‘We provide plant pharmacy in a box’
Hrishikesh Sherikar, Managing Director at Vericlone Technologies, applies scientific principles of growing plants, specifically Tissue Culture Technology, to clone plant tissue in a lab and then transfer them to pots which can then be adorned for various applications such as vertical walls or nurseries or gardens…
Q: What induced to follow this green trend?
Mr NA Joshi, former president of Rose society, is the true motivation and reason for what I am today. He devoted himself to his hobby of producing rose plants by his own polybag method which was invented on 24th February 1966. In my childhood days, I got an opportunity to be with him. He even taught me how to convert rose to graft. He rooted a true love for plants inside me. I did my post graduation in Microbiology from the University of Pune in 2010, and then completed my Masters in Crop biotechnology and Entrepreneurship from the University of Nottingham in 2012. I then worked in Primarosa, Kenya in areas of flower growing (2012-2013). Since then I have worked at Rushikesh Rosarian in the areas of Growing, R&D and Laboratory (2013-2014). I started Vericlone Tissue Technology, a tissue culture company in 2014 and have been its Managing Director since 2014. My current priority is to apply scientific principles of growing plants at Vericlone to achieve the vision of being one of the world’s best quality plant growers. I wanted to learn crop biotechnology as well as the management aspects of business. So I decided to take such specific management courses related with horticulture. So, having studied such a specific course, my knowledge in business and crop science helped in starting my tissue culture company. In 1980 my father Mr Maharudra Sherikar, following Joshi’s footsteps, started Rushikesh Rosarian. He is one of the major growers of rose plant in India. He is an expert in rose grafting and growing ornamental plants. These two personalities have had a huge impact in shaping my career.
Q: What were the challenges you faced?
I think communication is what makes or breaks a business. I’m always trying to become better at it. Be it through developing a narrative about the business, explaining an initiative to the team, or communicating goals with a vendor. If you can communicate clearly and can get everyone on the same page, everything becomes much better and so are you!
Q: Tell us about your work
Vericlone deals in producing and supplying tissue culture plants and in constructing as well as maintaining vertical walls. Plant tissue culture is where high tech meets horticulture. Plants cells are isolated from the mother plants and grown on artificial media such as agar. This process is undertaken in the laboratory under a laminar airflow machine that creates an optimum sterile condition. The resulting plant material is referred to as Tissue culture. After a few days we can reintroduce the plants into pots. Our nursery has been operating since the past 40 years and has over 350 varieties of plants and trees with some of them from renowned breeders from across the world. We have built a laboratory to clone plant tissue at Vericlone Technology. Today this technology allows us to grow a million plants in an area of 3500 Sq ft of laboratory, thereby saving space and resources. Some of the species we are successfully growing at our laboratory are Syngonium, Spthiphyllium, Calathea, Orchids, and Ferns. The grown plants are then transplanted and sold to plant nurseries all over India as far as Visakhapatnam, Cochin, Delhi and Calcutta.
Q: How does your work benefit society?
I believe in letting technology do all the work. Many people like to own plants at home or work but complain about not having adequate awareness about taking care of the plants or it being too time-consuming. Proper care, correct watering and nutrition are important for plants to thrive. For this, we have developed a new hassle-free organic garden kit that allows the gardening enthusiast to provide easy care for their plants to thrive. Think of it as a plant pharmacy in a box.