Perfect anthuriums

It was the uniformity that gave it away. Fifty or more anthuriums packed together in a tiny booth resplendent with glossy red spathes, all absolutely alike. There’s only one form of propagation that produces such uniformity: micropropagation.


westland greenhouses anthurium 6 inch

Image courtesy Westland Greenhouses

Paul van Adrichem and his son Paul Jr, Westland Greenhouses, confirmed my suspicion. Their tissue culture anthuriums are shipped from a laboratory in Holland and grown to perfect, uniform maturity in their greenhouses in Grand Bend, Ontario.

I suspect that many gardeners don’t realize that micropropagation is used commercially for many commonly used plants. The popularity of micro versus macro (traditional propagation) is speed. Speed to produce mature plants as well as a faster way to select new varieties. And yes, exact copies. Plenty of exact copies.

Twenty-five years ago, micropropagation was commonly used with orchid propagation. Tissue culture was the only way to reliably germinate the minuscule orchid seeds. Today, however, many more plants are propagated in vitro. Crops like Hosta, Heuchera, Ligularia, Verbascum, Melittis, Sedum, Echinacea, Brunnera, Geranium and Polemonium are standard fare for commercial tissue culture laboratories. And there are many more.

Margit Laimer and Waltraud Rücker (Plant tissue culture: 100 years since Gottlieb Haberlandt) report that of the 24.7 million plants were micropropagated in Germany in 2000.

49 percent were orchids

16.2 percent small fruits

15.8 percent woody plants

12.2 percent ornamentals

5.3 percent perennial garden plants

1.6 percent agricultural crops (ie potatoes and blueberries).

Other plants micropropagated include


















So the next time you buy a plant, try and guess if the plant got its start in a petri dish. The van Adrichems certainly know how to take the tissue culture grown plants and grow them into perfect Lovable Hearts anthuriums…now that’s a green thumb.

Written by Cristina da Silva
Thursday, October 27, 2011 in Soils & Growing Media

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