Six cultivars of apple and two of red raspberry consistently produced equal or significantly better shoot proliferation on modified Murashige and Skoog medium gelled with a mixture of corn starch and Gelrite than on the same medium gelled with agar. Two pear cultivars grown on starch-Gelrite medium produced hyperhydric shoots and almost no growth, but the addition of a polysaccharide hydric control (‘antivitrifying’) agent to the medium eliminated hyperhydricity. The resulting shoot proliferation equaled or exceeded that on the agar-gelled medium. The starch-Gelrite mixture is easy to prepare and gelling agent costs are only 10–15% of agar, or less if starch is purchased in bulk. Although the opaque gray-white medium makes it more difficult to detect internal contaminants, external contaminants are easily discerned.