|Masdevallia Highland Monarch|
Monday, March 14, 2011
The Place for Ice
I had the delightful opportunity to work a few shifts at the information table at the Kansas City Orchid Show. A high percentage of individuals introduced themselves like this: "Hi, I bought an orchid about six months ago and I've been giving it three ice cubes like the instructions said. Why isn't it blooming?" Always diplomatic, I discussed how the ice cubes help avoid over-watering, but invite other problems like root shock and under-watering. It works for some people, but I heard some sad orchid tales during my time at the table. I always suggested that the way to overcome the death of an orchid was to buy another or three.
There might be a place for ice, however, with cool-growing orchids. We bought a large used aquarium from Pet World wherein we placed our two Masdevallias. They want good light, high humidity, and temperatures ranging from 50-65 F. The aquarium is working out so far, but it's difficult to get it nice and cold. I've been adding two cups of ice twice a day and that's managed to keep the temperature about 5-7 degrees cooler than inside the house. It's a start. The summer will pose additional challenges, but I'm sure Lan Lan and Sabine will have something figured out by then.