The kelp Laminaria digitata (Hudson) J.V. Lamouroux (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae) is currently cultivated on a small-scale in several north Atlantic countries, with much potential for expansion. The initial stages of kelp cultivation follow one of two methods: either maximising (gametophyte method) or minimising (direct method) the vegetative growth phase prior to gametogenesis. The gametophyte method is of increasing interest because of its utility in strain selection programmes. In spite of this, there are no studies of L. digitata gametophyte growth and reproductive capacity under commercially relevant conditions. Vegetative growth measured by length and biomass, and rate of gametogenesis, was examined in a series of experiments. A two-way fixed-effects model was used to examine the effects of both photoperiod (8:12; 12:12; 16:8, 24:0 L:D) and commonly used/commercially available growth media (f/2; Algoflash; Provasoli Enriched Seawater) on the aforementioned parameters. All media resulted in good performance of gametophytes under conditions favouring vegetative growth, while f/2 clearly resulted in better gametophyte performance and a faster rate of gametogenesis under conditions stimulating transition to fertility. Particularly, the extent of sporophyte production (% of gametophytes that produced sporophytes) at the end of the experiment showed clear differences between treatments in favour of f/2: f/2 = 30%; Algoflash = 9%; Provasoli Enriched Seawater = 2%. The effect of photoperiod was ambiguous, with evidence to suggest that the benefit of continuous illumination is less than expected. Confirmation of photoperiodic effect is necessary, using biomass as a measure of productivity and taking greater account of effects of genotypic variability.