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I can't explain this method of growing.

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by Greenie, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. Greenie

    Greenie New Member

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    I have been growing orchids for years. Last year a friend of mine purchased a phal. at some store . It wasn't in bloom when she purchased it. I asked her how she was taking care of it and not to overwater the plant. She said watering wasn't a problem because she puts ice cubes on top of the plant's media once a week. I told her that she wasn't supposed to do that. She said OK. I knew from her quick response that she wasn't going to change her watering method. About eight months ago she brought the plant to show me how it was doing. That plant had eight gigantic white blooms. She showed me the tag that came with the plant that says put ice cubes on the media. After a couple of months, the blooms faded away. She continued with her ice cube culture. Well, about two months ago I gave her a baby plant that hasn't bloomed and the mother plant put out that baby instead of buds. I have the name of the cross but no idea what color the blooms will be. The baby plant was putting out numerous healthy roots when I cut it and potted it up for her. The cross is a mini phal. I saw her today and she had both of her plants. Her white one was loaded with blooms and the baby had three small orange blooms. I was happy for her and I told her to keep doing what she was doing because it worked for her. I'm still not putting any ice cubes on my phals. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing because mine are thriving. I'm just surprised by the ice cube method of growing.
     
  2. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    You are surprised, while many other growers are "appalled" at the concept of putting ice on a tropical plant that would never see temperatures within 40°F of that low in the wild. However, the technique does have a significant "plus" for less-knowledgeable growers - a slow watering rate.

    Most growers don't grasp the significance of orchids needing air at their root systems, so when they water, they flood the pot. If the plant is in sphagnum or the medium has aged and decomposed, that can lead to waterlogging and root suffocation. With ice cubes, they slowly melt, allowing the water to trickle into the medium, spreading it by capillarity which keeps the air spaces open.
     
  3. Greenie

    Greenie New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I can see how the ice cube method may work. But I have one more question about that method. If ice cubes are placed on the roots above the growing media, wouldn't the ice cubes shock the heck out of those roots? I still can't grasp the benefits of this growing method other than seeing how this method could prevent a new grower from over watering their plants. A fellow orchid grower told me to look at Amazon where they sell phals. and state just add ice cubes to the plant. Another friend told me that there is an orchid company called Just Add Ice. I haven't searched for that place yet. Your response makes perfect sense to me and it has me thinking of trying this method with just one plant. I'll use a plant that was given to me from a friend who purchased it from a grocery store and is a NOID. If I notice even a slight sign that the orchid doesn't like the ice cube method, then it's going back with the others and back to the previous way it was grown. Thanks a lot for your interesting and helpful response.
     
  4. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    If I had something closer to rain water instead of the high mineral content well water at the greenhouse, plants would be much happier. Despite having crunchy water, our plants still bloom and are awarded time to time.

    We’re not doing everything wrong. Likely your orchid compatriot has some of the other variables on their side. A good light exposure and favorable buoyant humidity can do a lot.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    That would seem logical, but apparently isn't the case. You'd really have to ask the plant!
    Precisely the only benefit, in my mind.
    I don't believe it's the name of a nursery, but a sales mark of a particular wholesale nursery, instead - Green Circle Growers in Ohio.
     
  6. D Cal

    D Cal Marin County California Outdoor (mostly) grower

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    A few years ago, a top five hit on nearly every Google search I did on orchid culture delivered "justaddice.com" - which advocated that way of growing orchids. Of course I think it was entirely for Phals, and it wasn't for hobby growers - just for someone trying to keep a home depot type mass produced phal hybrid alive. I think they lost out in a Google algorithm shift, they never come up for me anymore. I have to say, though, those plants seem pretty indestructible in any case.