Skip to main content

Indoor Propagation of Specialty Crops

We are developing optimized protocols to generate the highest quality transplants.

Fully controlled environments, such as vertical farms, are an ideal technology to propagate high quality plant material that serves as inputs for current farming systems including field farms and greenhouses. To generate the highest quality transplants with maximum performance, the correct system (hardware, software, algorithms) and precise environmental conditions must be employed.

The transformative research being performed from this project is funded by federal and state grants. 

Environmental recipes and systems exclusively designed to increase young plant quality and performance are not widely available; however, NC State CEA is taking the lead and hopes to change this.

The Plan Forward

We are working to develop “recipes” for vertical farm systems that increase propagation efficiency, plant performance and rentability of specialty crops. We are specifically focused on optimization for tomatoes, watermelons, cucumber, strawberries, Cannabis, lettuce and ornamental plants.

For this project, we have engineers working on system design, plant modeling and computational fluid dynamics. Additionally, plant scientists are working on environmental plant physiology, substrate and nutrition.

Current Collaborators

  • USDA SCRI grant for strawberry propagation indoors
  • USDA SCRI grant for Grafted plants propagation indoors
  • Current Lighting