“I just bought a Phalaenopsis Orchid and the store clerk told me to water it with Ice Cubes, is that recommended?” – Melissa M.
To be very blunt, this is one of the worst things you could ever do to your Phalaenopsis, or any orchid for that matter. Phalaenopsis, along with most orchids are tropical plants and as a grower, you want to mimic their growing conditions in the wild as closely as possible to ensure years of pleasure and a multitude of blooms for your enjoyment.
In the wild, these plants are never subjected to icy cold water, in fact the rain in the tropics is typically warm. By placing ice cubes in the pots of your orchids, that icy cold water essentially shocks the plants on every application. You would not like to jump into an icy cold bath with ice cubes, nor do they.
Some people swear this shock treatment is good as it promotes flowering, which is true for some orchids at specific times of the year, but it is not recommended for every watering. The ice cube method came about to prevent the overwatering of orchids which is the number one cause of plant death, but unfortunately, it truly does more harm than good. Others will say it is a great method as freezing kills bacteria, which is also true, but boiling the water will kill a wider variety of bacteria. That being said, never use boiling hot water on your orchids!
So how much water should you give your Phalaenopsis, the answer to that question depends greatly on your growing conditions, and more so on what the plants are growing in. As a general rule, Phalaenopsis need high humidity and should never remain soggy. In the wild they are found growing on trees and are dried by winds relatively quickly after each rainstorm. Always try and replicate their environment in the wild. We will be talking more about Phalaenopsis culture in a later post.