ALL OUR PLANTS ARE GROWN FROM SEED
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
Our plants are produced from species “parents” which came from seed from their native habitats. Many of our plants are as few as one generation removed from the wild. When two different representatives of a population are used as “mother” and “father,” the resulting offspring reflect the diversity of a wild population.
When species are grown from cuttings or produced in the laboratory through tissue culture, the resulting offspring are simply clones of the original plant. The gene pool is shrunk because there is no new combination of genetic material. Some people have come to believe that ongoing production of plant material through tissue culture may actually alter the original genetic makeup.
While it is necessary to use methods of tissue culture and cuttings to produce a copy of a particular cultivar, this does nothing to preserve the species’ vitality and vigor. (Hybrid rhododendron propagation must employ these methods to insure exact duplicates of the particular hybrid.)
At a time when rhododendrons are losing habitat in the wild (due to subsistence farming, logging and development), it is important to help preserve and protect as much of the naturally occurring gene pool as possible. YOU can be part of demonstrating the diversity of rhododendron species in YOUR garden! No two of our plants are genetically exactly identical — just like no two people are exactly alike!