In earlier research aimed at simulating shipping conditions (HW, 3 July 2010), it was shown that plants could be kept in the dark at 20 degsC for up to 21 days without suffering too much harm.
In one of the experiments reported below, mature vegetative plants of the white-flowered clone Sogo Yukidian 'V3' were raised at day/night temperatures of 30/25 degsC under shade.
Before being moved to the simulated shipping conditions, half of the plants were transferred to an intermediate day/night temperature of 25/20 degsC for 10 days while still in the light. All plants were then placed in the dark at 25, 20 or 15 degsC for 21 days.
The results confirmed that 20 degsC was the best shipping temperature for Phalaenopsis plants because those kept at 15 degsC showed symptoms of chilling injury and those at 25 degsC tended to produce yellow leaves.
Giving intermediate temperatures in the light prior to "shipping" in the dark was beneficial because there was then less chilling injury at 15 degsC and those "shipped" at 20 degsC formed flower spikes earlier when grown on at 25/20 degsC.
Effects of Simulated Dark Shipping on the Carbohydrate Status and Post-Shipping Performance of Phalaenopsis by Hou, Miller and Chang (2011). Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 136 (5): 364-371. ISHS members can view the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science from the website www.ishs.org.