Have you ever wondered how anthurium farmers produce millions of anthurium flowers each year? Well the answer is simple, they grow them on millions of plants. But how do they get millions of plants in the first place? Their secret is a process called tissue culture. Tissue culture is simply put: the process of cloning plants. This is why each anthurium of a given variety looks so similar. It is because they are genetically identical clones.
The tissue culture process starts with the grower selecting the best, most beautiful anthurium that he can find. Selecting the best possible flower is important because no one wants a million copies of junk. If the grower is going to spend the time and money to make a million copies, you can be sure that he wants to find the best possible specimen to replicate. Once this prized plant is selected, the grower takes it to a lab.
At the lab, a technician first confirms that the plant is healthy and then snips off a portion of it. He will then sterilize the plant sample and place it into a flask containing an agar based medium that is saturated with special plant hormones that cause the sample to form a callus, which is an undifferentiated mass of plant cells.
The callus is divided into several pieces and then allowed to grow again. This process is repeated multiple times. Once enough plant material is created, the calluses are transplanted to growing media that contains plant hormones that cause the undifferentiated cells to turn into roots and shoots. This causes hundreds of plantlets to grow from each callus.
Once the plantlets have grown big enough, they are transplanted into new flasks to grow further. When they have reached a size where they can survive in open air, they are removed from the flasks and transplanted into larger pots. For a time, these new plants are allowed to grow in the controlled conditions of a green house. After they have grown big enough and adjusted to growing in the open air, they are returned to the farm and planted in the fields at the farm.