An in vitro model system has been developed to grow axillary buds into shoots, which are morphologically comparable to those grown in vivo. In the development of the shoot three stages can be distinguished: sprouting of the bud, unfolding of leaves already present in the bud, and new formation of leaves and a flower bud. A low concentration of benzyladenine (BA), sugar (preferably glucose), and a cultivar-dependent concentration of a suitable agar was necessary to obtain a complete shoot. The size of the in vitro shoot positively correlated with the size of the explant. The presence of the petiole inhibited the outgrowth of lateral buds, which were already present in the inoculated bud. Using this in vitro system the growth potential of axillary buds, apart from influences of other plant parts, can be studied.