Know that many factors may come into play for a successful grafting, beginning with the grafted plants themselves. A successful grafting depends on several factors including the proper way to cut the stem, the perfect timing to do so and the choice of graft and rootstock. However, some external factors can affect this operation’s success.

Grafting is the best solution when one wants to get a plant or fruits without having to start by planting or sowing. However, we can say that this is a more or less complex operation and it cannot be undertaken haphazardly. Sometimes even the most experienced gardeners fail. We recommend that you carefully read the information below and follow our advice carefully to avoid being disappointed a few months later, because this is when you will see if your graft is successful or not.

Everything you need to know about grafting

First, let’s have a little vocabulary lesson before entering the heart of the matter. The grafting knife is the tool used throughout the process. The scion is the stem of the plant from which we want to obtain the fruits or flowers while the rootstock is a plant that will support and nourish it. The first essential condition is that the scion and the rootstock are of the same species, or even of the same family in some cases. Also make sure that the diameter of both parts is not too disproportionate. Now, scientifically speaking, grafting rests on the cambium, which is a thin membrane that lies under the bark and is in fact an area of cell growth. Grafting consists of uniting the cambium of two different plants. Through the fusion of these elements, we will have only one plant a few months later. The key to success depends on the ability of both cambiums to bind well together.  For this, we need to know to expose these cambiums without cutting the stem, before placing them side by side so that they are always in contact. They then need to be protected from air and water by using grafting wax or paraffin wax. Some people compare grafting to surgery. Indeed, it requires great precision to spare the stem but, at the same time, it also necessitates a lot of speed for the plant tissues not to dry out. Moreover, once the graft is placed, the plant becomes very fragile and requires great care and attention, just like a person that has just undergone an operation. Also, just like a “good surgeon,” do not forget to sharpen your grafting knife and to disinfect it with alcohol. Remember that the more you practice this procedure, the more you master it.

The ideal time for grafting

Although spring grafting is not advised against, the ideal time for grafting remains the summer. Indeed, during this season there is a lot more sap in the plant due to the heat. Also keep in mind that your plant will only sprout again the following spring. For rose bushes or fruit trees you can carry out the operation a little longer, that is, until September. Anyway, there is a good way to check: just scratch the bark, and if it is easily removed, you can easily do the grafting.

How to choose the right rootstock?

You must choose a plant that likes the ground on which it is planted and that is well-suited to the region’s climate. If you graft a plant that will grow in height, choose a rootstock strong enough to withstand the weight. On the other hand, if the graft is a species that will grow near the ground, choose a flexible rootstock. Finally, it is necessary for the rootstock to have been in place for at least 2 ½ years before the operation.

How to choose the right scion?

Between mid-December and mid-January, take the scion from a healthy adult plant, meaning one that has already proven itself in terms of flowering or fruiting. The main stem should be aged at least one year. Remove the leaves at the tip and malformed buds at the base, then bury it in sand before the operation. It is recommended to proceed to grafting before the scion starts producing buds.


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Published in Basics by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011