What is the "Ice Cube" Orchid?

by Linda
(Somerset, Ky)

I received an "ice cube" orchid as a gift and would like to know what species it is. It was blooming when I received it but shortly lost the blooms and hasn't bloomed again, approx. 9 months later. To water, I am to place 3 ice cubes around the plant weekly. Is this enough water and how do I fertilize it? The plant looks
very healthy, dark green leaves and healthly roots above the medium but no blooms. How often should the medium be changed? Thanks!

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Jul 02, 2011
Watering Orchids with Ice Cubes- Don't Do It!
by: Melissa

Thanks for your great question, Linda. This may spark some interesting comments.

You wanted to know what kind of orchid it is. Since you did not include a picture, (and please do send one if you like) I can only guess. So I am going to guess it is a Phalaenopsis orchid as some of the big box stores like Walmart and Home Depot have had these "ice cube orchids" and they have been Phals.

I think that watering ANY orchids with ice cubes is a terrible idea. It is, of course, better than no water at all if someone can not take the time to put some water on the plant. But I know of no orchid that lives in semi-freezing temperatures and that likes to be watered by cold freezing rain. The water that melts from the ice is still very cold. Most orchids, and certainly Phals. like a much warmer temperature more like 65 F. not 32 F. It is a shock to the plant and the roots. And no, I do not think it is enough water.

I water my Phals. (and I have 10 in bloom right now) by putting them in a sink and running water from the faucet through them about 3 times over a 10 - 15 minute period. I made sure they drain (the pot they are in drains). And then if I am going to fertilize them, that is when I do it.

For fertilizing the adage is "weekly, weakly". Which basicly means dilute the fertilizer to about one quarter strength of what the label says and do it more frequently. I usually get to it about once a month.

It is great that your plant is healthy. Most Phals. bloom about once a year and need to have the right light to do so. Go check out these two pages on www.orchids-plus-more.com. For Phals: http://www.orchids-plus-more.com/phalaenopsis-orchid-care.html Also check out Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.orchids-plus-more.com/frequently-asked-questions.html

Both these pages have lots of information on orchids in general and Phalaenopsis. Most of your questions are covered there.

I repot my Phals. every three or so years unless the roots are rotting or the media is really broken down. If the media is fine then I leave them alone.

In summation: Ditch the Ice Cube Watering. It is a cold shot to your little orchid friends. Try it my way (Make Sure the Pot Drains) and let me know how it goes in a few months.

Good Luck!

Melissa
www.orchids-plus-more.com

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