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Tissue Culture Plants are Forever (almost)

One of the most frequent questions we get is some variation of:


"how long do I have before my plants need to be planted?"


Most commonly as:


"I just received my plants - my tank isn't ready yet - what do I do?"


A good deal of our customers get beautiful plants in plastic cups and are rightfully concerned that they'll turn into a slimy mess and die - leaving them with Goo-in-a-Cup.


Many have come up with some really creative ways to keep their precious plants until they can be permanently planted. Dry-starts

or emersed cultivation is awesome and I'm all for it!


We also have our share of savvy shoppers who want to take advantage of some bonus points or a particular promotion but have no plans to use their new plants for at least a few weeks. Others customers have finally snagged a plant they want that's usually out of stock. What to do?


Firstly, if you really don't want to deal with the plants yet, e-mail us and we'll take care of your plants for you until you want them shipped, however, you can just keep them until your big re-scape - growing them in their sterile in-vitro cups in the meantime. It's a lot of fun and totally worth the minimal maintenance and effort.


Properly picked and shipped, Tissue Cultures from ABC Plants are, (for the most part), T_O_U_G_H. While there are some more delicate species, the vast majority of our plants can be kept for at least 4 weeks with some species outlasting that by far. Our lab record for the oldest cup we've kept alive on purpose belongs to a batch of nearly 4 year old Toninas.


Shipping is the hardest thing on plants and each time they are shipped, they're subjected to stresses that affect the viability of the culture as well as growth outcomes when the plants are transitioned to their final aquarium environments. This increasingly globalized world means that plants you purchase in North America are very likely produced across either Ocean and have been in the cargo hold at least once to the continental distributor and shipped again to the vendor.


Because our plants are made fresh in Montreal, they only have to travel once to your destination anywhere in North America. You're encouraged to pick your plants up if you live in Montreal. Even though the majority of our customers do not, your plants end up on a single trip (instead of three) and it keeps your in-vitro cultures in the best possible condition. Of course, accidents do happen with shipping in North America but they are comparably rare and we're here to help you with your plants whether you live in NYC, Boston, San Jose, Toronto, Yellowknife, Labrador-City, Maine, or the Maritimes.


When you receive your cultures - DO NOT OPEN THEM! Keep them closed in order to keep them sterile. You can even spray alcohol around where the rim of the lid meets the cup.


Give your plants about 12 hours of decent light a day and hopefully, they'll thrive and continue to grow. The lighting intensity is unimportant - light is needed only as a signal. A standard desk lamp is a good reference. Of course, you can have your plants in their eventual places in tanks with big lights blasting. That's great and gives you an opportunity to really aquascape your Planted Aquarium. My advice is to turn the lighting down to control temperatures and your electricity bill. Brighter lighting doesn't usually translate to faster growth in tissue culture plants and can even bleach them. The modern equivalent of the T8 lightbulb above is just fine.


For the next week to a month, your cups will hopefully start growing denser and producing new shoots out of seemingly nowhere on the plant. Watching the plants grow in their little cups is an experience in itself and should be experienced by any grower because it's so different but so similar at the same time.


Higher temperatures make your cultures grow and die faster so keep that in mind. While some species are sensitive to cold, few residences are kept near those temperatures. Keeping some cultures that are more mature is important to keep them viable. Our lab is set to 25C, but a range of 18C and 28C is perfectly acceptable.


Some plants, like Aroids (Crypts, Anubias, Buces, etc...) in particular, like very hot temperatures and thrive in firey conditions.


Basically, if you find yourself with more plants than time with no immediate plans for using - don't worry. Many of your plants can be kept in their cups and even get better over time and will be there when you need them.


For those that know they won't be using their Aquarium, Terrarium, or Carnivorous plants for a while, let us know and we'll give you younger plants! We can also keep orders in our grow room as requested so grab that plant that's always out of stock and we'll take care of it for you until you're ready.


As always, we're happy to answer any questions you might have so send them here!


Cheers,

~Z

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