Among the many unsupported gardening practices is watering orchids and other houseplants with ice cubes. This trick may has amazed many growers at first, but after experiencing it firsthand, they soon realize that it does not work for everybody.
The discourse about this technique continues up to this day. Some gardeners find ice cubes effective while others think they do not actually help, and can sometimes even cause problems for the houseplants.
Overwatering is a common plant concern that the ice cube method aims to prevent. Supporters of this concept believe that the slowly melting ice allows plants to gradually absorb water, thereby preventing them from being overwatered.
Even though this technique has been circulating for a while now, there are no studies that prove its effectiveness.
In a study by Ohio State University, researchers found that this approach had no harmful effects on the orchids, but there was no mention if it can produce its intended results, either.
If ice cubes melt faster than they can be absorbed by the soil, then it can still cause the plant roots to be soaked in water. The intense temperature of ice can shock and kill the plants, too.
One plant business owner said when bringing plants indoors, the goal is to provide them an environment that’s similar to their natural habitat. Growers would not want to give water that’s too hot or too cold for their plant babies.
Many gardeners want an easy and fast solution to high-maintenance plants like orchids. While people see orchids as a fragile and difficult ornamental plant, a horticulturist said that the key to prevent overwatering is to place the plant in a sink, pour water over them, then return them to their place once all the excess liquid has drained.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to watering plants, but one practice that always works better than the ice cube trick is the “feel” method—sticking the finger into the soil to determine if it’s moist or dry before watering.