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J Exp Bot. 2006;57(15):4043-9. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

Temperature during the day, but not during the night, controls flowering of Phalaenopsis orchids.

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  • 1Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1325, USA.


Phalaenopsis orchids are among the most valuable potted flowering crops commercially produced throughout the world because of their long flower life and ease of crop scheduling to meet specific market dates. During commercial production, Phalaenopsis are usually grown at an air temperature > or =28 degrees C to inhibit flower initiation, and a cooler night than day temperature regimen (e.g. 25/20 degrees C day/night) is used to induce flowering. However, the specific effect of day and night temperature on flower initiation has not been well described, and the reported requirement for a diurnal temperature fluctuation to elicit flowering is unclear. Two Phalaenopsis clones were grown in glass greenhouse compartments with constant temperature set points of 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, or 29 degrees C and fluctuating day/night (12 h/12 h) temperatures of 20/14, 23/17, 26/14, 26/20, 29/17, or 29/23 degrees C. The photoperiod was 12 h, and the maximum irradiance was controlled to < or =150 micromol m(-2) s(-1). After 20 weeks, > or =80% of plants of both clones had a visible inflorescence when grown at constant 14, 17, 20, or 23 degrees C and at fluctuating day/night temperatures of 20/14 degrees C or 23/17 degrees C. None of the plants were reproductive within 20 weeks when grown at a constant 29 degrees C or at 29/17 degrees C or 29/23 degrees C day/night temperature regimens. The number of inflorescences per plant and the number of flower buds on the first inflorescence were greatest when the average daily temperature was 14 degrees C or 17 degrees C. These results indicate that a day/night fluctuation in temperature is not required for inflorescence initiation in these two Phalaenopsis clones. Furthermore, the inhibition of flowering when the day temperature was 29 degrees C and the night temperature was 17 degrees C or 23 degrees C suggests that a warm day temperature inhibits flower initiation in Phalaenopsis.

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