Orchid Meristem Propagation
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A feature of orchid culture, both commercially and as a hobby, is the high value that is placed on plants which have received awards from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), American Orchid Society (AOS) and other award-giving bodies around the world.
Many people would like to have divisions of such desirable plants, and the demand makes their price high. The advent in 1960 of techniques for the culture and multiplication of the apical meristem of a young shoot, and the various forms of tissue culture which have been developed since then, have been extremely successful and have made it possible for many people to own and enjoy some of the best plants at the same price that they would have to pay for seedlings.
The technique of growing new plants in this way is very similar to propagation from seeds, but, since the starting material is already mature, the protocorms which are obtained by this method develop into new, flowering size plants, much more quickly. Sterilized conditions, containers and plant material are employed, and a warm growth chamber is necessary for the young plants on agar. After they are transferred to normal orchid compost in the greenhouse they grow very rapidly. This technique is not difficult and modifications of this are carried out today in many parts of the world for a wide range of orchids.