing contact the American Orchid Society or your local Orchid Society.