"We tried it" Series  
 Energy-saving plant cultivation method  
 Today we will introduce a unique product that is now enjoying a quiet boom in Japan and the venture business behind it.

The company called Phytoculture Control Co., Ltd., a plant cultivation technology development company, is one of those rare promising venture firms that has begun enjoying a stable profit after successfully passing through the "red valley" (financial, commercial, and management problems that must be resolved before a new company can begin operating in the black) that is a formidable hurdle when starting up a venture business. We asked the founder and president how the company was started and what his expectations are regarding the future expansion of the business.
  The company name Phytoculture is a created word meaning plant cultivation or plant culture, but at the same time it means "cultivating the spirit to nurture lifestyle and culture," and it denotes the company's business ideal. President Nishi, the founder, is very fond of greenery and was deeply concerned about the advance of desertification and global warming, and the gradual disappearance of plants and trees in our living environment and on Earth. However, greening programs based on farming or reforesting can be extremely costly, so he dreamed of promoting global greening with cheap raw materials and low production costs by enhancing the nurturing and commercialization efficiency of plant cultivation. For this reason he decided to set up a company with the aim of developing a new plant cultivation technology and presenting it to the world.

He started his plant cultivation business by using a tube sapling nurturing method developed in the UK in the 1970s, but his company made additional studies and improvements and developed a plant cultivation method that increases the speed of growth by using unique hexagonal tubes. The company is currently developing its business not only in Japan but in other parts of the world too, extending as far as Pakistan and the like, creating forests to prevent dam flooding, hillside forests to prevent soil erosion, and seaside forests to act as windbreaks.

The company has also successively commercialized a string of unique ideas aimed at providing greenery and tranquility in everyday life, such as the world's first plant ceramic cultivation method, plant cultivation in a hermetically sealed room, plant cultivation by LED light, and plant vacuum packing. We will now introduce a foliage plant product that uses the ceramic cultivation method called Ceraphyto, which is patented worldwide.
 The ceramic cultivation method allows plants to take root in a special ceramic material sintered at a high temperature and to grow as the culture solution is fed through many pores in the ceramic material. The ceramic material has an innumerable number of pores that are no bigger than three microns in diameter, and the solution supply container is linked to the ceramic material with strings. The strings suck up the culture solution by capillary action and the solution then penetrates the pores. This method is characterized by the fact that the solution is sucked up through the pores only in the amount required for the plant to take root in the ceramic, so the plant never withers and continues to grow robustly, staying healthy and alive for an extremely long time. The ceramic material is available in various sizes, even as small as a person's thumb for miniature foliage plants. Because Ceraphyto does not need soil and requires nothing more than adding more culture solution from time to time, it has become quite popular with young adults who seek the solace that greenery brings to everyday life.  
Almost all the people who buy this product seem to become repeat purchasers. The tiny rose developed for this product makes it possible to enjoy the flowers for many weeks. Retail prices start at 1,000yen per set. My cramped and boring room has suddenly become alive with vivid greenery thanks to the Ceraphyto.

 In addition to its efforts to make the world a greener place, Phytoculture led by President Nishi has recently been introducing biotechnology to meet the newest challenges of the greenery cultivation business, conducting studies on genetic modification and culturing of edible plants and the R&D of cultivation technology in outer space. The company has patented its technology in various countries around the globe, and is seeking overseas business partners interested in its products and technology in the U.S., Australia, and Europe. If you are interested, please contact the IBO Business Matching Center or contact the company at the following address. 
Phytoculture Control Co., Ltd.
Address: 5-11-9, Sekime, Joto-ku, Osaka, Japan 536-0008
Tel. +81 6-6930-6060
Fax +81 6-6930-1652
e-mail: okumura@hexatube.jp
URL: http://www.phytoculture.co.jp
 ---company for plant science---