If you have a delicate-looking orchid as a houseplant, it can be even more difficult to provide the correct quantity of moisture for it. It’s easy to get carried away with the beautiful, butterfly-like flowers of your orchids and overwater them. The most prevalent cause of death for indoor orchids is over-watering. Using ice cubes to water your orchids has been suggested as a way to avoid overwatering. However, does it actually work? Isn’t it possible that these tropical plants will be damaged by the cold? You can use this method to keep your orchids fully hydrated, according to the latest research.
Why Ice Cubes Work for Orchids
Because tropical plants normally do not do well in freezing conditions, the idea of watering orchids with ice cubes may appear odd. However, the Just Add Ice Orchids brand found that using ice cubes to water orchids caused no harm and makes caring for these plants a little more convenient.
Marcel Boonekamp, director of growing for Just Add Ice, says the biggest issue for orchid plant parents is ensuring that their plants receive the right quantity of water without over or underwatering. The three-ice-cube-watering method was devised by Boonekamp and the team to provide gardeners with a measured and ultra-simple method of watering orchids.
OSU and UGA researchers have conducted trials to find out conclusively if you can water your orchid using ice cubes. Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) were placed in two groups, one receiving three ice cubes per week and the other receiving the same amount of water each week. The general health of the plants in both groups was identical, demonstrating that using ice cubes to water orchids is an effective and safe method. It’s feasible to use ice to hydrate other varieties of orchids as well, even if the trial only featured moth orchids.
How to Water Orchids with Ice
It’s much easier to keep the water from dripping out of your orchid’s pot than to let it soak through the bark chips or sphagnum moss it’s grown in, so just add three ice cubes on top of it. The roots and media will soak up the water as it melts. (Ice cube irrigation normally doesn’t result in any more water pouring out.) Because ice melts so quickly, the cold won’t harm your plant. During the melting process, the researchers found that the bark media temperature only decreased a few degrees, not enough to injure the roots.
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According to their environment and the type of growing media used, your orchids may require a different amount of water than you think (moss holds onto moisture longer than bark chips). Observe your plant to determine if three ice cubes each week appears like adequate water, as suggested by the university study. Observing the roots is a simple method to tell. Silvery roots need water, whereas brilliant green roots are well-hydrated, according to Boonekamp. The color of the leaves can also serve as a clue. The leaves of plants that aren’t getting enough water will be wrinkled, drab, and limp.
When watering orchids with ice cubes, it’s best to check the medium before you add your three cubes. Make a small incision into the bark or moss with your finger. Don’t water just yet if you notice any wetness. Check back in a few days.
Ice for Other Houseplants?
This method of watering all plants is possible, but it’s not always practicable. For anthuriums, bonsai, and other varieties of bonsai, the Just Add Ice brand tested ice watering and discovered that it works well for these plants as well.
However, some large, established houseplants require more water than orchids, making ice watering onerous. Large houseplants should only be watered with a watering can. Houseplants should only be watered until the soil is dry to touch, and excess water should be let to drain from the root zone after watering. Root rot and other pest problems are more likely in an area with a wet root zone.
SHOULD I WATER MY ORCHID WITH ICE?
No, this is not the case.
No matter how much you try, watering your orchids (or any other houseplant) will really hurt them. Because of this.
If you’re a novice orchid grower, ice cubes may be your best bet for solving frequent problems. It has the following effects on an orchid plant:
- Keeping the soil moist but not soggy
- Getting Rid of Harmful Bacteria
- reviving a dormant orchid and causing it to bloom again
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of orchid experts vehemently disagree with this assertion.
When it comes to orchids, the thought of freezing them appears completely nonsensical.” According to the Oregon Orchid Society: “Phalaenopsis orchids, the primary orchid being marketed for enjoyment in ice-water culture, originate from Southeast Asia – a place that has probably not seen ice since the last Ice Age.”
ICE CUBES DO NOT PREVENT OVERWATERING IN ORCHIDS
They claim that overwatering is the most common cause of orchid death in the home. They believe this will never happen, however, because a few ice cubes gently melting and being absorbed by the potting compound all the way to the roots ensures a constant supply of water and optimal absorption.
It is true that overwatering can harm orchid plants, but it’s crucial to know what “overwatering” means for each individual orchid. While overwatering occurs when the roots of your orchid are always damp, this is the most common form of overwatering. It swiftly succumbs to decay because of the constant moisture in its roots.
Orchids thrive in humid conditions in their natural habitats, such as tropical woods. Expert orchid growers use the drenching method to replicate this environment. This entails watering a phalaenopsis orchid once a week and letting it dry up before watering again.
Unfortunately, you can’t just sprinkle a few ice cubes on your orchid plant whenever you feel like it and expect it to thrive.
THE TRUTH ABOUT ICE CUBES ORCHIDS
Poor drainage and the wrong potting material are two of the most common causes of overwatering in store-bought orchids.
The orchids you buy from florists who, of course, enthusiastically encourage the ice cube watering method sell low-cost, mass-produced orchid plants that come in inexpensive pots with poor drainage and dense moss. Even with only a small amount of watering, the potting compound will become soggy and the roots will rot if you use this mixture.
HOW TO WATER YOUR ORCHIDS PROPERLY
You should water your orchids liberally, but make sure the water drains out of the drainage holes and doesn’t become stagnant. When the potting material is totally dry, water your orchids.
Watering a day before the potting compound completely dries out is recommended by the American Orchid Society. You can use any one of three methods:
- See if the pot is incredibly light by lifting it (a sign of dryness)
- Test the material’s moisture content by poking it with your finger.
- To begin, use a pencil that has been sharpened. If the color darkens, it’s wet.
To learn more about orchid care, check out this article.
ICE CUBES DO NOT KILL BAD BACTERIA
At least, that’s what they said: freezing water destroys nasty bugs and protects your innocent orchid plant from fungal infection and other bacteria-borne ailments.
Almost none of this makes sense. It should be noted that orchid infections are spread by other plants rather than water. There are also various filtration processes that are superfluous and regarded dangerous for human consumption in the current water system in the country. There are no microbes of any kind in this environment.
ICE CUBES DO NOT MAKE ORCHID REBLOOM
Watering a dormant orchid with ice is said to have the same impact on an orchid plant as the cold weather does.
It’s not recommended by orchid experts and horticulturalists, as ice on an orchid plant can cause harm and infection.
During dormancy, your orchid is simply taking a rest. Allow nature to take its course. To encourage reblooming, reduce the temperature of your orchid plant. Cattleya, phalaenopsis, and oncidium orchids thrive in temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning and 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Just Add Ice orchids are a popular choice if you want to cultivate eye-catching and distinctive orchids that require little attention. Just Add Ice orchids have a blooming duration of up to four months, so you won’t have to worry about them dying out very soon. Orchids live for nine to fifteen months, depending on the variety.
You can also urge them to rebloom after the first cycle. Maintaining the ideal atmosphere for them, such as a greenhouse, will eventually result in gorgeous blooms.