Watering Orchids: Ice Cubes

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Watering Orchids

By Robynznest
March 2, 2013

When watering my orchids, I count to 3 while slowly pouring. This tip keeps me from over-watering.

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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Mar 1, 2013 9:28 PM CST
The grower that supplies the Orchids where I work recommends giving them 3 ice cubes a week to control the watering.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 2, 2013 6:57 AM CST
That works OK with a few small pots, but I have some pots (actually baskets) that are a whopping 18"x12". How many ice cubes would I need for those pots? Additionally, I have over 200 orchid plants, so I would need an ice-house to satisfy their needs! Hilarious! Ken in Mississippi
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 2, 2013 10:03 PM CST
Putting ice cubes on orchids that grow in warm climates is just foolish. I think those growers who recommend that method are trying to make you kill off your orchid so you will buy another one.

I always let the rainwater for my orchids warm up in the sun before I pour it over them. In summer I dunk each one in a tub of warm rainwater once a week. As long as they have good drainage and the proper medium so they will dry out again, they do very well. I have 90 orchids and have only lost a couple to black rot, after TS Debbie did a little bit of "overwatering" for me.

Those Phals they sell at HD with the sign saying "3 ice cubes a week" are potted in wads of soggy sphagnum moss anyway. They'll most likely die no matter how you water them.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 3, 2013 7:43 AM CST
Elaine, you are exactly right about buying Phals at big box stores. I give lectures to garden clubs and master gardener groups, and if the lecture concerns orchids, the first thing I tell the group is that IF you buy an orchid plant from ANY big box store, as soon as you get it home, remove it from its pot and see what it is planted in. I tell them that 9 out of 10 times, the plant will be sphagnum moss and nothing else. I show them what a good orchid mix looks like and tell them that's what they should repot their orchids with. There is a good reason these plants are in sphagnum moss, but that's a story for another day. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Mar 3, 2013 9:11 PM CST
I'm sure it is a way to show the average person who only has a couple of them or if it is their first one to restrict the amount of water given. The cold has never bothered them at all. I have done this a number of times when I just do not have the time to put them in the sink and I have them for years. How the plants come all depends on which grower the different stores use. I have seen some in moss at some stores but all I have seen where I work have been in a bark orchid mix.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 4, 2013 8:40 AM CST
Bob, the only store in the vicintity that sells orchid plants is Lowe's and occasionally Wal Mart might have a few. I live in a small college town and the closest "real" city is 125 miles away. I visit our Lowe's at least every couple of weeks and during the spring and summer, probably go there every week. I always check on what orchid plants they have for sale. 90% of the time it will be Phal. and every single one I have seen there over the last five years is growing in 100% spaghanum moss. 10% of the time there will be a handful of cattleya alliance plants, and they are always bare-root. That's simply my own experience and I know living in a small town is nothing like living in a city. I wish we had other options (orchid shows!) but we don't. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 4, 2013 3:21 PM CST
I would not really recommend watering with ice cubes..it is not enough. Though I did try it, on one of my noid Phals. It did not harm it, I guess because I did it during summer, when it was just way too warm and very dry indoors or outdoors, so the cooling effect of those ice cubes may have been good for it. It actually triggered my Phal to do a bloom spike in summer. I just have to make sure then to rest the ice cube on the bark media, and not on any exposed root. I guess Phals can handle it, since it does need to feel cool temps to induce it to spike. I do not think it will be good to do during the colder season, since interval of watering during colder season should be more spaced apart.

But I did not repeat it anymore, just wanted to see if there is some truth in watering with ice cubes. It still makes more sense to dunk the orchid roots or really pour water on the root zone and allow it to go near dry before watering again.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 4, 2013 4:17 PM CST
I agree
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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NJBob
Mar 4, 2013 6:58 PM CST
With Lowe's and Home Depot different stores have different growers My HD has different growers then the one a few towns away. At the HD I am at we generally have between 50 and 100 Orchid plants , but they are almost always Phal. This area is not city at all , it is over an hour from the city. It is part of the Appalachian Mountains with farmland and watershed. There is an Orchid show at the fairgrounds each year and one at one of the larger garden centers the next county over. Up above you mentioned that they had a reason for putting them in moss , if you have the time could you explain I would like to know? Thanks.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Mar 4, 2013 8:58 PM CST
Sure. Since it might take weeks to get these plants, usually Phals. on the big-box store shelves, the grower or perhaps a middle-man, puts all the plants in sphaghum moss so that moisture will remain around the roots. Fir bark, or anything else for that matter, would dry out so fast that the plants would be dying by the time they were sold. It makes sense to do it that way but there should always be a disclaimer with the plant telling the purchaser to remove the moss and replace it with proper orchid mix. I have never seen that disclaimer and am quite sure no grower (or "potter") does that. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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NJBob
Mar 4, 2013 9:22 PM CST
Good to know. I want to be able to give the correct Info when I get questions about them. I guess ours comes in Orchid Mix because the grower is only a couple of hours away and they send a rep. every other day to care for the plants.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Mar 5, 2013 7:23 AM CST
You are exactly right about that. Having a close shipper AND someone to looks after everything is so, so nice. Lowe's doesn't work that way. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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