Somehow, after researching, planting, feeding, and diligently watering your new plants you can still come home to find each and every one wilted over. It’s alright, having a green thumb is a truly rare quality to possess. But, there is one trick taking over social media that you can use to help improve your plant’s chances: ice cubes.
As Reader’s Digest reported, one of the main reasons many people fail to keep their houseplants alive is because they tend to over-care for them by watering them too often. This helicopter plant parenting can cause root rot — a fungus that grows on roots and kills your plant quickly.
So, to avoid overwatering all you need to do is take a more measured approach.
According to Reader’s Digest, all it takes is placing two large ice cubes at the base of your plant once a week to keep them happy and hydrated. This way the plant gets to suck up all that H2O slowly, but surely. Moreover, this will also help stave off any messy watering overflow that may occur.
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This trick rings especially true for orchids. As Amanda Gutterman wrote over on The Gardenist, “...most orchids (I wince as I write this) drown to death. Though the orchid is native to the tropics, its roots need to be well drained so no water pools at the bottom of the orchid pot. For this reason, some orchid devotees un-pot the plants to water them in the shower. Un-potting seemed too risky to me. I err on the conservative side and water with ice cubes once a week.”
Gutterman, a true ice cube watering devotee, then explained just how much of a difference this watering technique can make.
“Months passed. The marbled pink-and-white petals had grown fuller than ever so that each flower was nearly the size of my hand,” she said. “Their weight made them lean over voluptuously on their stakes. The leaves, which I sometimes polish, were thick and glossy enough to reflect the sunlight.”
And she’s not alone. People all over social media are showing off the fruits of their plant farming labor with the hashtag #IceCubeOrchid.
Of course, there are those who believe this watering method is just too good to be true. As the Oregon Orchid Society wrote on its site, “The ice cube idea is to provide minimal water in the orchid’s suboptimal conditions. The problem is, even though this might mimic the amount of water that the orchid had in their upbringing, misted hourly in mass greenhouses, over time the plant will die from being cramped in suboptimal conditions.” It added, “If you want to keep your orchid alive for years, the solution is regular watering with room-temperature water after repotting the orchid into proper orchid mix (usually bark) and a good, well-draining pot.”
Still, the ice cube method has enough devotees on social media that if you’re having a hard time keeping your plants alive it may be a life hack worth testing out.