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High-value orchids excel with water-soluble Peters fertilisers at Double H Nurseries

Wowing the crowds inside The Great Conservatory at this year's RHS Chatsworth Flower Show was a memorable display of some 5,000 British-grown moth orchids (Phalaenopsis).

Grower, Howard Braime
Grower, Howard Braime

The green-walls feature was designed by award-winning floral designer Jonathan Moseley and saw 100 varieties mixed with other exotic foliage to form four colour-themed sections.

The display celebrated the historical connection between orchids and Chatsworth House – a stately home in Derbyshire belonging to the current Duke of Devonshire. During the nineteenth century, the house was home to one of the most extensive orchid collections in the UK as the sixth Duke of Devonshire and his head gardener at the time, Sir Joseph Paxton, were pioneers of orchid collecting.

Visitors to this June’s show could therefore reflect on this history as they absorbed the beauty of this particular species. These delicate flowers were grown by Hampshire-based Double H Nurseries, which supplies 4.5 million houseplants to its supermarket customers. A family business set up in 1961 by its namesakes Hugh Stevenson and Helmut Gimmler, the nursery grows 33,000 Phalaenopsis orchids a week (or 1.7 million a year) inside 2.6 hectares of state-of-the-art orchid houses.

Double H - Chatsworth display 

It is perhaps unsurprising that Double H’s high-quality orchids took centre stage at the show as the nursery uses the latest glasshouse technology and the best possible products for its plants. These include three water soluble fertilizers in the Peters range, which ICL’s technical manager Andrew Wilson describes as being "without doubt the best fertiliser, quality-wise, on the market."

Grower Howard Braime confirms that the products – which he has used for some ten years now – are reliable and easy to use. "Peters Professional stays consistent. Previously, we used a competitor’s product, which did not dissolve very well. But a fertilizer has got to work. That’s the main thing. Peter’s dissolves better than the competitor’s product. A lot of Dutch orchid nurseries use it and it was a Dutch advisor that recommended it to us."

Braime reveals that he uses Combi-Sol (6-18-36+3Mg), Foliar Feed (27-15-12 +TE) and Grow-Mix (21-7-21 +3MgO). These are mixed into a concentrated feed stock with the help of a Dutch Hoogendoorn computer. He says: "The computer adds to the irrigation water as required. So, at different stages we might put a bit more in. The computer just injects the feed into it."

ICL’s technical area sales manager Andy Hodges regularly visits Double H to check that the products are continuing to work well and to keep the nursery updated on ICL’s extensive fertilizer range. He says: "The Peters is range is very soluble and, with its high purity and low EC, it is ideal for high-value crops like orchids."

Arguably, the many healthy plants that were on display at Chatsworth – in addition to the thousands of Double H-grown orchids that are being enjoyed in our homes – are proof that this delicate species is getting the nutrition it requires.

  • This is content produced in partnership with ICL

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