Influence of substrate on shelf life of Phalaenopsis

Earlier this year, the Post-Harvest Knowledge Centre of FloraHolland in Naaldwijk conducted a trial to investigate how the use of different substrates affects the shelf life of Phalaenopsis. For the purpose of this trial, the shelf life of Phalaenopsis in 12 cm pots filled with different Fibre-Neth coco peat substrates was compared with Phalaenopsis grown on a conventional Phalaenopsis substrate.

Propagation phase
The plants on Fibre-Neth coco peat substrate were propagated by the R&D team of Van der Knaap Group in its own innovation centre ‘de Kas’ in Honselersdijk. The plants on the reference substrate were propagated at a commercial nursery. Several Fibre-Neth coco substrates were used. Six plants were tested at the Knowledge Centre for each treatment. A number of simulations were carried out in order to examine the response of the plants at different stages of cultivation: the transport, point of sale and consumer stages. The plants were assessed at the start of each stage and once a week during the final stage. The ornamental value of the foliage and the number of good flowers were determined at the moment of assessment.

During the course of the trial, not one plant was rejected due to insufficient ornamental value or due to the plants ceasing to flower. All plants therefore had a longer shelf life than the 56-day test period. However, clear differences in flowering performance and therefore quality were observed.

Overall, the standard Fibre-Neth substrate achieved the best performance. This substrate resulted in the highest number of open flowers, with hardly any bud blast and dehydrated buds. The plants on the various Fibre-Neth substrates dropped virtually no buds during the eight-week duration of the trial.

The plants on the reference substrate had the most difficultly coming into flower, with a high degree of bud blast and dehydrated buds. Although the number of buds at the start and end of the trial period was higher on the reference substrate, a high percentage of buds (72%) failed to open. The different substrates did not affect the foliage quality.

Left: Fibre-Neth substrate day 28. Right: Reference substrate day 28

More information?
Would you like more information about the results of these trials or are you interested in the substrate trials with Phalaenopsis that will be performed at innovation centre ‘de Kas’ in the near future? Please contact Dirk Zwinkels - R&D Van der Knaap Group - on + 31 174-296606 or at

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