Orchids with Frozen Roots

Some merchants recommend you water orchids with ice cubes. But why? Source:

In garden centers and box stores, you’ll often see orchids bearing a label suggesting to water them with ice cubes. Just add 3 cubes of ice once a week, they say. This is a great idea… for the merchant who came up with it, because cold water will gradually kill the orchid’s roots, ensuring that the plant will die several months later, even if it seems all right while it blooms. So the home gardener cries victory at first – “I tried it and it works!” – only to be disappointed afterwards. “I don’t know what I’ve done wrong, but my orchid is dead!” Rarely does he associate  the death of the plant with the watering technique.

The “ice orchid” you bought is most likely a Phalaenopsis and it is of tropical origin. Tropical plants, by definition, never have to deal with ice or even cold temperatures. Normally, it should always be watered with tepid water. (Actually, I can’t think of one plant that should be watered with ice water!)

It is interesting to note that the garden centers and box stores that sell these “ice orchids” actually water them with tepid water until they’re sold, never with ice cubes. If you doubt that, go to one of the stores and watch them.

I find it interesting that the same companies that recommend watering their orchids with ice cubes put their orchids in pots without drainage holes, another way guaranteed to kill an orchid… eventually.

What can I say but caveat emptor.

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

1 comment on “Orchids with Frozen Roots

  1. Pingback: Curing Orchidophobia – Laidback Gardener

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