This ice cube watering hack could help keep your house plants alive

Marie Claire Dorking
·3-min read
Should we all be watering our house plants with ice cubes? (Getty)
Should we all be watering our house plants with ice cubes? (Getty)

We love house plants. The problem is, they don’t really love us back. Probably because we keep killing them.

From forgetting to water them at all to over-watering – being a successful plant parent isn’t always easy.

So much so, that according to a recent survey by OnePoll in conjunction with Article, nearly half of millennials refuse to own house plants because they don’t know how to take care of them, or experience ‘foliage-fear’ when they do try to keep a plant alive.

The two biggest anxiety-causing factors are trying to figure out how much sunlight a plant needs, followed swiftly by confusion over how often to water it.

So long, succulent my old friend.

Read more: Best time of day to water plants, and other beginner gardening questions answered

But could using ice cubes to water our plants help prevent us over-watering?

The ice cube watering hack isn’t all that new, having been shared in the gardening community for years, but as The Guardian points out, this houseplant watering folklore has recently resurfaced via memes and posts shared on social media.

And suddenly our interest has piqued, thanks to our uncanny ability to kill all the plants we’ve bought during lockdown.

Watch: These beautiful ice cubes will elevate your latte game

So how can ice cubes help?

One of the main reasons so many plants end up in house plant heaven is because their enthusiastic owners over-water them.

“For those who can be a little heavy handed when it comes to watering their house plants, the ice cube method can be a great way to deliver just the right amount of hydration for your plant’s needs,” explains Chris McIlroy at The Grass People.

“The slowly melting ice cubes result in the soil not becoming oversaturated with water, which can be damaging to the health of a plant, and is a major cause of plants failing to thrive.”

Read more: Where to buy bedding plants online to brighten your garden

Could ice cubes be the solution to our house plant killing problem? (Getty)
Could ice cubes be the solution to our house plant killing problem? (Getty)

Ice cubes placed into plant pots, release liquid slowly as they melt, which gives the soil and roots enough time to absorb the water to give plants the correct level of hydration they need.

McIlroy says ice cubes can also be useful for watering harder to reach plants, such as those in hanging containers.

However, not all house plants will be receptive to this particular method of watering.

“Orchids are known to thrive with this method, but other tropical plants may not take kindly to the cold temperature and should only be watered with room temperature water, or misted with a spray, to avoid shock,” advises McIlroy.

Read more: Alan Titchmarsh tells of sadness as garden centres bin £200m of perishable plants

For those of us who fall into the forget-to-water camp, McIlroy has another handy H20 hack.

“If a plant needs regular watering and you’re likely to forget to keep on top of it, or if you’re away from home for a period of time, you can use the upside-down water bottle trick.

“Simply fill up a plastic bottle with water, leave the cap off, and quickly turn the bottle upside-down and push down into the soil of the plant.

“The water will slowly be absorbed and keep it moist at the roots for a happy, well-watered plant. There are also specially designed plant spikes on the market that can also do the same job if you’d like a more visually appealing option, but the water bottle method is good in a pinch.”

Watch: Fed up of your house plants dying? We’ve got you covered with these 8 tips on how to take care of them

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