Watering Houseplants with Ice Cubes?

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9 April 2013
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Flowers and Plants

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Why to NOT water your houseplants including orchids with ice cubes:

#1 Ice cubes cost money to make, stop wasting fossil fuels!

#2 If your house is above 32 degrees the ice will melt in a few hours, are you that pressed for time that your plants can’t be watered once a week?

#3 You say you have lots of ice to get rid of? Perhaps you should change the setting on your freezer to make less ice.

#4 One ice cube is a small amount of water, even 1 dozen is still a small amount for the typical size house plant. Don’t under water your plants.

FACT: Ice causes new roots to die off. The plants think they are experiencing an event like a hail storm. The preferred method is to give them a warm water shower (think the tropics where the majority of orchids and inside houseplants come from), meaning water runs over them until they are soaked and then they don’t sit in water, much like how you shower a person.

The best quote advice I’ve ever received was from a lecture at the AOS (American Orchid Society) when a member asked about ice cubes for plants during the Q&A. The reply? “When I see ice cubes in the rain forest (where orchids originate from) I’ll begin to use ice cubes, until then, the soak and drain method is the gold standard!”


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