Just add ice: new 'life hack' method for watering orchids

Phalaenopsis orchids are one of the biggest selling potted flowering plants worldwide, and Ohio-based company ‘Just Add Ice’ recommends watering them with ice cubes, sparking ongoing debate among orchid enthusiasts. However, the company has recently cited new research officially backing the safety and efficacy of watering with ice, a concept it has built its brand around.

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.

Just Add Ice® supplies orchids with simple instructions to demystify the watering of these beautiful plants: three ice cubes, once a week.

“We have proven that ice cubes are a viable way for consumers to water Phalaenopsis orchids,” 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.”

Marketed as a useful “life hack” method in a busy world, Just Add Ice® hopes that more people can enjoy caring for orchids at home thanks to the ice watering method.

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.

Visit to learn more about the study and results.