A Primer: Tissue Culture

Tissue culture was commercialized roughly four decades ago and is widely used across agricultural and horticultural sectors. Until recently, the technology had not been adopted by the cannabis industry, due to a lack of knowledge sharing between industries and the long history of legal barriers.

Tissue culture gives the industry true-to-type cultivars that are pest and pathogen-free and allows growers to reproduce their harvest faster and at a consistent premium quality.

Tissue culture is important in the cannabis industry today because of various pests and pathogens that can have a huge impact on quality and yield. In addition, viruses like HLVD are being spread to farms through traditional cutting methods. Through tissue culture, we can ensure that pest and pathogen free plants are delivered to our customers, setting them up for success.

At Conception Nurseries, our tissue culture plants start life as a small cutting from a cultivar of interest. First, the tissue sample is removed from the mother plant and goes through a stringent sterilization process. Once cleaned, the plant tissue is initiated into a nutrient-rich media containing a carefully crafted mixture of nutrients, hormones, and carbohydrates.

Using Conception’s proprietary cannabis-specific tissue culture techniques, plant tissue can be manipulated to trigger branching, elongation, and root development. When the tissue culture plants are large enough to multiply, they are ready to be trimmed into hundreds of separate yet precisely cloned individuals.

This process is repeated, generating hundreds, then thousands of shoots. The most vigorous shoots are then selected to be planted in our mini-plugs. This rooting and hardening process takes 3-5 weeks depending on the cultivar. After rooting, the plants are hardened off to prepare them for transplant into our customers’ farms.

If this is your first time receiving tissue culture clones, you will notice they are an inch or two smaller than traditional clones. Traditional nurseries sort their plants from clones taken from mother plants and are able to send out larger cuttings.

Our customers notice that the tissue culture plants start off smaller – but quickly catch up and lap traditional clones by the end of veg and outperform throughout the lifecycle of the plant. The final product are packs of 48 beautiful, vigorous plants that we’re excited to deliver to our customers.