Tissue Culture: An Alternative Propagation Method

Hey everyone,

Tissue Culture is an increasingly popular topic when it comes to cannabis propagation. We’ve received a number of questions about TC during the summer and decided to put an article together.

Have you been propagating from TC?

Were you satisfied?

What are your observations?

Would you do it again?

Would you rather use TC for conservation only?

There will mostly likely be TCs available in the coming weeks on Strainly, would you try this propagation method in case you haven’t yet?

Looking forward to reading your opinions and experiences :slight_smile:


@GrowOpEmployees @CAgrowopowners @growopowners @mastergrowers @CAMasterGrowers @ThoughtLeaders


Great post, @Strainly! I am also excited to hear about this from other forum members!

If you are interested in catching an interesting lecture on this very subject, there will be a lecture given at this year’s Science Symposium tied to MJBizCon given by Dr. Hope Jones. She is one of the leading voices on the subject of tissue culture. The lecture happens in Las Vegas on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

What have been your experiences with tissue culture?


I went to a seminar at the Cannabis Science Convention in Portland OR this year on tissue culturing. Some quick bullet points from the very experienced speaker:

No, you can’t do this in a corner of your garage. It has to be a clean room so we large scale makes far more sense.

First usable plantlets come after 13 to 14 weeks. Nothing sooner.

On a year scale, TC produces about 50x the clones you can make with regular cuttings in the same year (exponential growth after first tissue propagates.)

It’s not cheap but on a large scale it IS efficient.

Not sure if any of his helps you, but those were my takeaways from her presentation.


We used TC with heat on a number Glasshouse crops in a small operation.

We used part of our plugging room to product. The the lab area was located in our part of our processing area. We used a homemade clean box for all transfer work. It is amazing how little space you need. The transfer box plans came from the American Orchid growers society cerca 1980.

In collage I used the exact same technique and equipment to grow mushrooms in my dorm room.

I can give more detail on small operation TC metiods.

The whole process is a lot easier today than it was 30 years ago.

My first magnetic stirer was made from an old record player.

A large autoclave or pressure cooker has come down so much I am amazed. I sure we would be using an instapot these day for small scale processing. 8 liter instapot is under a $100. You can get a 20 liter manual pressure cooker for about $200 on Amazon.

We uses to get all our glassware from Monsanto annual lab glass sale.

Also a really good dishwasher is also a must. Get one with a heat dry.


I think it’s really cool you’ve built some TC setups from scratch. I still have a hard time seeing how it would be worth it for a small facility. Did you see many advantages? Have you been able to get rid of any systemic infections by taking tissue from growth tips (detached from vascular system)? What has been your experience with % success? Is having to grow out the clones from such a small size worth the time it takes to get them big enough for transplant - just because you need less material to get the same number of clones? Seems like keeping them pest and disease free for all that time would be tough. I did a little TC in school, and everyone was getting lots of pythium or fusarium… I like to take larger than average cuttings, which are ready to transplant in 2 weeks (we grow rather large plants for indoor and have a lot of veg space). I can see a big advantage if you have a new genetic that you’re trying to get into production quicker, but overall it just doesn’t seem practical. What all adavantages have you seen for small operations? Sorry for all the questions, thanks in advance!



I found TC, helpful in three areas.

First, in plant stock with a known virurse load. TC with a heat treatment means I have a chance to produce virurse free plants.

The second advantage for use was we our seed/cutting room when our utilization was low. The space would have wasted.

The last reason is we could keep fewer vegetative mother plans. This allowed us to to dedicate more space to saleable product.

For use this made the difference between a profitable cycle and an loss.
As for disease control in TC it is all about sterile technique.

Hope this answers some of your questions. If you have more ask.



Awesome, thanks for your response. Have you also found by chance that mother health is not as important as it is when taking larger cuttings since you could sort of look at TC like starting from scratch?


TC is a way to make a thousand children from one mother plant.

So instead of having 50 mother plant taking up space I have one, taking up space.

My wife use to call it kitchen chemistry.


One more thing, Health is very important. But, with some older verities health in stock can be a problem. They could have any number of viruses that cause performance problems. To eliminate these viruses from the children we used TC with a heat treatment.


Just getting into tc. Any links on heat treatment?


Let me pull some links for TC and With heat. I think I wrote up a piece a while ago.

The heat treatment is just heating the growth liquid up with tissue in cycles between 170 and 180. These day a sousvide cooker would make this step really easy. And for just maintaining temperature in the Earlamires. I think for an agitator I would still use a modified 45 record player to make a homemade agitator.

Let me find my links. Give me a bit I am on vacation, in Alaska until the 28th, But remind me if you don’t see something




Here are the links on TC and heat. Please ignore any non-plant references. I just didn’t want to fix the query.



I have looked into it. It is very cool indeed. The ability to save a specific pheno without havimg to hunt all over is a product i can get behind


Instead of plant hunting I would play with the polyploidy of your existing lines. I would shoot for tripplods. You take a diploid and cross it with a quotroploid, and the resulting plants are triploid and sterile, like a mule. Colchicine is a outstanding for this purpose. I use my prescription for gout as my colchicine source. Warning Colchicine is highly toxic in vary small doses. I think nitate gloves are rated for handling Colchicine.

The secondary plant compound tend to be higher in the plants with abnormal ploidy. This is very true in some interesting plants all of the pharmaceutical poppies are triploid. They produce about twice the opioids of the exact same cultivars as a diploid. I know they are working in India on the neem tree to change the ploidy levels.

Some of the best coffee cultivars are triploids.



you can do it on a small scale too.
I have been working with tissue culture for over ten years for both propagation and conservation.
a small clean box or LF hood and a autoclave and you’re good to go.plenty of u-tube videos to get you started.


I wish you tube had been around when I learned how to do 40 years ago! :slight_smile:

Do you play with Colchicine?

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Nick, I was flying in on Tuesday and did not get to attend the Science Symposium. Is there anyway to get the slides or any information from the session? I am really interested in trying to clean up a genetic I have.


no to Colchicine.
I learned TC back in 1978 as a pant science major at Fresno State.
I just finished MS program there and was ‘supervising’ the departments TC lab and hydroponic Greenhouse as well as conducting CEA light comparison for heat generation and canopy penetration.


I think I can probably get you slides from our presentation. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, our presentation was not filmed so there will just be slides with no context. I think you could learn a lot more from picking the brains of the folks here in this thread…There’s a lot of great info being shared by these growers!


We looked into Tissue Culture for cannabis and will most likely build a sterile room. One main issue is sterile environment and lab personal know what clean and sterile really is.

My wife co-owner of our fertilizer is a former university microbiologist that worked with geneticist and lab techs that prepared TC plates. We have seen much success but a good amount of failure due to plant material not properly clean or too much user error. The university makes 1000+ cultures for our local environmental agencies.

Personally I think TC is almost their with cannabis. But would not risk my whole crop to the new new!