Tissue Culture for cannabis
Tissue Culture for cannabis

Finding a reliable source of new cannabis plant starts, or clones, that are healthy and free of pests and disease is a constant challenge for cannabis growers. The conventional way to produce cannabis clones is to take cuttings from plant “moms” and grow them out into new plants. Many growers do this themselves, and cannabis nurseries do the same process on a larger scale. This method has been successful, but scaling it is expensive and resource intensive. As an alternative to the traditional method of making clones from cuttings, many people have experimented with using a technology called plant tissue culture.

Sponsored by Dark Heart Nursery, a Bronze sponsor of the 2nd annual Golden Tarp Award and host of the kombucha bar.


Tissue culture technology has been around for decades and is widely used to produce genetically identical plant starts for many common crops such as orchids, potatoes, flowers and fruit trees. Tissue cultured plants begin their lives as tiny shoots in a laboratory. The cultured plants go through a long process of first removing all outside pathogens, then multiplying and sprouting new shoots, finally to emerge into the outside world as beautiful, happy and vigorously growing new plants.

This technology has the potential to produce plants unlike anything produced through conventional cloning. The process of culturing cannabis rejuvenates old, mature plant tissue into a healthy, vigorously growing juvenile state, in some ways like newborn seedlings. This plant fountain of youth gives cultured plants many new advantages for growers: higher yields, stronger growth, and better resilience to environmental stress. Plus, mass production of high quality disease free clones will eventually mean greater availability and variety for growers. Tissue cultured cannabis, when it becomes widely available in the near future, could solve most if not all the typical problems growers have always had to live with when finding clones.

People have been experimenting with culturing cannabis for years, but very few people have been able to make it work, even on a small scale. Dark Heart Nursery, based in Oakland, has been producing high quality conventional clones since 2007. We began developing tissue culture cannabis technology almost a year ago. Our nursery now includes a new tissue culture laboratory with modern equipment and a team of enthusiastic plant scientists. We are very excited to bring tissue cultured cannabis clones to growers for the first time ever towards the end of 2015, and more widely beginning in the spring of 2016. Our focus is now on testing out the new plants, gathering feedback from growers, and exploring all of the potential tissue culture technology has to offer cannabis.

Stop by the Dark Heart Nursery booth at the Golden Tarp Awards in Redway, CA September 12th and at the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa December 12th and 13th to learn more about tissue culture. Attendees at both events will be able to talk with our plant scientists and get all of their questions answered about tissue culture and our extensive strain catalog. We will also be taking signups for those interested in becoming one of the first growers ever to get their hands on these unique products! We hope you’ll follow all our progress at


  1. Does tissue culture also work in rejuvenating a plant that has been flowered and re-vegged ? Lets say you lost a mother but still have the cut in late flower, could you save the genetics via tissue culture?

    • Yup. TC is basically cloning on an industrial level, but very sterile. Hormones and an agar are used to help keep the plant alive in the flask, provide a rooting environment, and makes propagation very easy as hormones usually get the TC to multiply. Im not sure if the multiplying also works with cannabis just from the hormones like it does orchids and carnivorous plants.

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