Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, a leading Dutch research institute in international greenhouse horticulture, has investigated two new low-energy watering methods for the production of commercial Phalaenopsis – overhead watering followed by forced-air drying of the crop, and dipping plants so that the crop does not get wet. The researchers concluded the latter gave the best results.
Researchers found that forced-air drying of the crop required a strong wind force to remove the droplets from leaves, whereas the under leaves remained insufficiently dry. The required wind force also caused small pieces of bark to be blown out of recently repotted young plants.
It was found dipping resulted in more even water uptake compared to watering from the top. When the pots were dipped in water to a depth of 8 cm, the bark did not float. Researchers found a dipping time of 15 seconds was effective. After 21 weeks of dipping, no negative effects on growth were found, although more salt accumulation was measured in the top of the pot.
The research was funded by the Product Board of Horticulture and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The research was conducted as part of the Innovation Programme Greenhouse as Energy Source. The project was financially supported by Fytofocus, an independent research and consulting firm for professional horticulture.