"just add ice" orchid blooming but wilted leaves

steelskies(5)March 27, 2013

I have several of these orchids and all are blooming nicely, but the leaves look terrible. They look wilted and somewhat dried up, but they are still green. What should I do. I have fertilized them and add 3 ice cubes twice a week. they aren't sitting in water, and are by an east window sitting on my table. Thank you in advance.

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Forget that ice cube nonsense and bring that pot over to the sink and water it until at least a quart to a half gallon of water runs threw that pot. Naturally, I assume it has a hole in the bottom. Then lay it in the sink and let it drain for a while. Then water it again like that in about a week or so depending upon your conditions and what type of medium it is potted in. If it's bark I'm guessing once a week, if it's in spagnum moss wait until it becomes crispy on the top and then water it again.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 3:27PM
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To put this quite bluntly: knock it off!!

I completely agree with Bob. This Just Add Ice malarky is a joke. Lets set aside for a second the fact that you are putting an object that is at freezing temps up against your tropical plant. This situation, time and again, has been an almost assured recipe for overwatering if ever I've seen them, particularly in an east window. Adding Ice even once a week to water? What if at the end of the week it doesn't need it? You've just added more water to an already wet plant. Thats how you kill your plant. I have seen this too many times with too many customers and it peeves me off.


Sorry, I'm not yelling at you. I'm venting about this stupid marketing ploy that is designed only to put money back into the vendors pockets, and preys on well meaning but less experienced people such as yourself.

I would recommend you first pull your plant out of the pot to examine your roots. I can almost guarantee you will find roots that are brown and squishy=rotten. This would be the cause of the green-yet-wrinkled leaves. If this is the case a little TLC is required, but we shall cross that bridge when we get to it. Have a look at the roots and report back what you see, we can help you from there :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:12PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

I imagine the just add ice cube may work in a shady and humid tropical environment, such as Florida, Mexico and Thailand; and it is for a pot that does not have any draining hole.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 9:49AM
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If the plant is is moss, I'd repot it fast. That is the most difficult medium to control watering - for me anyway. I'd put it in small bark or coconut husk chips, perlite and charcoal .

I brought two home yesterday and pulled off all of the moss. One plant was already showing signs of root rot. Right now they're sitting in clay pots with no medium at all so that they can dry out a bit. It hasn't affected the beautiful blooms one bit. They'll be repotted into CHCs later today.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:07AM
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I had a few orchids that I bought with that Ice recommendation - and, I did the full water route - then came to the realization that the media that the roots are packed in - are so tightly packed that with the full watering routine - was causing the roots to stay wet to long.

A few weeks ago, I repotted my orchids in bark - and, was horrified at how many of the roots were damaged from poor drainage.

I repotted 2 of these plants that were still in bloom, and if you are careful not to bang the flowers around, you shouldn't lose them. (at least I didn't lose mine). My orchids are REALLY happy now that they're in the right type of pot, the roots can be watered and drained fully, and the roots can breathe.

I can't emphasize enough, please don't do the ice trick thinking that your plant will stay healthy forever - it's only a temporary ploy - like watering a plant in desert conditions and only giving it a sip instead of a glass... orchids need humidity to thrive.

Go get yourself some bark, not fine moss - or other clinging stuff - but chunks - and, soak the chunks well, then, take your plant - pull it out of that damn plastic cup ((stuffed with styrophome (YES! that was in mine!) and tightly packed moss, and what looked like sawdust.)) and give your orchid a better home. If you can afford to get an orchid pot - they're AWESOME, by the way - helps a lot to allow in extra air to circulate around the roots.

ONce you get your plant in a proper "rooting' home - you can water in your sink - let the warm water run over the bark for 5 minutes or more. - depending on time of year, do it once or twice a week. And, rest of the time? well, I like to spritz the leaves with a spray bottle every other morning and talk to them.

Keeps them happy. :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Will a Phal take a drastic change in media, or should I add just a little Sphagnum to my new mix? I have coarse orchid bark and NZ whole Sphagnum. Plan on finding coconut fibre next week.
I want to put the two plants in 6" plastic pots (c drainage, of course).

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:05AM
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mine, the green one above - took the switch with no problems. After having to clean all that clinging mush out of the roots of mine - I really prefer just using the chunkier materials. They like the air circulation. Why clog the pot with a moss mix? if you can give the plants regular waterings, the chunks will absorb enough to keep the roots happy between waterings.

the coco fiber is fantastic stuff.

Just get your plants repotted, and set up a schedule for waterings/feeding - and you'll see your 2 bounce back.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Don't you find the coco fiber is as bad as the moss? Many people have a difficult time with it. To me, it's practically like peat. Now, if you're talking about Coconut Husk Chips - they're the bomb!

Hi Leaf,
I'll respond to your other post.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 1:09PM
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I'm definitely talking chips, Gail. I don't like messy stuff. :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Sphag works very well as a potting media depending on your environmental and watering situation. I always mix some sphag with bark and perlite for my Phals. I actually like the properties of sphag and have used it with many orchids. It works great in areas with low humidity and cool temps. It has some anti-fungal properties. When I lived in NY I used it as a top dress on my orchids to keep moisture around the roots.

I do not like CHC as it holds moisture too long, can hold salts. It can be used mixed with some bark but I prefer sphag/bark mix. I think Phals do very well in it.

You need to pot your plants according to your environment. If you are constanly watering, you need to cut back on media which stays wet too long. There is no magic potting media.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:44AM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Hi steelskies,

Just Add Ice is a wretched marketing scheme that murders mountains of Phals. However, some people who start with them go on to become genuine orchid hobbyists.

Can you post photos of your Phals, their bare roots, pots, & medium?

Otherwise, I'm with terpguy - pull the Phals out of the potting media and let us know what the bare roots look like.

Don't buy new potting media or pots until you get a handle on the problem. You/we need more info first.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 12:58AM
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