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ice cubes for cool growers

This is a discussion on ice cubes for cool growers within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; maybe Janet, the business relies on the ignorance of people and or convenience or pretty ...

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  1. #11
    opaline's Avatar
    opaline is offline Senior Member
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    maybe Janet, the business relies on the ignorance of people and or convenience or pretty much a novelty gimmick for someones birthday etc? I have had visitors who while in admiration of an orchid bloom will often ask ' is it a clematis? or similar. Care homes, hospitals, retirement homes get overwhelmed with common phals bought as presents for the residents. If they re not neglected from the start they are disposed off when bloom has finished. Some people come to the rescue and adopt, orchid fans like us for example but most go to the landfills etc. Our worst nightmare!lol. Anyway its trial and error and wait for your experience report in this method.
    Last edited by opaline; September 6th, 2011 at 04:43 PM.

  2. #12
    frostedeyes is offline I think I'm paranoid!
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    hmmm how bout just spray cold water just to lower the temprature... sort of like rain water?

  3. #13
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    I use ice on my Darlingtonia california, but those are completely different creatures. water in a saucer w/ ice could keep the water cool and not too cold, but as I have never grown any true cold growers, I don't know much about them, other than my cobra lilies.

  4. #14
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    Here are some facts of the customers of putting ice on orchids in my summary i say these orchids sell only due to peoples lack of knowledge and ease of availability and not one slice of the survey done in January 2011 points to any being sold to serious collectors as a major selling avenue.
    94% Buy it to match their house decor.
    80% rate their knowledge of orchids at biginner levels.
    65% buy them cos they only have to add ice so its easy.
    49% of people with these orchids need reminding to add the ice by email.
    78% said this was their 1st orchid

  5. #15
    orcoholic is offline Senior Member
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    Putting ice on orchids is a marketing gimmick recently thought up by a grower that sells to the big box stores and could care less if the orchid survives past its current bloom. It is probably an okay idea to keep the big box store orchids alive while they are blooming, but it is simply not a good idea if you want to keep growing it on. Besides the temperature problems, there is not that much water in an ice cube. If there were, you coke and iced tea would be tasteless.

    Orchids need to have water running through the pot to draw oxygen down into the roots and drench them.

    In addition, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to create the most natural environment (rain forest like) for them. In a rain forest it pours rain and then is dry until the next downpour. Orchids have adapted to that by evolving with a coating of velamin on their roots to hold water like a sponge. The orchid draws on that and the velamin reloads with water during the next downpour.

  6. #16
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    I understand completely that using ice cubes to water orchids is not the standard and well-known way to care for them and is primarily a marketing strategy. What I'm trying to find out is whether there are any actual data that show whether or not this works. I like experimenting and I'm a data-oriented geeky sort of old lady. So I will probably do some experimenting this winter.

    While imitating their native growing conditions is a good starting point when caring for any plant, this does not mean that those conditions are necessarily the conditions that will lead to the best growth. This is one reason (not the only reason) that non-native plants sometimes become invasive. They really like the new growing environment.

  7. #17
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    Janet, it is a money making scheme and as the orchids die people come back to buy more thinking they did something wrong. Be mindful that most orchids we grow are found in the tropics. Areas that are warm and humid and depending on the variety of orchid and location natural temp drops to give the orchids what they need. Sudden cold equals damage. Ice on roots equals death. I sell orchids and fortunately the company I work for does not buy them. Everyday I get customers in asking about the ice method and most of them are asking because their orchid has died.

  8. #18
    orcoholic is offline Senior Member
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    Janet,

    I can guarantee you that you will be unable to find any data regarding the viability of growing orchids with ice cubes. There is actually very little scientific research on growing orchids at all. There are, however, hundreds of books written by orchid growers and hundreds of orchid growers that describe the proper way to grow orchids based on their observation. None of them uses ice cubes and none of them recommend the minimal amount of water that ice cubes will produce.

    Your statement about imitating their growing habits not being the best way to grow orchids is very hard for me to understand, and obviously not based on any scientific evidence. Why would any plant evolve to what it is today if it wasn't the best way to live in its environment? Why do so many orchids die when taken out of their environments? It's inconceivable that an orchids (or any plants) natural habitat is not the best to grow it.

    In addition, an invasive plant is invasive because it's not supposed to be there, not because they "really like growing there".

  9. #19
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    Michael,

    I am not saying that all the orchid specialists are wrong. Not at all. But the ice cubes seem to work for at least some people for a few months. I wouldn't have thought they'd last more than a week or two. And perhaps some don't. Maybe most of them don't. And I'm certainly not suggesting that this is a generally better way to grow orchids. However, it would be good if the method were tested, perhaps by the AOS. It might be a nice project for an orchid society or a botany student.

    Plants evolve to fit their environment--they do their best given that environment. However, the environment does not evolve to suit the plants. Therefore it's logically quite possible that the plants would do even better in some other environment. However, as I said, the best starting place is to mimic the plant's native habitat.

    Invasive plants are not simply weeds. Weeds are plants that are growing where they're not supposed to be. Invasive plants are those that spread so successfully that they choke out other varieties of plants, so that bidiversity is reduced. This can happen for all sorts of reasons. The new climate might allow more seeds to survive; the nutrients in the soil might be more conducive to rampant growth; there may be no insects or animals that feed on them. Whether or not native plants should be called invasive seems to be sort of a philosophical question. From my perspective, here in new england, poison ivy is invasive. And plants can be invasive in one location and not another. Princess pawlownia trees are invasive in the south, but not here in new england. There is one on the Smith college campus and there's one in the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. If they were invasive, they wouldn't be there, because they'd spread all over and become a problem. But this is too far north for them to reproduce that freely.

    The great majority of non-native plants are not invasive. Tulips are native to asia, and grow here, but do not take over. In fact, except for the tiny botanical varieties, mine usually don't come back the following year. Tomatoes are native to south america, but are not at all invasive. I usually get a few volunteers each year, but that's it.

  10. #20
    orcoholic is offline Senior Member
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    Good luck with the ice cubes. I'm putting some right now in a big glass of scotch.

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