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  • Author or Editor: Wan-Yi Yen x
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Sphagnum moss has been used as the major substrate for cultivating Phalaenopsis spp. in China, Japan, and Taiwan. With a lengthened duration of cultivation, the pH of the moss gradually declines. It is not understood what causes this decline in substrate pH. Using the vegetatively propagated Phal. Sogo Yukidian ‘V3’, this study investigated if substrate, fertilization, light, and plant roots could be the cause of pH decline in the substrate. The results showed that, although increasing fertilizer concentration resulted in a low initial pH (pH measured by the pour-through technique at first fertilization), fertilization itself was not the primary cause of the long-term pH decline. Regardless of whether the sphagnum moss was fertilized, the pH of the substrate without plants increased as time progressed, whereas the pH of the substrate in which living Phalaenopsis plants were growing declined with time. Although the magnitude and course of pH decline were different in various substrates, the pH of sphagnum moss, artificial textile fiber, and pine bark substrates in which living plants were growing declined with time. Whether the substrate was exposed to light (clear pots) or not (opaque pots) had no effect on substrate pH, indicating that algae were not a factor in pH decline. Therefore, the roots of Phalaenopsis may be the major contributor to substrate pH decline during production.

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