Supplies and starting out


Hi everyone,

I'm slowly acquiring the different supplies I need, starting with macro and microelements I've been able to find near me or that I had already to make my own mediums (MS, Knudson, etc). I just lack a few things like vitamins and some additives mentioned in Joseph Arditti's ''Micropropagation of Orchids'' for some recipes. i also got my hands on ''Plants from test tubes''. Both books are amazing, but even the second one is shooting a bit over my head in terms of the scale of the operations they are talking about. Since I want to start out (I did a bit of TC in uni but never at home), I will need a few things for sure but don't have thousands of dollars to put on this, at least for now.

I'm wondering about which lab supplies are truly needed. Should I get a heating magnetic stirrer for example? Would it be worth it to heat an erlenmeyer and keep stirring the solution in between pouring many PP pots? For now I'll be using a glovebox to get through my first trials, and then will invest in the construction of a proper flow hood next year probably. I'm also considering investing in a 3 digits weighing balance, since I only have for now a portable +/- 0.01g max 100g digital scale (not precise enough I assume). A pH meter is on my mind as well, but a decent one would cost around 250-300$ at least from what I've been reading, so will probably start with pH strips.

At least one 2L erlenmeyer and a 1L graduated cylinder seems to be in order for sure, but while preparing solutions do you guys use a calibrated flask of 500ml or 1000ml ''to contain'' the proper volumetric reading?

Scalpels, tweezers, nitrile or latex gloves and some PP tubes for successive rinsing/soaking in sterile water or sterilizing solutions are on the list as well. PPM will be ordered as well, too convenient not to, but is a surfactant like Tween-20 necessary?

Sorry if I am listing things all over the place, this is the state of my mind right now lol

I guess my question is, in terms of labware, equipment and some chemicals, what are the main things I should invest in to start out with in vitro germination of CP seeds and working with orchid tissues?

thanks for any pointers :)

Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
As far as equipment goes, you can do without almost everything, except at least a glovebox. PPM may or may not be necessary with a glovebox. Tween-20 is cheap and useful and lasts forever.
Vitamins are optional. AliExpress is great for equipment (cheap stuff, like forceps and beakers). I have some flasks and beakers but cheap kitchen stuff works. A cheap glass sterilizer is nice (nail salon models).


CPSC Moderator
Staff member
From my limited experience, the most important thing I'd get first is the laminar flow hood. I'd say forget about glovebox and flipped over fishtank because a half decent LFH is much more effective than those, it's better to invest a little money or efforts, than to deal with cultures infected with much higher rates.
There's a lot of information out there for doing TC at home. Make sure you do enough research before buying a tons of things you might not ever needed. Doing your own homework is part of the process, don't expect someone to be able to always give you a clear answer (because there isn't one when you get more involved...).
A good book to read is the "plants in test tube", available on Amazon and other stores. It doesn't have a section for carnivorous plants but it has very good details on general plant TC. Very helpful.
Good luck and have fun!

Lloyd Gordon

Parasitic Plant Aficionado
Staff member
I agree, if you plan on doing this for more than a few months, build a LFH. Willy has posted his and mine is posted on my website. I think you can build a very usable one for maybe $250 or less depending on how much work you do and how fancy you want to be.