(76) Thermal Effects on Vegetative Growth and Reproductive Behavior of Phalaenopsis Orchids

in HortScience
Author: Yin-Tung Wang1
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  • 1 Texas A&M University System, Horticultural Sciences, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Weslaco, TX, 78596

Since Phalaenopsis orchids are CAM plants, learning how they respond to night temperature warmer than the day would help regulate their production. On 1 Apr. 2003, P. amabilis plants were subjected to day/night temperatures at 30/25, 25/30, 25/20, 20/25, 20/15, or 15/20 °C under 140 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF. After 4 months, the total length of new leaves was shorter as a result of fewer and shorter new leaves when nights were cooler than the days and as the average daily temperature declined. More spikes were produced at 25/20 and 20/25 °C than at 20/15 or 15/20 °C. In another experiment, P. amabilis plants were moved to the above conditions on 12 Aug. Plants exposed to 30/25 or 25/30 °C had more leaf growth than at lower temperatures, but no flowering. Plants that were exposed to 25/20 or 20/25 °C spiked in 2 weeks; but plants took 20 and 18 d to spike under 20/15 or 15/20 °C, respectively. Again, as average daily temperature decreased, there was less leaf growth. Cooler day than the night reduced vegetative growth, regardless of temperature. Plants at 25/20 or 20/25 °C had higher flower count (12) than those at 20/15 or 15/20 °C (8). In a third experiment, plants of a large-flowered Doritaenopsis hybrid spiked at 22–24 d when exposed to 25/20 or 20/25 °C, whereas 30-33 d were needed to spike under 20/15 or 15/20 °C. In a fourth experiment, a Doritaenopsis hybrid spiked after 22, 21, or 25 d under 25/25, 25/20, or 20/20 °C. However, 37 d was required to spike under 20/15 °C. These results suggest that the best temperature range for spiking these orchids is 25 to 20 °C and a day/night temperature differential is not needed for spiking when temperature is at or below 25 °C.

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