Gardening: Ice cubes offer a hack to orchid care
If you’ve seen orchids for sale in big boxes and grocery stores and passed on them thinking they are hard to care for read on.
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to tour Green Circle Growers facility just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, growers of the Just Add Ice brand orchids. Green Circle produces millions of these gorgeous flowering plants.
When your mom shopped for orchids chances are she came home with a lovely white flowering plant known as a Phalaenopsis or moth orchid. Today they come in shades of pink, purple, yellow and orange, and many have attractive spots or splotches. A new method of dyeing means blues and greens have been added to the mix. However these dyed versions will produce white flowers if allowed to re-flower.
The folks at Green Circle know that successful home growers buy more plants for themselves and as gifts.
Knowing watering is key to success, they did independent research to see if watering using ice cubes, a controversial but easy method of care, was detrimental to Phalaenopsis orchids and bingo – no negative effects. So watering these pretties couldn’t be easier, simple place three ice cubes on the surface soil of a full size plant once a week. Lose track of time – mark it on your calendar, time this job with your favorite weekly TV program or do it when your done taking out the garbage. If you go to the Just Add Ice Orchids website (https://www.justaddiceorchids.com ), you can down load a watering reminder app. These people really want you to be successful growing Ice orchids.
Using the ice cube method of watering is not only convenient, the slow drip, drip, drip of water as the ice melts allows the soil to absorb all the moisture the root ball needs and prevents loss from run off, which often happens when potting medium dries out.
If you’re a purist and can’t bare the thought of using ice cubes on your orchid, the Green Circle Growers recommend watering weekly with no more than ¼ cup of water to prevent root rot.
Also available on the “Ice“ website is a down loadable guide to re-blooming your orchid. Which leads me to the next subject. It may take as long a year to get your Phalaenopsis to re-bloom. If you lack space and patience, gift it to the compost pile and buy another in bloom.
When watered properly, the blooms will last for several weeks and you can use them to brighten a dark corner or windowless bathroom.
Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and a Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to Yardener.com and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnews.com/homestyle.