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Just Add Ice Orchids

Posted by new2orchids (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 17, 09 at 10:51

What are your thoughts on this? I've had a few friends receive "Just Add Ice orchids" as presents. The tag that comes with these Phals say all you need to do is add 3 ice cubes once a week. I've been telling people that it's a gimmick to sell plants... that the plant needs more water than that when watering and that the cold ice could damage the plant if it's placed on it. Am I right or is there really a new type of orchid on the market? Here's actually a link to their site: http://www.justaddiceorchids.com/


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Nothing more than a marketing tool and the best way to kill a phal.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I wouldn't do it to any orchid. 32 degree water is quite a shock and since Phals are warm growing, 60 is as low as I would go for water to water with.

By the time you get the cubes out and refill the tray, you could have run water through the pot for 30 seconds.

NOT RECOMMENDED.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Someone on the OTHER forum just did this a week ago as an experiment to see what happened, and it damaged her phals roots. DO NOT DO IT!


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

You guys didnt know that pahls are really grown in the Himalayas? There they receive plentiful amounts of snow and ice. The ones in India and all through out the indo pacific area are actually impostors. Phals growing out of the freezing range, bah what nonsense. I heard you could mount them on ice too!


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Sakeofsilence what are you smoking?


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

  • Posted by donaldb 5B Worcester, MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 20, 09 at 10:22

In plain English. Don't do it. It's not good for them.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

  • Posted by cjc45 9 Mount Dora FL (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 22, 09 at 23:35

I talked to a guy who grows orchids in south Florida and says he puts ice in the pots so the orchids will think they've had cold weather and bloom.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

is there really a new type of orchid on the market?

I talked to a guy who grows orchids in south Florida and says he puts ice in the pots so the orchids will think they've had cold weather and bloom.

c'mon, people! life is too short for BS'ing hobbyists.
BS your employer, instead!!

--Stitz--


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I bought a few of these plants cos they are BEAUTIFULLY grown and are healthy as can be although they are all NOIDs. I did get an amazing looking peloric sunset shade (reminds me of Baldan's Kaleidoscope), which I couldn't resist cos it was such a huge and healthy plant for $4.99.

BUT I would never ever in a million years water them with ice. Although I can see this as a great way to get people to buy them and then subsequently kill them so they buy more.

Also: there are some Phals which grow in cooler climates, Phal lindenii for example, but these are species plants acclimated to life in these regions. Most hybrid phals are not built for such suffering.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

This ice stuff has been around for ages and i suspect that the plant will not suffer at all as the ice melts. Is there a scientist in the house?

Anyway what is the point ? When you have three neurones left it is just as difficult to remember to put the ice block on the potting surface as it is to water.

Dear Black Eyed Gurl. Pray tell, what exactly is a "amazing looking peloric sunset shade".

Another aspect of the ice block stuff is that it will make your orchid bloom...
i have a few weeds left (Cymbidiums). I have moved them to their summer quarters next to the three thousand litre water tank so that they will be cooled a little more on summer nights so i will get better flowers next spring. Seems to work, but three thousands litres of water is a lot of ice blocks.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Question: "Dear Black Eyed Gurl. Pray tell, what exactly is a "amazing looking peloric sunset shade".

Answer: It's one of those butt ugly three lipped phals.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Smwboxer, Lol, You are very brave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i thought, maybe, it was a description of the colour.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

LOL, sorry, I guess the two solid days of rain have made me a bit cranky. That, and I was just talking with a grower about how the introduction of grocery store phals has flooded the market with millions of suspect plants.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Here's my "amazing looking peloric sunset shade"
Picture comes out more pink than actual blooms which are more of a "sunset shade."
Phal Pink Petikotes
I saw the same orchid at the BlackHawk orchid show in Rockford, IL, last month with a red ribbon. The name was Phal Pink Petikotes. It has 2 blooming stems and is very healthy. Just cost me $10 and, yes, I don't add ice. Just as easy to water it in the sink. I thot the Ice gimmick was for those of us who tend to get water in the crown which I do occasionally and pay dearly for the mistake. Just my 2 cents, Barbara


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

better than buying orchids from walmart i think. just dont take care of them with ice... (i dont like when walmart sells orchids because most walmart garden center employees dont seem to know how to take care of them) i always see them with broken spikes, bud blast, and water damage like you wouldnt beleive... anyways, this site at least has pretty orchids.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Sigh! Why do people always bash the employees when a lot of the damage is done by the customers. They pick the plants up, feel the flowers and so on. Some even pull the plants out of the pot to inspect the roots.

When the local orchid society used to have week long shows, some of the sales plants that arrived in pristine condition at the start of the week, were wrecked after about 5 days.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

This really is a terrible idea! i know its been plainly stated. But what is worse is that i was watching the today show a week before Christmas and P Allen Smith actually on the segment put ice in the orchid pots on TV and said this is how to water them!!!!! it never ends!


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Wow, I've never heard of this company until now. If you look at the forum, some people posted about their orchids not doing well. Surprising! In fact, it is the only place I've seen anyone mention light. I'm a bit disappointed that P. Allen Smith is endorsing this product. I never really watched his show (I think I saw it twice), but I would catch him on Today every once and a while.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I water mine just like any phal and they love it! They grow like crazy and the blooms are wonderful! These are great plants.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I bought one of the "Just add ice" orchids at Wal-Mart last week. I'm new at orchids and have tried one or two orchids in the past and just wanted to try growing one one more time (gotta love 'em :)) Anyway, the only thing on the tag is to water with 3 ice cubes once a week. Place in a bright, well lit location, avoid direct sunlight and have 65-85 degrees and never below 55 degrees. Locate away from drafts. It never said what kind of orchid it was and it doesn't even have a drain hole on the bottom of the pot. I never intended to use ice on it even before I read this post. But I'm glad I read all your comments about it 'cause I was questioning the ice thing.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Put two ice cubes in a container, add your favorite liquer, drink up, then water your plant. You will both be happier ....


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

wheweee...what snobs.
The ice bit works like a charm. My orchid garden is thriving and they are lovely.
get over yourselves.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Maggie, thank you for your contribution to the discussion.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Arthur,

You spoke for most of us.

Thanks ;-)

Bob


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I haven't posted on here in a long time, but that is another story.

Anyway the ice watering trick as has been stated probably is not a great idea for most orchids.

However, Masdivella and other cold loving orchids must be kept quite cold and this is one of the best ways to water them. An ice cube or two once or twice a day. Of course you want to place them so they are not directly touching any plant material.


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Can orchids take a vacation?

I water my Just Add Ice Orchids every Sunday. I will be leaving that Friday (after Sunday) and will be away for 14 days. What's your advice as to missing a week of watering?

Help! I don't want them to die.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Give them a good watering with water, not ice, before you leave. Leave an inch or so of water in pan underneath when you leave. It won't be long enough to cause any damage to the plant and it will fine while you are away.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Huh, what happened to the archives? Awhile back, there was a long thread on this.


From the Google Machine:

1. P. Allen Smith and Just Add Ice advertise on each other's sites. From Smith: "I urge you to take the plunge with Just Add Ice’s Phalaenopsis orchids. Not only will you discover that caring for orchids is easier than expected, you’ll also bring sustainably grown beauty into your home." http://www.pallensmith.com/articles/just-add-ice-orchids-puts-the-green-in-greenhouse

2. Just Add Ice Orchids is a product from Green Circle Growers, a commercial nursery. Their site and Smith's article describe at length their sustainable methods. http://www.greencirclegrowers.com/

3. Their watering method applies only to Phals. On watering, "If you are using tap water for watering, ice cubes made with soft water are actually better than those made with unsoften water. Unsoften water typically contains higher amounts of calcium which overtime can build up in the soil and restrict growth."

4. On humidity, ".... Originating in the tropics, an orchid enjoys moist air at a humidity level between 55-75%. If you observe deformed emerging flowers or leaves it is likely the result of low humidity. To raise humidity levels, try running a humidifier during the day, this should be placed in the same room as your orchid."

5. In their "Consumer Report," 78% of Just Add Ice customers had never had an orchid before, and 80% rate themselves as beginners. http://justaddiceorchids.com/consumer-report?utm_source=website&utm_medium=menu&utm_campaign=consumer-report

Perhaps their Phal will be their introduction to orchids.

Here is a link that might be useful: Just Add Ice Orchids watering


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Earlier ice thread

Strange. Once I posted the Just Add Ice message above, the archives were available.

Anyway, here's the thread mentioned in my post above. Ron Tacoma started it late last September.

Also, Green Circle sells to the big box stores. I'm guessing most of their customers don't expect to keep an orchid plant once it's finished blooming.

And, Just Add Ice's Consumer Report has tons of info on their customers but doesn't report how long respondents had had their JAI Phals. Goodness gracious.

Hmmm - when I hit the "Post a follow up" link at the top of the page so I could post this, once again, the archives weren't available, only links to 3 ads at the bottom of the page. Oh, and no numbers for any other pages at the bottom, either.

Here is a link that might be useful: Phals under ice


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

When I see a thread with 30+ posts it must be interesting. While I agree with 90% of what has been said, it's the critical 10% that matters. Ice and orchids, yes it sounds nuts but it isn't. Most of us grow orchids in very standardized conditions, but this isn't what plants get in nature. Ice does occur in the tropics - in the form of hail from heavy thunderstorms. Of course it is very short lived, usually only a matter of minutes, but there is some evidence that a sudden change in atmospheric conditions can trigger flowering in some tropical orchids. This must be very temporary, however, as prolonged cold conditions are not enjoyed by the vast majority. One very interesting exception is Cymbidium, many of which (esp those with parentage from Japanese and Chinese species) will not flower unless subjected to several days of much lower than normal temperatures, usually in late fall. I have used the ice treatment on shy-flowering Cyms with some success.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

  • Posted by jamcm Ottawa Area, Canada (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 22, 11 at 8:06

To ifraser - Yes, but the distinction is that you are using these to change the temperature around your plant. The problem with the Just Add Ice thing is that they say this is how you should water your orchids - with only three ice cubes each a week. That's not nearly enough water! Someone who has never grown orchids will not be able to make the distinction and will walk away disappointed from orchids.

Julie


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Yes, but with all those people using the JAI method, they are killing off some of those horrid phal. hybrids! A silver lining :)


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I just received a just add ice orchid for Mother's Day from my Grand daughter. I love it and this Orchid is beautiful. I have never owned one before but i would hope to have it for a long time without killing it. I think it needs replanting but i'm not sure how to go about it. The roots seem to be showing, there is no dirt in te pot, which is about 24 oz. i think it is peat moss. Please help me on what to do.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Cissy, good luck with your first orchid. The best thing to do is research by finding some complete culture notes for Phalaenopsis on the net that relate to where you live in the USA.
Here is a set that is written for a Climate something like Los Angeles/San Diego.
Phalaenopsis Culture

These notes relate to Phalaenopsis culture in the Sydney area. These orchids cannot be grown outside in the yard or in a shade-house because winter minimum temperatures are too low and some summer maximum temperatures are too high. These temperature problems plus low humidity mean that special housing to meet Phalaenopsis needs is required, or the plants should be grown inside your home.

Culture within the home
Finding the place to put the plant. Your plant needs bright light, humidity levels of about 60% and temperatures where both you and the plant will be comfortable. That rules out one place that is often suggested, the bathroom. Another place that is a not good is one of those small closed in sunrooms where dry winter air is heated and the humidity levels are too low.
My plants are on the windowsill of a large airy kitchen. Winter temperatures range from 12C to 18C each day and a fibreglass blind protects the plants from all but a few hours of gentle sun in winter. Do not expose the plant to harsh direct sunlight because the leaves of the plant will burn. Early morning sun is best, but late afternoon sun is also OK provided it is screened as described above.

Humidity
Some people recommend spraying the plants with water every day to raise humidity. This is not necessary because the humidity level in most homes is about 60%. You may wish to place the plant on a humidity tray containing pebbles and water. This is not necessary either, but will not cause harm, provided the bottom of the pot is not sitting in water.

Watering
Frequency depends on the potting material and the atmosphere in the house but as a general guide once a week in winter grading to two or three times a week in summer. Potting material should be kept moist but not sopping wet.
Fertilizing
Use complete liquid fertilizer with every third watering, but only at half the prescribed strength. Wet the foliage as well.
Repotting
Every two years in late spring. Use specially prepared orchid bark, not Cymbidium mix. Try not to disturb the roots too much and just replace some of the older bark. Do not be in hurry to put in plant in a larger pot, because like most orchids, the plants seem to do better in a slightly pot-bound condition. Do not worry about some roots growing outside the pot. That is a good sign.

Treatment of flowering stem
When the flowers are nearly finished, you can cut the stem off just below the lowest flower and the plant may produce a new flowering shoot from the node just below the cut. BUT, note that most experienced growers cut the stem off at the base so the plant will put all its energy into growing new leaves, and therefore will produce better flowers next time.

Making the plant flower
The plant should produce a new flowering stem in autumn as the temperatures drop. Some growers induce flowering by watering the plant with Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulfate) once a week several times in autumn. The amount of Epsom salts required is one tablespoon full in a bucket of water.
Pests and diseases
Your plant should remain pest and disease free in the home environment. Fungal disease which shows up as black spots on the leaves is a symptom of over-watering, cut back on the watering a bit and seek help from a nursery or garden centre if the problem persists.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

my orchids camr enclosed in a tall ver tall GLASS container should i remove the plant from same will the stemms droop and break what do i do with this thing is it suppose to be ever blooming i hate killing things HELP


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Alma, you probably have the same orchid as Cissy, go up two posts to read. To help find what sort of orchid you have, google orchid and select images and see if you can find one with roughly similar flowers.
Once you have a rough id you should be able to find complete cultivation notes on the net that relate to to where you live and the growing conditions you can provide.
"Ever blooming" sounds like a Phalaenopsis because the flowers do last ages if freshly opened and given good conditions. No orchid will grow in a closed tall glass container.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Not only will the cold water shock the plant, but when the ice cube melts, it will drip in one spot.
That doesn't water all the roots, so it isn't good for the plant.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

My mother received a JAI Orchid over a month ago when I decided to simply follow the instructions as I never have tended an orchid before. It seems to be doing fine. In fact, it looks great. As somewhat of a logical guy in addition to a Biologist, but also a newbie to orchids, I believe the orchids are being shocked in a positive manner. This stress which encourages plants is only a once per week event and should boost the plant without damage. The ice which obviously melts before reaching the roots shouldn't do any thermal damage. Although most orchids don't live in freezing environments, a little cold soil isn't going to hurt an orchid and adding a few ice cubes to the bottom of the plant isn't the same as putting the whole plant in a cold environment. I don't think that would even hurt it for a short while which is how long it takes the ice to melt.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

  • Posted by bob8 z5 NY (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 10, 12 at 9:31

I was reading the looooooong post and truthfully just skiped to writing this and I suspect others won't get to the bottom of the post either. I grow in N.Y. in a greenhouse. I grow mostly paphs. with a mix of others taking up about 10 to 15 percent of the bench space. I usually only buy orchids with labels, but there are exceptions. One being that it is a beautiful orchid and the price is below the price of a labeled one. Twice a year I go to Surfside Beach (next to Myrtle Beach) in S. Carolina. I was going to Lowes and Home Depot looking for discount phals. Then by accident I stoped at a Krogers grocery store and upon entering found maybe 75 or 100 of these only add ice phals. The price was$12 to $20 depending on which one. I took two and then went back the next day to get a couple more. The next day they were all on sale for $10 and I bought two more to display in the condo and drive them back home with us. The next week I went back in the store and the store had placed crushed ice from the fish market all over these plants trying to water them. The ice was also on the leaves. They ruined most of the stock that was left by doing so. If you take the clear pot out of the display pot a couple of mine had names but no clonal names. They are currently in spike in my greenhouse. Would I buy more, sure but no ice for me.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

It works.

1. The "horrid phal. hybrids" :) orchid that I purchased from "Walmart" 3 years ago and have watered by following the little tag instructions stating to add 3 ice cubes weekly has bloomed gloriously. This is about the 4th or 5th blooming for it. My family never had an orchid before and this was our introduction to the flower. Amazingly, everything worked as it said it would and it is the orchid that continues to bloom, die, we cut it back and it blooms again. We do the 3 ice cubes with a commercial orchid food added to the water.

2. Since it seemed to work, I bought two more of those hybrids at the same Walmart some time later. Problem was, those two were on the table to be tossed away because they were dried out, flowerless, and SO dead looking. Aha, there was a wee bit of root sticking up that looked OK on each of these 2 'dead' plants. I know buying dead items is a great risk to my heathy home plants and I rarely do it, unless I suspect they are in their non-growing/blooming phase. The manager said I could have them and with the weekly 3 ice cubes, they came back to life. It took a year, but the one is fully in bloom, the other came to the flower bud stage, but the buds never opened. I'm still new to the orchid, so bud is probably the wrong word for the orchid flower. The one orchid got alot of flower buds that never opened. The other one is beautiful. So, in our house, these cheaper hybrid flowers are doing OK and 2 of them are truly beautiful and we are following the ice cube- (with orchid food added to the ice cube before freezing) watering once a week method.

3. It is ironic though that while these places sell these flowers that state the ice cube method of watering, I've never seen ice cubes in the orchards in these stores!

4. Because of our introduction via these cheap hybrids at Walmart and our success with the ice cube method, we spent quite a bit of time looking at and being more inspired by the 'better' orchids at the Philadelphia International Flower Show.

5. If anyone has suggestions what I can do to get the closed flower buds on the one orchid to bloom, I would appreciate your suggestions. Again, it is one of the cheaper, add ice, hybrids. I tried to search here on Gardenweb, but couldn't find a solution. Maybe I'm searching wrong.

6. Possibly these add ice hybrids have been greatly improved over the recent past few years to work with the add ice method for watering, and to appeal to the masses. Ours have been doing OK and we have been enjoying them. Must admit though, the orchids in shows are even more interesting to look at.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Please, they are not "Ice Hybrids" .They are Phalaenopsis. The ancestors came from tropical climates and they need warmth all year to grow and thrive.

The ice block thing is just a gimmick to stop the most common cause of death at the hands of new orchid growers which is overwatering.

It is ironic that those "beginner's" orchids in zone 6 are not beginner's orchids here in zone 9/10. (Homes not centrally heated in winter).

Anyway, welcome to orchid addiction. In a few years you could end up with dozens of orchids.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I've grown orchids of all kinds for almost 30 years and no there is no such thing as others have said an "Ice Orchid". I've seen these sold in the big box stores and if you like the plant buy it-BUT they are tropical plants which prefer moist growing medium but well drained. Cool temps down into the 50s at night for a week or two will stimulate flower bud development not ice cubes. They will bloom without the cooler temps but not as many flower stalks will be produced. Also don't cut the stalks off after flowering as they produce more flowers from the same stalks. You should water your Phalenopsis when the medium their growing drys out and not add an ice cube three times a week and do not fertilize during winter months if you live north of zone 9.

Grandprix you just got lucky this has worked for you as it would not with most moth orchids however not seeing pictures of the plants I can't determine just how good they look and are growing at their best.

Scott


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Scott - thanks. These are the 3 'add ice' orchids from Walmart. I'm not certain how to add a photo, so I attempted to put a URL link of a photo of the 3 orchids. The one on the left is the original which has bloomed about 4 times over the past 3 - 4 years. The one in the middle and the one on the right are the 2 that I got that were in bad condition and this was the first time that I have had them come to flower. It took about a year- year and a half to get them to this point. The one in the middle is fully in bloom. The one on the right is the one that has had the buds for about 2 - 3 months, but the buds have not opened and the orchid is still very small and 'frail' looking. The leaves do not look too bad and there are small new leaves beginning to show. When the orchid on the left stopped flowering/died off, we cut the stems back and so far, they have grown back and continued producing flowers. I cut the orchids stems down when I initially got them because they were so bad/dead looking. So, all three orchids have had their stems cut back. I've read where stems should be cut back and I have read that they should not be cut back. Any suggestions to help would be appreciated.

Here is a link that might be useful: 3 orchid photo


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Grandprix, congratulations on your success. The JAI method defies everything everyone's ever taught me about orchids. For 8 years, I've grown mostly Phals and shudder to think of trying to keep them alive on 3 ice cubes a week.

Interesting that JAI recommends softened water, which uses sodium to replace the calcium and magnesium in hard water. Watering regularly - pouring water through an orchid pot 2-3 times a week with softened water, is likely to kill the plant, depending on the amount of salt.

As for your Phal on the right, if you weren't using JAI, I'd say it's overpotted. However, from what I understand, it seems impossible for the medium to get wet in the first place, so it's a mystery.

Perhaps ask the JAI forum?


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Congrats on the phals...

As far as cutting back the stems, if the phal is doing well and I have not cut it back previously, I'll cut it back to the 3rd node. Less than optimal orchids, get cut back to within 1/2" of the main plant. If it were me, I'd probably go ahead and cut the stem on the one on the right so it can focus it's energy on growing better.

I don't agree with the JAI method, but it appears you may have the perfect balance of pot size and moisture.

Good luck,

Bob


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I'm pretty sure these are orchids potted in containers with NO drainage. (I.e, orchids from florist shops.) The ice cubes are a trick to keep people from over watering and drowning them. They do eventually die, but probably stay alive longer than they would for folks who don't know enough to take them out of their pretty pots and into something healthier for them.

The sad thing is that after a few failures with such orchids and instructions, people become disenchanted with orchids and become convinced they are hard to grow. They miss out on how beautiful they can be with correct care.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Susan, no drainage would explain a lot. WC8


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Marketing Genius! Why didn't I think of this! Best way to kill them then you can buy more! Wow! And for P Allen Smith... don't get me started on him.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

This is the first time I have looked at the Orchid forum for some and I saw that this one was for Just Add Ice Orchids and had to check it out. I bought one of these orchids about a month ago and was really skeptical about watering with ice because they are tropical plants but I still watered with 3 ice cubes a week. After reading this I looked at my orchid and used my moisture meter on the soil and it was bone dry (meter read about 10% moisture) and I had just watered it yesterday! I immediately took it into the kitchen and ran water through the pot until it seeped out the drainage holes. I have a few questions now:
1). Is this the right way to water just use the sink to water through the pot about once a week?
2). Is it normal for the older leaves near the bottom to kind of droop over the side of the pot? (Picture Reference 1)
3). Is the position relative to the light good? It's not directly in the path of the light but it's close to it. (Picture Reference 2)
Orchid 1
Orchid 2


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Hi CraziiCarl. Nice set up for your plants. Kudos for checking non-JAI resources early and for using the moisture meter.

A couple of clarifications -

1. What are the ingredients in your orchid's potting medium?
2. Is the orchid in a pot that fits down inside the clay pot?
3. If so, does that pot have any drainage?

Suggestions below are w/ the caveat that there are many ways to grow orchids successfully. That said, there are general required ranges for amount of light, temperatures, types of pots, potting media, water quality, fertilizer, watering, relative humidity, air movement, and I may have missed a couple.

Same variables as for houseplants, only some orchid ranges are different. Yesterday, when my cousin was asking how to care for her first ordhid, I said it's as easy as her beautiful houseplants, except orchid info goes in a different bucket in her brain from her houseplant info.

So... strong recommendation: Get a solid intro to growing orchids. One of the best is Ortho's All About Orchids, available in paperback online, bookstores, and maybe Home Depot & Lowe's.

1). Is this the right way to water just use the sink to water through the pot about once a week?

My suggestion is to go by your moisture meter. When you water, the medium should get soppy, soaking wet w/ tepid or room temperature water. You can't get it too wet when you water - it just has to dry out between waterings.

Soaking the pot in a slightly larger container is a good way to wet the medium thoroughly, esp. because you have only one orchid... for now. :) Mine soak for an hour minimum, and the occasional 48 hours hasn't bothered them, including several Phals.

If you have softened water, you'll need another source - the salts can kill orchids.

Once the medium's soaked, let the pot drain for awhile, then return to its spot. Mine drain for an hour minimum in the dish drain but may not need that much time.

2). Is it normal for the older leaves near the bottom to kind of droop over the side of the pot? (Picture Reference 1)

Normal to droop. Does that bottom leaf have any scratches or spots on it? In the first shot, it looks fine, & it's harder to tell in the second shot.

3). Is the position relative to the light good? It's not directly in the path of the light but it's close to it. (Picture Reference 2)
It depends on the wattage in your bulbs. To bloom, your Phaleanopsis, or "Phal," needs much stronger light than most houseplants.

I'm excited for you. WhiteCat8


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Dear whitcat8,
Here are the answers to your questions:
-I have no idea what is in the potting mix because I bought the Miracle Gro prepackaged mix and yes I know that this is probably not the best but in the old container that it was in it wasn't doing well and this was the only mix available to me at the time.
-The orchid is currently just in the clay pot that has a couple of air holes on the side and a couple drainage holes at the bottom.
-The bottom leaves and one of the top leaves have like a couple spots and what look like tiny little scratches. Also the bottom leaves are much lighter in color then the top leaves (but that could be because their not getting as much light as the top leaves.
- As far as the lighting I think that it's fin because even though the picture doesn't show it the plant is sending up a new flower spike.
--
Thanks,
Carl


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

what is the "other forum"?


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

I just had another quick question:
I have softened water. Is it ok to let the water sit over night (or longer) and then use it. This is what I do to make sure that If there is any chlorine or floried (in the case of my lucky bamboo) that it evaporates before I water my plants.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

CraziiCarl, thanks for your info.

1. Is the Miracle Gro mix specifically for orchids? If not, you'll need to get some very soon cuz houseplant mix is a lot denser than orchid bark mix or sphagnum moss & will keep the roots wet too long, and they'll rot = dead orchid. A prepackaged orchid mix is fine.

In the wild, Phal roots often attach themselves to tree trunks or branches and are exposed to rain water, high humidity, and air movement. They must dry out quickly. It's amazing they adapt to humans' orchid mixes.

Phal in situ 2

Phal in situ

2. That's a good pot for your orchid cuz it allows more air on the medium, and bottom drainage is faster. If the pot has potting soil in it, though, the extra air and drainage won't save the Phal.

3. Your description of the leaves sounds fine.

4. An orchid spiking doesn't necessarily mean it's getting enough light. One way orchids are different from houseplants is they can take at least several weeks to show stress.

Knowing the wattage of your bulbs will help us advise on the amount of light it needs.

5. As for softened water, my only information is that the salts kill orchids. Strictly a guess, but it seems unlikely salt would evaporate if the water sat out.

Perhaps only a few people are still following this thread. To get more complete info, you can start a new thread, asking if softened water is ok for orchids.


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

WhiteCat8,
The bulb I'm using is a 26 w cfl and yes it was a mix specifically for orchids but it looks more like pitting soil then bark. I also looked at the amazon review for the mix and a lot of people on there stated that it was way too much potting soil/compost in the mix. What can I use instead of this? Is there a specific brand or substance you recommend? I've also heard if people keeping them in pure sphagnum moss. I do have this available were I live so it is something I can easily pix up.
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Thanks,
Carl


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Hi Carl. For your lighting, you might want to start another thread. My orchids are under 3 CFLs in wide-mouthed fixtures, right in front of a big E/SE window, so I'm no help.

Yes, get the sphag. If it dries out too fast in your clay pot, a plastic pot is a next option. If it stays too wet in clay, you can order a smallish amount of a good orchid bark mix online. All my plants are in sphag, but others on the forum know of trusted vendors w/ reasonable prices.

And seriously consider getting the Ortho All About Orchids book. It covers just about everything for people new to orchids.

For step-by-step repotting videos, check out repotme.com. From everything I've read, they get thumbs up around here, and you can repot Phals while they're in spike & even blooming. How perfect is that? :) WC8


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Thanks for all of your help! I going to go out later today to try and get some sphag and a new pot just in case!
--
Thanks,
Carl


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Just grabbed a bag of moss, a new plastic pot, and a new decorative pot. Going to watch the repotting video on rePotme.com and then I'm going to try to repot my Phal. Wish me luck and I'll post some pictures when I'm done!


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Just finished repotting my Phal. I decided that the plastic pot did fit inside the decorative pot because it was getting stuck and was really hard to remove. Thanks for all you help WhiteCat8!
--
Thanks,
Carl

Orchid 3

Orchid 4


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Hey Carl welcome to the forum! Look at you with your nice and neat, tidy little plants. It looks wonderful! I don't even remember when I only had 5 plants,(& i only have about 60-70). And I certainly didn't have lights set up for them.Very nice start to a "growing addiction".

Whitecat and I are similar in that we both grow a multitude of things in moss and frankly as I continue; I find more and more orchids that for me will do better in moss. I don't mind changing it out every year and find my plants just benefit from it more than other growing media. May I suggest the next time you get moss, get the blonde colored stuff. Either the New Zealand or Chilean moss. Lowe's carries the SunBulb brand, and yes it will have crap in it occasionally like sticks or stems but it is far more beneficial than the moss from Minnesota that has that darker brown color. Happy growing! ginnibug


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Dear Ginnibug,
Thanks, next time I'll keep that in mind. Although I can't speak for its effect on the plant (yet!) I must say that it was a lot easier to put then with the miracle gro stuff I used before. It also looks more clean and appealing in the moss then it did in the other mix. Hopefully it will be happy and give me lots of blooms on the new spike I found a couple of days ago!
--
Thanks,
Carl


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Carl, you are most welcome. Many super orchid folks helped me get started, and it's fun to pass along their kindness.

Ginnibug and I are on the same page about the type sphag to use, except I've never tried 5-star Chilean. A few years ago, a young cousin bought Chilean sphag for her Phal at a garden center. It couldn't have been 5-star because it compacted way too much when wet, so almost no air got to the roots. We fixed it right up w/ some of my AAA New Zealand sphag. The AAA grade is perfect for potting orchids; higher grades usually are for "sculpting" certain types of orchids - not Phals. (Maybe Repotme.com covered some of this.)

From Repotme.com:

New-Zealand-Sphagnum-600

That's a quarter there for comparison. The sphag looks as if it's slightly damp.

Dry sphag is brittle and looks like this:

New Zealand Moss 40 lt lg

If you cut the plastic off, the sphag will stay in that shape, except little pieces and sphag dust will break off in the process.

From http://www.fernfactory.com/frontend/proddetail.aspx?pn=SNEWZLDLRG&co=10000325. I'm not familiar w/ this vendor, but they had good pix.

I'd feel better if you started a new thread and asked about your lighting. Looking out for your Phal, here. :) WC8

Here is a link that might be useful: AAA New Zealand Sphagnum Moss, repotme.com


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RE: Just Add Ice Orchids

Thanks for the advise WC8 and Ginnibug,
WC8 tomorrow I'll make sure to start a new thread about my lighting. I'd do it right now but since I'm on my iPod and don't want to turn on my computer to get the pictures it'll have to hold off unroll tomorrow.
--
Thanks,
Carl


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