Phalaenopsis orchids are the top selling potted flowering plant in the US. Ohio-based company Just Add Ice recommends watering with ice cubes, sparking ongoing debate among orchid enthusiasts – a debate that's now over, as new research officially backs the safety and efficacy of watering with ice.

To explore the impact of ice watering on orchid health, researchers from the Ohio State University and University of Georgia tested 48 orchids for six months, comparing water and ice irrigation to understand the effects of each method on orchid health and display life. The study was published in HortScience in September 2017.

Just Add Ice offers orchids with simple instructions to demystify the watering of these plants: three ice cubes, once a week. The accessible ice method has created a loyal following, turning orchids into an easy-care plant that anyone can care for, and loyal Just Add Ice enthusiasts have left over 1,300 reviews with an average 4.4 star rating.

In addition to their standard messages about the convenience of ice, the brand can now cite scientific evidence that ice watering is safe and does not pose risks to the plants.

"We have proven that ice cubes are a viable way for consumers to water Phalaenopsis orchids in bark media," explains Doctor Michelle Jones, Professor and DC Kiplinger Endowed Floriculture Chair at the Ohio State University. "It is an easy and convenient method to provide a set volume of water, which reduces the problems with over- or under-watering."

Ice can even help the orchid to absorb water more effectively, explains Kaylee South, an OSU graduate student. "The slow release of water from the ice cubes allows more time for the orchid roots and media to take up the water."

One of the main concerns when it comes to ice watering is the idea that ice will damage the orchid's roots because they aren't normally exposed to freezing temperatures. However, the studies confirmed that ice watering is safe and effective, with no damage to orchid roots.

"The reason the orchids are not damaged is due to the construction of the roots," says Paul A. Thomas, Professor at the University of Georgia. "Orchid roots have an amazing complex structure, including...two layers that provide the insulation from tropical sun, or in our case, from the cold of the melting ice."

Experienced orchid growers and green thumbs may develop their own preferred care methods over time, favoring non-ice irrigation. However, the convenience and safety of ice watering is an effective way to care for orchids, making it a useful "lifehack" method in a busy world.

To spread the word about the success of ice watering, Just Add Ice will be giving away orchids and prizes to Facebook and Instagram followers between August 20 and September 1, 2018. Six winners will receive a Classic 5" Phalaenopsis Orchid, silicone ice tray, and insulated tote.

Just Add Ice is owned by Green Circle Growers, a family-owned company in Oberlin, Ohio and the largest orchid producer in North America, growing 8 million orchids annually.

For more information:
Just Add Ice Orchids
51051 US Hwy 20, Oberlin OH