Axillary shoot producing cultures were obtained from microcuttings and shoot tips of Calluna vulgaris cv. ‘H.E. Beale’. For cultures derived from microcuttings the highest multiplication rate of 38 shoots (5 mm or longer) was obtained on a reduced salt medium with the addition of 0.5 mgl-1 2-isopentenyladenine (2iP) during an 8 week subculture. For shoot tip derived cultures 0.2 mgl-1 6-benzyladenine (BA) was the best cytokinin and led to a multiplication rate of 26 for a 6 week subculture. The addition of 1 g/l casein hydrolysate to a multiplication medium enhanced shoot proliferation in presence of 0.5 mgl-1 BA.
Despite various auxin treatments shoots formed no roots in vitro but rooted readily if transferred to a peat substrate ex vitro. A high rooting percentage (80%) was also obtained with shoots taken from the end of a multiplication phase and rooted directly. An additional subculture on low auxin containing media before transfer to peat substrate is recommended because the shoot condition can be improved in this way. A high number of rooted plantlets was produced, so the methods described will allow mass propagation.