Strong, long-flowering, low maintenance. The Phalaenopsis is loved for these characteristics. But like other plants, it is sensitive to ethylene, a natural hormone that induces bud drop under stress situations. This reaction is a survival mechanism by which the plant distributes its energy more efficiently.
Transport is a typical situation where plants are challenged. Especially varieties that are not stress-resistant. Add to this the fact that they are often transported at the most sensitive moment, i.e., with one or two buds open. When stress-sensitive varieties arrive at the shop point after days in darkness, they lose buds and are thus less attractive. Something you, as a grower, would obviously rather avoid.
Ethylene blockers on tap
To prevent bud drop, ethylene blockers are still often administered in practice. In the light of a sustainable growing process, this is not our way of preventing bud drop. Moreover, ethylene blockers could soon be restricted. In the Netherlands, this has already been the case since spring 2024.
Strict selection criteria
How to prevent bud traps? By conducting strict checks and tests on every pre-production variety for years. Meanwhile, Microflor has a range of Phalaenopsis that no longer require an ethylene blocker, even when delivered raw and in long transport.
To test bud drop sensitivity, Microflor simulates the stressful conditions of a transport. At the most sensitive moment, i.e., at one bud in bloom, they put the plants in a dark room for seven days, without water and at a temperature of 17-18 °C. Then, they obtain it in normal conditions. After some time, we check the result. If they have suffered damage, it will be noticeable at that time. Measuring bud fall sensitivity is done via a detailed calculation that indicates whether the variety is satisfactory or not. If a variety scores just insufficient, they look at whether it is a step ahead of similar varieties. Microflor repeats these tests several times. If the plant is naturally stress-resistant enough, they include the variety in our range.
What does that mean for you as a grower? It does not matter in which flowering stage you deliver the plants. You no longer have to wait until the buds are 50% in bloom and sensitivity drops. Even in their most vulnerable period, the plants can be transported.
Ten-week shelf life as target
Once transported, the Phalaenopsis is intended to shine for a long time at retail and with customers. On average, it entices customers with the promise of ten weeks of flowering. For us, too, the bar is set there. Although our testing criteria are stricter than traditional tests.
Bud drop sensitivity and shelf life as criteria
Bud drop sensitivity and shelf life are necessary conditions for delivery. The plant may score high on productivity, growth, the desired color and so on, but if it rejects buds in repeated tests and does not reach our target of ten weeks of flowering, Microflor will not include this variety in our assortment.