Have you ever been told that you can use ice cubes to water your orchids or have you ever done such a thing? This has proven to be one of the most popular topics of discussion we encounter with our visitors. As a travel destination in Volcano, Hawaii we have been very fortunate to enjoy frequent visitors from throughout the world. Many of whom after walking through our gardens come to us with numerous questions. At the top of most lists of questions is whether or not they should be using ice cubes. Many of them tell us that they've been instructed at some point in time to water their orchids with a few ice cubes. Whether it be from the product label or another novice grower. Such simple instruction seemingly convenient can be detrimental to your orchid in the long run! We DO NOT recommend you follow this misinformation. Why? Well, here are a few reasons.
First and foremost, orchids are found in nature growing on every continent except for Antarctica with the vast majority of them in the tropics. We must consider that in their natural habitats the only source of water is the rain so it would certainly be uncommon for these orchids to feel ice cold water. Think about the way we'd feel if someone had poured ice cold water on us. We'd be shocked to say the least. In the same way, orchids go through shock when they are watered with ice cubes.
The next crucial point is that the amount of water from a few ice cubes melting would simply be insufficient as a few ice cubes would only melt to about 1/4 cup of water at the most, depending on the rate of evaporation. You have to remember that the purpose of media is to retain water in order to provide the plant roots moisture when they need it. We can't assume that most of this water will even reach the roots, as it would likely be absorbed by the media before anything.
After reflecting on the above statements you must now understand that watering with ice cubes will only leave your orchid shocked and thirsty. Although the effects will not be immediate, the results WILL be seen in the long run. Easily avoid the sadness of an unhappy orchid by watering properly. So how exactly do we recommend you water your orchids?
Simply shower it with water from your garden hose or place it under the faucet for a few seconds being sure to wet all of the contents in the pot until the water flows through the pot. Another method is to soak them. However it is you may decide to water your orchids, always be sure to allow the water to drain completely, never leaving the plant soaking or sitting in water! Over watering is the leading cause of orchid death.
So, if you've ever been a victim of the "Water with Ice Cubes" myth, you now know the truth. And well, if not, you are one of the very few. Nonetheless, this information is not to be kept secret, please be sure to share the knowledge if ever you hear otherwise. You could prove to be a hero and save an orchid's life!