Why ice cubes?

Discussion in 'Orchidaceae (orchids)' started by togata57, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Yesterday, as I read my Sunday paper, I came across an ad for the discount grocery store Aldi. My eye was caught by a phal, advertised for sale at $9.99. (5-inch pot.) That part was fine...but the copy beneath the photo began with the bold-face heading: Just Add Ice.

    Over the past few months I have noted the mention of this procedure several times here on the Forum. Experienced orchid fanciers know enough to NOT DO THIS, but folks with their first orchid follow this instruction and subsequently wonder what is wrong with the poor frozen phal. Ice cubes might be OK tossed onto a flowerbed in the summertime, but ice cubes placed directly upon the exposed roots of an orchid are going to create negative---if not deadly---results.

    From whence did this pernicious idea arise? Is it some kind of plant-industry conspiracy: hey, if we get all these people to kill off these orchids, they'll go out and buy more? At the very least, it is insulting to the plant purchaser. Instead of printing some USEFUL INFORMATION on orchid culture on those plastic plant-stick thingeys, it sure seems to me that the growers think that the consumer is so lazy and ignorant that plant care must be reduced to the simplest action possible. Guess we can't handle watering, or misting, or begin to comprehend the phrase 'bright curtain-filtered sunlight'!

    I am both mystified and horrified by this seeming trend. I don't understand it, and feel powerless to stop it. To anyone reading this, I implore you: Keep your ice cubes in your beverage---NOT ON YOUR ORCHIDS!!!
     
  2. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    I've seen ice recommended as a way to water plants. To the neophyte, it has the appeal of being neat and measured. I think it's inappropriate at any time for any plant. Maybe edelweiss will bloom better with ice, but I doubt it.

    As an amateur writer who has been paid on occasion for pieces I've written, editors paid and unpaid can really twist your words in illogical fashion. I'd be willing to bet that most instances of people recommending ice as a way to water any plant are instances of someone less knowledgeable about plants editing the original text.

    At least we no longer run across the people who think putting cigarettes out in your potted plants is a friendly gesture. I remember way back when I would have to hide all my geodes and shells and cover my plants' potting soil with crumpled tissue paper to dissuade smokers at parties from spoiling them.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It probably would - there are lots of alpine plants that grow in snow melt zones, with ice-cold water running through their roots. But definitely not tropical orchids!
     
  4. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Maybe it started off as an idea to stop "consumers" from overwatering their orchids, which must surely be the most common way of killing them. A stupid idea obviously, but born of good intentions.
     
  5. arcticshaun

    arcticshaun Active Member

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    I always thought that it was to create a day/night temperature differential which many orchids need to induce flowering. I wouldn't try it on my cooler growing species (like Masdevallias) and on warm growers like Phalaenopsis to make it a regular practice is probably a death sentence for the plant.

    Shaun
     
  6. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    So what can be done to combat this apparently spreading misinformation? Should we take matters into our (earth-stained) hands and snatch any plant stakes we see bearing falsity? Write to the president of companies which use this copy in their ads and say 'DON'T DO THAT!'---? Lurk about near plant displays and waylay innocent plant novices in order to prevent them from committing orchidicide?

    I think that I am going to write to the garden columnist for our local newspaper and alert her to this danger. If she mentions it in her weekly column, at least her readers will know about it. Perhaps they will spread the word, and eventually this knowledge will become common enough to bring about a change for the better.

    Appears I've answered my own question! But what do YOU think?
     
  7. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    It's probably a matter of getting the information to the right person. Sometimes, that right person for us will really be the president of the company, because then the problem will be delegated to the one responsible for correcting the misinformation.

    Talking to people at the point of purchase will not help much, if at all. If you get a really knowledgeable sales person there and that person really cares about plants and about satisfied customers, there's a chance that that one person will tell anyone who buys from him about the misinformation, but that's as far as it will go.
     
  8. MrsGreenthumbs

    MrsGreenthumbs Active Member

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    The only thing that I ever watered with ice was my bonsai...well mother nature did that. In the morning during the winter the snow would melt and give it a drink. I agree it'd just people trying to get people to buy and rebuy things...disgusting and wasteful!

    Mrs.Greenthumbs
     
  9. Katalina25

    Katalina25 New Member

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    Err...nooooooo..lol
     
  10. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I would never water any of my orchids with ice, however, I have watered a containerized Philodendron with ice cubes taken from lunch and dinner drinks for many years, without any problem at all. In fact, with the exception of fertilization, ice cubes are the only water the plant has ever gotten. I realize the hardiness difference between Philodendrons and Orchids. - Millet (1,179-)
     
  11. oberfeldwebel

    oberfeldwebel Active Member

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    Never - ever - ever........ Ice cubes = shock = retarded... Sounds like they're trying to boost sales...
     
  12. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Last week at my local Kroger store...large display of poor helpless phals, all bearing tags reading "JUST ADD ICE". Agree w/you, oberfeld---as I stated in my original post, sure does appear that this is a conspiracy to kill off orchids so that more will be sold as replacements. Horrible!

    This week, I am going to closely examine aforementioned tags to see if there is any info as to web site, company name, address, phone number with which one might communicate. Something should be done: as a plant-o-phile, I feel that it is incumbent upon me to take action.
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Good luck! Don't forget to report back on your results.

    Maybe take it up with trading standards officers, too - if they could threaten court action against the producers for deliberately offering damaging advice, it would carry more weight.
     
  14. oberfeldwebel

    oberfeldwebel Active Member

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    I like Micheal F's idea :-).... If they're growers they know better!
     
  15. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Have just googled 'Just Add Ice orchids'. Am appalled to discover that no less a personage than PBS' garden poster boy, P. Allen Smith, endorses and even advocates this horrid procedure.

    Also found commentary by members of Orchid Board, who pull no punches in their criticism of this insanity.

    More to come.
     
  16. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Just Add Ice Orchids
    51051 US Highway 20 (Oberlin-Norwalk Road)
    Oberlin, OH 44074-9637

    Am attempting to dig up a phone number for this establishment.
    Have managed to get a look at the place thanks to Google Earth maps...my oh my all the room in the world to cultivate THOUSANDS of hapless phals!

    I am saddened to note that I am a resident of the same state in which this sacrifice of orchids in the name of making money is perpetuated.
     
  17. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Who he??

    Links?
     
  18. oberfeldwebel

    oberfeldwebel Active Member

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    What's their email? I'd like to ask them where they have their ice machine installed at their facilities...
     
  19. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    OK, I have returned from Kroger's. While there I nabbed the tag from the one remaining orchid I found. Cut in the shape of a phal-blossom silhouette, this tag reads "Just Add Ice Orchids" w/ illustration of 3 melting cubes (obverse) and on reverse informs thusly:

    Easy as...1-2-3

    1. Water with 3 ice cubes once a week.
    2. Place in a bright. well-lit location, avoid direct sunlight.
    3. 65-85 degrees F, never below 55 degrees F. Locate away from drafts.

    For more easy tips visit...
    www.justaddiceorchids.com

    Golly, I sure would like to find out just where this idea came from. I sure would like to find out what sadist/ignoramus/plant-o-phobe/ivory-tower-dweller thinks that placing ice cubes directly on the exposed roots of an epiphytic orchid is anything but a death sentence for the plant.
     
  20. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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  21. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    P. Allen Smith
    P. Diddy

    Is that too small a sample set to infer a pattern emerging?

    Not that I am suggesting Mr. Smith is more concerned with his image and bank balance than he is with the health of orchids.
     
  22. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Oh, feel free so to do! I am convinced of it.

    Even worse, I believe that this is not only is money-motivated decision, but one made without ANY thought given to the health of the plants involved. This seems obvious! How can this be considered a good idea?
     
  23. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    My guess is that the idea originated with the marketing department of the agrobusiness that produces these orchids. Planned obsolescence, or built-in obsolescence, is a well known technique employed in the manufacturing sector to ensure repeat business. It would be difficult for a corporation to adapt the technique to the live plant business, unless the marketing department could think of a good way to convince the customers to slowly kill their own plants........

    Looking through the links to the company concerned I was astonished to see you can even sign up for a weekly email reminding you to just add ice.

    As Michael says above, this type of advice would probably fall foul of trading standards in the UK, I suspect the regulations in the US are less strict.
     
  24. kevind76

    kevind76 Active Member

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    So, how exactly are you supposed to water with ice cubes or ice water, and yet grow the plant at 65F? Normally, but not always, for plants in the wild, the temp of the water somewhat complements the air temp. Wouldn't this be the first clue that this might be a bad idea?

    Good luck togata57!
     
  25. Waites23

    Waites23 Member

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    Hello,
    We hope this does not come as a bother. We purchesed a just add ice orchid from kroger.
    While now we want be watering with ice cudes, we would like to know what kind it is. I am an outdoor gardner getting into the world of indoor and green houses. But, finding out what type this little baby is. well is hard. You would not happen to know what type is sold at kroger and well any types would be nice. Like do we need to let it get uses to the envirment before repotting?
     

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