Dario Rodriguez (right) and Nandayure Studt of Florexpo in Costa Rica inspect a crop of REALFLOR® Gaillardia stock, which is propagated by tissue culture.
Photo courtesy of PlantHaven
ROYAL HAWAIIAN® colocasias are propagated in the lab and sent to rooting stations such as James Greenhouses in Colbert, Ga.
Photo courtesy of PlantHaven

In vitro plant propagation, commonly known as tissue culture or micropropagation, represents science and horticulture in perfect harmony. In vitro is Latin for “in glass,” and in TC labs across the world, miniscule plants are being reared in glass test tubes, jars and dishes. Because the tissue culture lab is a closed environment that protects plants from pests and diseases, growers can be confident in the stock received from tissue culture. Healthy plants equate to a better bottom line.

High-volume production

PlantHaven offers Elite Stock, which is virus-tested plant material that is supplied either as tissue culture plants from a laboratory or as unrooted cuttings produced in conditions similar to a TC lab. High-volume crops, such as Calibrachoa, Petunia, Diascia and Nemesia, benefit from being propagated in these conditions, because tissue culture labs produce enormous batches of plants. And any crops that are more susceptible to disease are also produced in these types of closed conditions.

In the tissue culture lab, propagators have full control of the environment providing the exact combination of nutrients, light, and temperature to create the perfect conditions for plant multiplication and growth. The resulting plants are energized, vigorous and free from pests and diseases. Pictured: Longwood Gardens’ tissue culture lab
Photo courtesy of PlantHaven

PlantHaven’s ROYAL HAWAIIAN® colocasias are produced by the thousands through in vitro propagation. Plants are initiated, produced in the lab, then sent to rooting stations to produce plugs.

The REALFLOR® portfolio, which includes Gaillardia and Leucanthemum, is produced through in vitro propagation at the InnovaPlant lab in Germany. Plants are tested for viruses, as well as tested annually for trueness to type. PlantHaven also uses the services of Naktuinbouw (the Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture) for independent PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing. Naktuinbouw is an Autonomous Public Body regulated by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

This stringent production ensures that customers can be confident that when they order Elite Stock, they are receiving clean, healthy plants.

The clean team

When tissue culture plants aren’t available, there are other ways to ensure your crops are virus free. Many North American growers routinely test plant material for viruses once a shipment arrives on site. Agdia (www.agdia.com), an Indiana-based lab, provides various tests, including an ornamental screen that detects 15 pathogens. According to Agdia, tomato spotted wilt virus and impatiens necrotic spot virus are most often detected in ornamental crops. These viruses, both transmitted by thrips, may cause symptoms that are often mistaken for nutritional disorders or fungal diseases, for instance. Other viruses that most often occur in ornamentals are cucumber mosaic virus, transmitted by aphids, and tobacco and tomato ringspot viruses, transmitted by nematodes, seeds or by propagating infected plants.

Avoiding diseases such as these is why PlantHaven makes the investment in providing clean and healthy Elite Stock.

Photo courtesy of PlantHaven

The big reveal

PlantHaven’s Fall Open House showcased some thrilling experimental varieties.

There’s always excitement surrounding new plants, but when you get a sneak peek at experimental varieties currently in trials, well that causes pure, unbridled joy for just about anyone in the green industry! Visitors to PlantHaven’s Fall Open house in late August were treated to an advanced viewing of some delightful selections that are still being trialed, but have serious potential for the North American market.

Photos courtesy of PlantHaven

Portfolio previews

These plants aren’t quite ready for prime time, but they caused a lot of buzz at the Fall Open House.

Looking for a breathtaking tropical? Keep an eye out for Colocasia ‘Tropical Storm.’ (1)

How about a cheery and floriferous annual perfect for pots? Add Isotoma ‘Pretty in Pink’ to your list of future must-haves. (2)

Love a fragrant flower? Watch for Dianthus AMERICAN PIE® Georgia Peach. (3)

Need a sturdy perennial with a show-stopping flower? Leucanthemum ‘Real Snowball’ could be your next big seller. (4)

Are dramatic colors your cup of tea? The experimental dahlia from the Mystic collection provides mahogany-black foliage and striking flower color. (5)

Need a shrub that will offer a blaze of glorious color? The fiery red foliage of Berberis ‘Fireball’ will do the trick. (6)

Amazing attributes

There were plenty of other experimental varieties on display at the Open House, which showcased characteristics that will soon have customers clamoring to the garden center.

PlantHaven is trialing Achillea selections with color phasing flowers. These flowers exhibit a range of colors throughout the growing season, providing consumers with a delightful show. One changes from ruby-red to pink and finally to cream, and the other goes from salmon-pink to orange and finally to cream. And as a bonus, these Achilleas are WaterSaver™ candidates. PlantHaven’s WaterSaver™ program consists of both annuals and perennials that are drought tolerant. (7)

PlantHaven is carefully watching some exceptional salvias with bold colors that may be part of the WaterSaver™ program if they pass all the stringent tests. (8)

Visitors were amazed at the SILHOUETTE™ begonias, a sun-tolerant selection that boasts dark mahogany foliage and masses of flowers that continue for weeks. This experimental variety is not just surviving the hottest days of the summer, it’s thriving. (9)