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August 3, 2002

Tissue Culture

Pineapple (Ananas comosus) What if you have a
distinctive plant that you know will sell by the thousands – but it is
very slow to propagate? Dr. Hazel Wetzstein, Horticulturist with the
University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental
Sciences, shows Walter the basics of plant tissue culture. A single
plant in her research laboratory in Athens can yield hundreds of
identical clones. One of her research subjects is a bromeliad that has
been over-harvested in the Amazon jungle. By perfecting the cloning of
this plant in tissue culture, producers are able to "plant" the
bromeliad back in the treetops so they can be harvested again in a few

Getting New Plants to Market

Bobby Saul, co-owner of ItSaul Plants, also
uses a tissue culture laboratory. He shows Walter the many new plants
he discovers and brings to market. His tissue culture lab allows him to
propagate new plants rapidly so gardeners don't have to wait for
superior plants. Look for the variegated spreading petunia and the
knee-high purple coneflower. Remember – you saw them here first!

Self-watering Plants

Wouldn't it be nice to have houseplants that
water themselves? Walter shows how to insert yarn into the bottom of a
pot and dangle it into a water reservoir. All you have to do is add
water to the reservoir occasionally!