Phals under ice

ron_tacomaSeptember 29, 2010

I just heard somebody make the statement to add ice to your phals. Since then I have heard mention of it two more times. Looking in the computer I find a site called orchids under ice. They claim they are getting flowering by adding 3 ice cubes once a week to their Phalaenopsis. They are doing this in place of watering. I have heard different reasons. One being is the temperature change stimulates flowering. I can go along with that one I know they need temperature change. The other being it stops roots growth and makes all the energy go to flowering. Not to sure about that one. I once had a Phal that was in flower for two years when the flowers started falling so did the plant it had put so much energy into flowering it died. I have not found anything about when you stop adding ice. Do you still add ice once after they start flowering. And is this the only water they are getting. I am going to take 3 of my Phals add ice just to see what happens.

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velamina(7)

Ron I think that website is called "justaddiceorchids". All I know is that they supply to some of the HD's in my area.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:12PM
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velamina(7)

Btw, I'm sorry I can't add any more than that. It's a popular topic in the forums but I never followed up. In a way I think of it as cruelty, does this make sense?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:37PM
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ron_tacoma

My mistake! Your right! Now the original question is have you done it and does it work, how long do you put ice on it, do you do it after it flowers, is that the only watering source? This is not the normal thinking with Phals they are not a cold growing orchid.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:40PM
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velamina(7)

Too funny, I beat your post :)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:48PM
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smwboxer

It's a gimmick. Don't add ice to your phals unless you want to buy new phals.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 6:50AM
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ron_tacoma

I did find one web site that says it is a NO NO. The one web site had feed back from growers. There was more positives than negatives. I grow my Phals in my hot tub room under grow lights. I tried them in my greenhouse but it is just too cold for them out there. Like I said I am going to try it with 3 plants to see what happens.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 12:48PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

All of the justaddice Phals are usually grown in packed sphag, flimsy plastic pot with no drainage holes. It is the companies gimmick to keep people from over watering and rotting the roots.

A few years ago the same company gave instructions to water the plants with three tablespoons of water - again, to keep people from killing the plants.

There is no advantage to having ice cubes sit on a warm growing plants roots to melt for moisture.

Brooke

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 1:44PM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Ron, I haven't even heard of it to wonder about it. :) 1st impression is that it could be a shock to the orchid "body," so to speak. Why would orchids benefit from treatment "not found in nature?"

Velamina said, "In a way I think of it as cruelty, does this make sense?" It does kinda make sense. Sounds like grabbing a Malamute* in Alaska and sticking him in a sauna. :) Maybe it'll be different with the orchids.

From snowdogz.co.uk

* big Northern dog w/ a heavy, double coat; used for pulling and sledding

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 1:43AM
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stitzelweller(Md)

if God wanted Phalaenopsis under ice,
He would have planted them in the Arctic.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 1:17PM
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ron_tacoma

Well I have over 30 Phals and I am going to try it with 3 just to see what happens. Thats how you learn. I would suggest you all do some computer searches on the subject before makeing stupid comments, and jokes, and cartoons. I learned a long time ago being a smart a-- does not mean you are smart. But it does confirm being a a--. All I asked was has anybody done it. I you needed to say was NO, Or YES, and if you said YES this is what happen. I will find out for my self.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 10:36PM
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velamina(7)

You have a legitimate question and I meant no disrespect. Merely the thought of a room temperature shower would be enough to put me in a coma, but I'm not an orchid. A poor attempt at humor I think :(

Erin spam is frowned upon on this forum and most of the members here have extensive collections.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 11:39PM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Hi Ron,

My apologies. You're right. You asked a straightforward question, and I went off on a tangent about a reverse comparison. Thought of the Malamute, searched for pix, got irritated because most looked like Huskies, finally found a Malamute. Your question was long gone.

I'm a dog person, and my intention was to illustrate my (baseless) theory with a shot of a handsome animal. Sounds like it struck you as a cartoon.

Only now am I curious about the effects of ice and will research it.

Again, my apologies.

Whitecat8

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 4:48AM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

It's not as nutty as it sounds. We get heavy thunderstorms here in the tropics when large hail can fall. Ice? The important thing is that it melts within a matter of minutes.
Many orchids WILL bloom in response to stressful conditions incl. a sudden drop in temperature.Probably cold water would be better.
- Ian.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 10:17PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

That idea has been around for a long time, not just for orchids but all plants in containers. The method avoids water draining from the pots as the ice melts slowly and only equals a few tablespoons. It was popular, years ago for office plants. You didn't need watering-cans and saucers. Plants were grown without drain holes.

I watered my plants that way at work. We would dump the ice from our sodas on the plants. Everyone did it and it works for a while, eventually the plants decline and you would buy more.

This was back in the 'dark-ages' of the late 60/70's.

Brooke is correct that this is recommended for plants grown without drain holes. One could have a blooming Phal on a table or other furniture without worrying about it damaging anything.

Nothing mystical about it, but bad growing practice. It will work for a while, at least as long as the Phal blooms.

Jane

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 12:17AM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Ron, thanks for posting your question. I got to check out an intriguing company & topic.

After researching Just Add Ice, I have mixed feelings. See what you all think.

Summary (scroll down for details):

1. The parent company, Green Circle in OH, is modeled after Holland's state-of-the-art, eco-friendly orchid production and distribution methods. Yea!

2. Green Circle’s research suggested their orchid sales would increase if (typically) 1st-time buyers weren’t intimidated by watering methods.

3. Watering method

4. The parent company appears to have fabricated an endorsement from a professional.

Details:
1. The parent company, Green Circle in OH, is modeled after Holland's state-of-the-art, eco-friendly orchid production and distribution methods. (Holland supplies 90% of Europe's orchids and has a climate similar to Ohio's.) Get this - $20 million spent on the heating system alone.

Kudos to the max for the eco-friendly!

2. Green Circle’s research suggested their orchid sales would increase if (typically) 1st-time buyers weren’t intimidated by watering methods.

The site states their watering method is successful, based on research, but doesn't provide a link that I could find.

3. Their watering method for Phals:

~ The only water a potted Phal needs is 3 ice cubes (equivalent to 1/4 cup water) placed on top of the medium once a week. (At least on the site’s basic culture pages, all Phals are in pictured in bark.)

~ Softened water is better for orchids than unsoftened: "Unsoften water typically contains higher amounts of calcium which overtime can build up in the soil and restrict growth."

~ Phal roots shouldn't sit in water, so empty excess water from the decorative pot after each watering.

(Each Just Add Ice Phal is potted in a clear plastic orchid pot inside a decorative pot with no holes in the bottom.)

Brief information on light, temps, humidity, repotting, pests, etc. appears elsewhere on the site.

4. The parent company appears to have fabricated an endorsement by a professional.

The Just Add Ice site reprints cultural tips from Steve Urick, a horticulturist at the Arthur and Phyllis Kaplan Orchid Conservatory at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The article appeared in a Salt Lake City newspaper.

The last sentence in the section on moisture appears on the Just Add Ice site but not in the article:

“Moisture: Let an orchid get almost dry before watering it. Sit pots on trays of pebbles/water to provide extra humidity during winter. For optimal watering, use 3 ice cubes a week for a perfectly measures amount of water.”
http://blog.justaddiceorchids.com/Just-Add-Ice-Orchid-Blog/bid/36144/Orchid-Care-Tips-from-an-Orchid-Conservatory

I've emailed Steve Urick for clarification.

Original article - see p. 3.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700009717/Elegant-orchids.html?pg=1

Here is a link that might be useful: Watering method, Just Add Ice

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 8:03AM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Hey Ron,

From October - late March or so last year, I had a health thing going on, & the orchids were watered about once every 40 days. (Watered by soaking thoroughly.)

13 of the 24 Phals survived, the highest rate among all the orchids. If I'd neglected them that way from April - late September, I don't know if any would still be here.

So far, 11 of the 13 seem to be in good shape, even though several lost more than 1 leaf. On the up side, a hybrid that arrived spring, 2009 is in bloom. A hybrid that's been here a couple of years just finished blooming, and reliable hybrid bloomer is in spike.

But... no clue how you'd factor in this info.

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 9:01AM
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smwboxer

From what I hear, the just add ice method makes you thin-skinned and irritable.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 9:06AM
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kwmackdog

somewhere back in the"jeopardy answers" portion of my brain i remember reading about ice cubes being used to provide the drop in temperature most phals need in order to stimulate flowering.

so rather than being used as a standard watering practice it was to be used for a few weeks to trick the plant into initiating a flowering cycle.

living in the NE mother nature drops the temps for me, so i have no first hand knowledge of success or failure.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 11:12AM
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ron_tacoma

Thanks for the feed back. I have been pretty successful with my phals. I have them in my hot tub room so they get plenty of humidity when I have the lid off the hot tub. Most of mine have been flowering once a year. One person mentioned theice stops energy from going to roots but puts it into flowering. That could be a possibility. Several years ago I had a Phal that was in flower for over two years. I had it in my solarium. Didn't move it because the spikes must of been about 3 ft high. However when the flowers started dying off. So did the plant. It was like there was no energy left to sustain its life. I tried ice on 3 plants yesterday and will do it every Saturday. I will let you know what happens. I would think after it flowers you should knock off the ice. Maybe I will add one more plant two I will cut off the ice after the flowering.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 1:56PM
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velamina(7)

There is a thread called "Why ice cubes?" in the UBCBG forums. One of the last comments that was made was a disclaimer by said company "justaddiceorchids". Interesting, they say they only recommend for their own orchids.

I didn't post a link as I'm not sure if it violates any rules.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 9:25PM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Hi Ron,

Yesterday I spent under 2 hours (slow reader + puppy distractions) - on their site mostly, plus checking a couple of original sources and getting objective info on the company.

The point is, I could have missed something, esp. because of that selective memory thing. Everything I *do* remember said to use 3 ice cubes every week all year, w/ the tweaks about when to add a 4th cube, how to fertilize & leach, etc. If you stop the ice after the experimental Phals flower, sounds like your results will be based on your own method, rather than Just Add Ice.

Am I missing something here?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 12:57AM
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whitecat8(z4 MN)

Smwboxer - cracked me up!

Kwmackdog - my Jeopardy brain (good description) says the whole plant needs to have the drop in temp, not just the roots & medium, but I gotta allow for a couple buhzillion bits of trivia piled on top.

Ron - meant to say that humidity from your hot tub sounds heavenly, esp. cuz I break out the champagne when it hits 45% here.

Velamina - If you're talking about forums on the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, "justaddice" isn't turning up. Likewise "just." I don't know about linking to other forums here, either (lots of earlier rules don't apply anymore or aren't enforced).

Can you email me the link? Thanks

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:20AM
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velamina(7)

Np Wc, you should be getting an e mail soon. It didn't come up with the title Why Ice Cubes?

Ron the reason why you don't see much feedback from growers on this method is because they highly discourage it, and this said company is really just targeting the consumer ex. HD, Lowes, etc. that normally throw away their orchids after blooming. Anyway, the thread I mentioned is a good read if you have the time.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:54AM
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eeekk

Any update on the ice cube experiment?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 4:10PM
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