‘Prevents healthy growth’: Avoid using ice cubes to water orchids – ‘shocks roots’

Orchids: Expert shares tips for looking after plant

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Watering houseplants is crucial all year round in order to keep them alive. However, their needs do slightly change depending on the climate and season. This can confuse many, with overwatering being one of the biggest problems when it comes to owning indoor plants. One trend circulating saw ice cubes being used to water orchids and one expert has shared why this hack can be harmful towards orchids.

Kate Lindley, houseplant expert at Baby Bio, exclusively told Express.co.uk explained that ice cubes are dangerous to use in an orchid’s watering schedule.

She said: “Spring has finally sprung, so your orchid will soon begin to actively grow again after lying dormant throughout the winter months. 

“With the promise of warmer weather on the horizon, it’s time to up your orchid’s watering schedule to help it flourish and thrive this season.

“Some houseplant enthusiasts may be tempted to try watering with ice cubes, as it is thought that the slow drip of water from the melting ice cube mimics that of water dripping from the leaves in tropical climates where orchids natively grow. 

“But the cold temperature from the ice cubes can cause the root system to go into shock, which in turn will prevent healthy growth.”

The expert explained that the reason for this is because most orchid varieties are native to areas in southeast Asia, and are therefore “acclimatised to warm, tropical rains”.

Instead, Kate suggested using “tepid” water in an outside container.

She said: “Fill the outer container with tepid water so that the whole compost in the pot is covered. 

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“Leave to stand in the water for one hour, then drain off the water. Leave to drain for another hour to avoid it sitting in water, as orchids are susceptible to root rot. 

“Put the water to one side, as this can be used to water your other houseplants.”

Once the orchid has completely drained off, gardeners should replace the inner pot into the outer decorative pot.

As well as watering, at this time of year orchids need fertilising.

Kate said: “It’s also time to begin using fertiliser in spring to ensure your orchid has all of the nutrients it needs to grow stronger roots and brighter blooms.

“Orchids require a mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium for optimum growth, so invest in a specialist plant food which can provide the perfect balance, like Baby Bio Orchid Food. 

“Simply add five to 10 drops per half a litre of water every time you water, or use a Baby Bio Orchid Food Drip Feeder to keep your orchid fed for up to four weeks.”

Humidity is also a big factor when caring for orchid plants due to where they are natively grown.

The houseplant expert said: “During the spring months, you should also mist your orchid lightly to increase humidity.

“But be careful you don’t soak the leaves or leave them damp as this can lead to mould, fungus, and leaf rot.”

Misting is simply spraying an orchid with a fine mist spray bottle.

This can also help sufficiently water the houseplant and prevent the common issue of overwatering.

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