Saturday, December 5, 2009

Orchids Love Ice?

I've seen the "Just Add Ice" orchids in the stores before and thought to myself, "Yeah, sure." I even bought one awhile back and discarded the ice information, because everything in me says that putting ice on orchids just has to be wrong.

Tonight, we made our weekly trip to Van Wert for groceries and a little Christmas shopping and while in Walmart, there they were again. Lots of them. Looking lovely as orchids are wont to do and what's this? They're marked down to $10. Oh why, Walmart? Why must you tempt me so?

I walked past them and down a couple of aisles, but the yellow and pink one that caught my eye was stuck in my brain and just wouldn't get out. I walked back to look at it again and noticed it was the only one like it among the whites, magentas, and pale greens. It had two flowering spikes, with auxiliary shoots on each one. Big, fat, frosted green roots touted its health.

So I, possessing a gardener's mind and no willpower, picked it up and put it in my shopping cart, right next to the shampoo and cat food, which we actually
needed. Sure, that's $10 that I could better spend elsewhere, but I have a super duper system of cutting corners in one place so I can spend it in another. I'll figure something out that negates that $10 so the orchid will end up being free! I'm really good at this - trust me.

But about this ice thing... Now that I'd bought my second one, I decided to check this out and try doing what they recommend, which is to add three ice cubes to the top of the pot once a week.
They'll even e-mail you to remind you that it's time to ice your orchid.

Just Add Ice Orchids is a business located in Oberlin, Ohio (hey, I've been there!). They get their orchids from Green Circle Growers and Mid-American Growers, two of the largest greenhouse operations in the Midwest. They have partnered with P. Allen Smith to bring a plant with a reputation for being fussy to the general public, to get them to try their hand at growing an orchid as easily as possible.

Not everyone is a believer. Read the comments following an article published in August by
Greenhouse Grower, and you'll see what I mean. Experienced orchid growers say watering with ice is a no-no. Consumers who have given it a try have had success. I tend to ask the same thing of the experienced as the consumers do: "Have you tried it?" My guess is that the naysayers have not, because it would never occur to them to do so.

Well, I'm trying it this time. I've killed orchids doing it "the right way," so if I kill it with ice, who's to say the ice would be to blame? And for $10, I'll still have this lovely orchid sitting on the plant stand beside me for at least as long as a fresh bouquet costing the same amount of money or more, probably longer. For me, it's a win either way.


nancybond said...

What a spectacular, warm colour! I'll be interested to see how the ice works! I believe I killed mine with too much heat, so perhaps the ice watering is the trick!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can't believe they promote ice for orchids. I just think about how orchids would die if they were covered in ice. Brrrrr... I don't even like iced water when it is cold outside.

Kat said...

Very lovely color in the Phalaenopsis. And $10 is a steal. You can bet, however, that the grower wasn't putting ice cube on them every week to water them.

Peg said...

This Phalaenopsis is the most beautiful color I've ever seen!
Gorgeous blossoms.

Diana @ Sweet Fields of Green said...

Well, that's certainly a new idea! Who'da thunk that icing an orchid is actually good for it?! One of my brothers is an avid orchid lover/grower and has several exotics that he's picked up at shows. He lives in CA and I think that must be at the very least a helpful factor. So far, I haven't shared his "ocrhid thumb" yet though. Maybe one day.
I'm in total agreement on your thriftyness rationalization. I've done that for years, and it's always worked for me! Absolutely breathtaking new orchid by the way! Really love the colors!

MyMaracas said...

I've never tried growing an orchid, but I certainly do admire them in the store. I'm glad you brought that one home - I've never seen one that color. And everyone deserves a little splurge now and then.

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

Nancy ~ I've been thinking about this ice thing for awhile and while I really can't imagine how this will work, it must. This has had to have been tested over time in order to promote this and for P. Allen Smith to jump on the bandwagon and promote it. I wonder how anyone came up with this idea, though. It would be the furthest from my mind to think of watering an orchid this way. We'll see!

Lisa ~ As I said, that was my thought, too. But there must be something to it. And you know me - I want to believe. It's the positive thinker in me. Maybe I should become a little more cynical.


Kat ~ Oh absolutely! Which is why the growers that are protesting so much really should try it. You know they haven't, but sometimes good things are discovered quite by accident and while it isn't what should work, sometimes it does. (Think Play-Doh!) If time proves the ice theory to be wrong, then the growers can say, "I told you so!"

Peg ~ That's why I couldn't resist it! I wish I knew its name, but there was no tag.

Diana ~ Your brother would probably cringe at this idea, don't you think? Yes, I'm sure living in California is an advantage. I do put mine outside in the summer here.

MyMaracas ~ I like the way you think.

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

I'd say it's a winner !!
It's nice to have some house plants for the winter blues.

Town Mouse said...

I think the real issue is that orchids love a little water once a week, but really can't take wet feet. I water mine at the faucet and leave them in the sink for a few hours, then put them back into the light. No saucer. The ice probably doesn't hurt, and the advantage is that it's a small amount of water so you don't end up with the dreaded wet feet.

Regardless, it's a beautiful orchid! Love that color.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Must stalk our local walmartian outlet to see if these plants have come north of the border yet. If so, I will have to rescue a couple. But I can't put ice on them. I don't want ice in MY mouth when I want a drink, or on my feet either. So I'll let you experiment and report back.

Janet said...

Hi Kylee, I love the orchid you chose, lovely colors. It looks like a sunset. I have a rule about plants....if I got back a couple times to 'look' at it --I might as well just buy it.
Read the ice your orchid stuff....interesting theory.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I saw those in our local Walmart too but since I do not do well with orchids I passed them up. That is a lovely one and the blooms do last a long time so well worth the bucks. Keep us updated on the ice watering and your results with it.

Hilda said...

What a gorgeous orchid! I have never seen a phalanopsis in these colors before either, and for $10 I would have splurged too!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Beautiful orchid Kylee. I have an acquaintance who grows orchids, and she uses ice. But, she buys bagged ice which is super clean and clear. One of the problems with orchids where I live is that the minerals in the water are too hard on them. The clean and clear ice (you buy and keep in the freezer) is like distilled water (which she also uses). It dissolves slowly into the soil and waters the orchids. That's all I know, and I haven't tried it cause I don't own one.~~Dee

Nutty Gnome said...

I've never heard of icing orchids before, but it's worth giving it a go! :)

Kate said...

Seriously? Ten dollars? I'm heading to Walmart right now!

Love the color and am very curious about the ice thing. I have a sleeper Phaleanopsis so perhaps I will give it a try...

Muum said...

I don't think I'd be able to pass up that beautiful yellow/peach color, either. keep us posted on the ice strategy. sounds crazy!

Kathleen said...

oooh, the coloring of that Phal is gorgeous Kylee. I would have rescued it too. I haven't heard of "just add ice" orchids but I guess it would reduce the chances of overwatering. I usually water mine once a week, dump any excess out of the saucer and let it dry out the rest of week. Enjoy your new beauty.

Carolyn said...

It's a week after Mother's Day and by the time I got to Wally World, there were only a half-dozen of the orchids left - because they'd been marked down to $7.50. Almost all the blooms were wilting, so on a lark, I picked out the one labeled "pink" with no blooms left, but had the best looking leaves and nice healthy roots popping up. Got lots of roots wrapped at the bottom, too, so I'm thinking it needs a transplant. I think I'll buy artesian water to make ice cubes out of and add just enough Miracle Gro to make a very weak fertilizer water. I went to the Just Add Ice web site and they have feeding instructions. Sure I hope I can coax a couple of plant spikes out of it.

Just Add Ice Orchids said...

Thanks Kylee for your comments! Just Add Ice Orchids uses an ice cube watering method, which offers a perfectly safe and easy way to care for phalaenopsis orchids. The easiest way to kill an orchid is to overwater it and by using 3 ice cubes a week, phalaenopsis orchids receive the perfect amount premeasured water each week.

Using ice provides the roots with a slow-drip watering process that allows the orchid roots to slowly soak up the moisture and prevents water from sitting in the bottom of the pot.

While this method has been tested thoroughly and successfully for Just Add Ice phalaneopsis orchids, it may not be right for other kinds of plants. We encourage you to try this watering method for yourself!

Just Add Ice Orchids

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