Recent research has shown that it is much better for the quality of Phalaenopsis to buy them at a later stage of maturity than is done now. Both buyers for garden centres, supermarkets and florists and consumers are under the incorrect impression that you can enjoy a Phalaenopsis longer if it has mostly closed buds.
Quality researcher Gitta ten Hoope from the Knowledge Centre Product Quality of Royal FloraHolland explains. “In the last four years we have conducted an intensive quality monitoring of Phalaenopsis. We were commissioned by the growers and breeders associated with Orchidee Nederland. We measure the intrinsic quality (shelf life) six times a year. In 2013 we started with 39% of the growers. Now 50% of the growers are participating. In this way we are constructing a database that gives us factual insights into the effect of stages of maturity on shelf life and quality. We assess the percentage of bud drop and the flowering percentage.”
In the past year, 450 different cultivars were tested. The results were recently presented.
Currently, fewer than 10% of the plants sold have more than 50% open flowers. The research showed that 50% open flowers at the time of purchase is associated with the lowest risk of bud drop. Bud drop can be due to e.g. long, dark periods during transport. Buds are more sensitive to a lack of light and other negative factors than open flowers. More mature plants therefore have an improved shelf life and are less sensitive.
Tests revealed the following:
In statistical terms, on average each stage of lesser maturity than 50% open flowers is associated with a significantly higher percentage of bud drop than plants that are more mature than 50%.
37.75% of the orchids currently sold have 25% or fewer open flowers.
Only a small percentage has more than 50% open flowers at the time of purchase (about 10%).
Joost van Adrichem, Phalaenopsis grower and chair of Orchidee Nederland adds, “It is clear that the stage of maturity for supplying Phalaenopsis is determined by the market, rather than by what is best for the quality of the product. These choices are often not based on facts, but on assumptions. We are doing everything we can to inform both buyers and consumers, so consumers can enjoy their lovely Phalaenopsis for as long as possible.”