Case Study: Using Tissue Culture in Rose Propagation
1 Jun 2020

Case Study: Using Tissue Culture in Rose Propagation

Jessica Rosslee

Table of Contents


Roses; the most iconic flower of them all.

Whether because of its beauty or its scent, the rose is one of the most popular flowers throughout the globe. This makes the rose species one of the most economically valuable flowers as well. And with anything that holds monetary value, the Rosa hybrida L. species are propagated around the world, using seed propagation, micropropagation, stem cuttings, budding, grafting, and even tissue culture.

The rose is both ornamental and practical, as it is in high demand for its aromatic and medicinal properties as well as its physical beauty.

For all these reasons, the rose species' monetary value is high, and cultivators are turning to tissue culture processes to improve their cultivation efficiency.

Let's take a look at how roses are propagated using tissue culture.

In January 2014, an experiment at Tissue Culture Laboratory: Plant Breeding, and Genetics Division was conducted to explore the intricacies of in vitro propagation of Rosa hybrida from explants. The purpose was to determine the proper basal medium and growth regulators for these tissue culture techniques.

Iran has recently experienced an increase in propagating greenhouse roses using tissue culture. Many countries import roses from the Netherlands, and in an effort to reduce this expense, tissue culture is being used to propagate roses on local soil. But are there any critical differences between traditional roses (imported from the Netherlands) and tissue cultured roses?

Master Class Details

How do Tissue Culture Roses Compare with Traditionally Grown Roses?

A recent study was conducted to investigate the difference between three different propagation methods:

  • Own rooted tissue culture technique
  • Grafted rootstock tissue culture technique
  • Traditional propagation

During the experiment, all the plants were pruned to two buds per plant. The following data were recorded throughout the experiment:

  • Length
  • Leaflet number
  • Leaf number
  • Fresh and dry weight
  • Stem diameter
  • Bud diameter
  • Bud length
  • Number of nodes
  • Flowering stem internodes
  • Flower fresh and dry weight
  • Leaf area
  • Leaf chlorophyll content
  • Quality index
  • Flash to flash
  • Vase life

The data was collected three times throughout the experiment, during each of the three harvests and replications. The following results were recorded:

Overall, both own-rooted and R.canina graft tissue cultures showed healthier results than traditional roses.

The traditional propagation method proved higher results for internode length, quality index, and fresh weight. The authors do note, however, that the increases were 'not significant.'

Overall, the research indicates that tissue cultured roses are superior to traditionally propagated roses.

The authors go on to note that tissue culture's superior qualities are sought after commercial characteristics.

Best Products for Rose Tissue Culture

Rose tissue culture is simple, as long as the correct protocol is followed. And, as with any tissue culture process, strict aseptic conditions need to be followed if you want to avoid fungal and bacterial contaminants. The main cause of failure in rose in vitro propagation? Contamination, and in many cases, bacterial contamination in specific.

There are a few products that can be hugely beneficial for your rose cultures while maintaining a strictly sterile environment.

Gelling Agent: Use Agar for your Rose Cultures

What is agar?

The agar used for tissue culture techniques is derived from particular types of red seaweed known as Gellidium and Gracillaria.

Agar is a popular gelling medium as it does not degrade, and bacteria do not eat it. When agar is used as a gelling agent, it firms the medium and enables the medium's essential diffusion characteristics.

Plant Preservative Mixture

Plant preservative mixture (PPM™) is a form of liquid formulated to prevent and eliminate contamination in tissue culture. The solution is effective against the following types of contamination:

  • Airborne contamination
  • Waterborne contamination
  • Endogenous contamination
  • Contamination from human contact

While most cultivators will be familiar with antibiotics in response to contamination, there are several ways in which antibiotics fall short in comparison to PPM™:

  • Antibiotics are ineffective against fungal contaminations. PPM™ is able to prevent and eradicate damaging fungal contaminations in your fragile cultures.
  • Plants cannot adapt and alter to become ineffective against PPM™, which is not the case with antibiotics. Plants are able to render themselves immune to antibiotics. PPM™ broad-based nature can target multiple enzymes, thereby inhibiting the plant from mutating and becoming resistant.
  • Unlike antibiotics, plant preservative mixture is heat stable and can be autoclaved with media.

Tissue culture methods should be used if you want uniform results that you (and your business) can rely on. The experiments and case studies show us that if you're going to capitalize on your rose cultivation, then you should be using a tissue culture technique, and the very best products in your setup to support healthy growth and development. Whether your interest is purely for fun, or if your business could use a boost - investing in tissue culture set up can be the best decision you can take.