Tyler is building a micropropagation lab so that he can mass produce unique plants such as native orchids, which are challenging to propagate using traditional techniques.
“Micropropagation is a new technology in the nursery business,” Tyler said. “This technology will give me a better chance of building the family business and ensuring its future, along with staying up-to-date with the growing industry.” Furthermore, selling native plants to the public cuts down on their illegal removal from the wild, he said.
Tissue culture requires a significant upfront investment, specialized training and a sterile environment to be able to produce new plants in vitro (in a test tube), but payoff can be significant since the demand for these rare native plants is high.
Tyler plans to sell a portion of his plants as seedlings the fall of the second year, and grow the rest out to sell as full-grown plants in three years. His family has operated a nursery for more than 25 years, and currently grows rhododendron, kalmia, juniper, arborvitae, Norway and blue spruce, Fraser fir, hemlock and other conifer and shade trees. He sells both wholesale and retail.