Several types of conventional planting material exist which includes:
- Peeper: a small sucker emerging from the soil.
- Sword sucker: a large sucker with lanceolated leaves also known as the best conventional planting material.
- Maiden sucker: This is a large sucker with foliage leaves.
- Bits: These are pieces of a chopped corm.
A new and most promising planting material consists of in-vitro
plants which are small maiden suckers produced from meristem
Planting material can be collected from:
(a) An existing field, preferably an old field which is becoming unproductive. Otherwise damage to the roots may be caused when the suckers are being dug out and many mother plants may later tip over.
(b) A multiplication plot: which is planted only for the production of suckers and not to produce bunches. Plant density (2 m x 2 m) is much higher than in production fields and suckers are obtained by either decapitation or false decapitation. Both methods consist of removing the growing point. In the first
method, the pseudo-stem is removed to get to the growing point. Only a small hole or window is cut for the second method. The foliage can remain active for up to 3 months after the removal of the meristem by the second method.
(c) A tissue culture laboratory, where in vitro plants which look like small maiden suckers are produced from meristems. In-vitro plants are healthy, vigorous, free from pests and diseases and have a great future.