The number of Phalaenopsis plants being
imported to the United States is increasing. The recovery of the plants
from the ocean containers with the long-term transportation is important
to obtain the high quality flowers.
The special environments of containers for long-term
transportation by ocean include the following:1) no light, water and
nutrients; 2) limited air ventilation; 3) low temperature, usually below
20℃; and 4) variation in humidity.
There are two types of packing method: box and
trolley (Figures 1 and 2). The advantage of the box method is that the
packaging materials can absorb the vapor and prevent the spread of
disease; the disadvantage is that it requires more labor for unloading
plants. The advantage of the trolley method is the easy in unloading the
Phalaenopsis in-pot; the disadvantage is easier spread of disease
if some plants have been infected.
The health conditions of Phalaenopsis due to
the long-term transportation are short- and long-term effects. The
short-term effects are freezing damage (cold damage) and the infection
with Erwinia or Fusarium. The long-term effects are from the lack of
carbon source (photosynthesis function) and the dry matter loss
The indirect damages due to the long-term
transportation are loss of activity. Because of the lack of the carbon
source, the dry matter of plants is lost. The other damage is due to the
unbalance in C/N ratio. If the moisture and fertilizer of the medium are
maintained at high concentrations, the roots still absorb water and
fertilizer in the dark environment. However, the carbon source is
unavailable. So the C/N ratio is changed and the leaves are weak.
The ideal conditions for long-term transportation of
Phalaenopsis are as follows:
Plants are kept in the
No activity of microorganisms.
Moisture content of the medium is kept at safe level.
The air environment (temperature, humidity and ventilation) is
maintained uniformly with no stagnant air.
Before long-term transportation, the preparation of
Phalaenopsis in-pot in thr growing stage should be able to keep
plants healthy and keep the plants in a clean environment without virus
Pretreatment of Phalaenopsis in-pot aims to
reduce the EC value in the medium by flushing and the water content in
the medium by ventilation. To control the moisture content in the
medium, plants in-pot could loss weight by transpiration of orchids and
by evaporation of the medium. Transpiration has only a marginal effect;
the evaporation of the medium is the major effect. Evaporation rate of
medium and air relative humidity are linearly related. So the
predetermined moisture content of the medium could be adjusted by
measuring and controlling the air relative humidity of the greenhouse.
After lowering the moisture content of medium,
pretreatment involves reducing the light intensity in the greenhouse
with shading nets, reducing the plant temperature in the working
(processing) room and packaging plants for shipping.
The process of pretreating for Phalaenopsis
in-pot for transportation as follows:
The Recovery process of Phalaenopsis in-pot is
presented as follows:
The detailed procedures of recovery include
controlling temperature, light intensity, watering and fertilizing.
The injuring temperature rate for Phalaenopsis
is 3℃/hr. Before unloading the
plants with box or trolley, the temperature difference between plants
and ambient air should be < 3℃.
Never place plants in high temperature and high solar intensity
directly. The recommend initial light intensity is from
3000-5000 lux for the first two days. The recommend quantity of water is
just enough to soak the medium, with more water supplied a second time.
The fertilizing concentrations are increased step by
The first time: Peters 20-20-20, 167 ppm
The second time: Peters 20-20-20, 250 ppm
The third time: Peters 20-20-20, normal.
Plants could adapt to the lower temperature
environment during the transportation. If these plants are placed
directly in the cooling room to enhance spiking, the spiking rate is
poor and the required time for spiking becomes longer, then the number
of flowers is decreased.
The adequate steps for spiking include the following,
by the above step.
Treat with high temperature and high light intensity.
Move to the cooling room for spiking.
Figure 1. Box packing
Figure 2. Trolley packing