Grafting Plants: How to Graft a Plant

Grafting plants is a unique method of asexual plant propagation, in which two plants are grafted to make a single plant. You can experiment plant grafting method by following simple cutting and binding steps.

Among the various modes of vegetative or asexual plant propagation, grating is a widely used technique to produce new plantlets. In this methodology, two plants of similar or dissimilar types are fused together to create a single plant. By grafting plants, you will be able to propagate a different plant of superior characteristics. Although, all types of plants including flowering cultivars, tomatoes, watermelon and cucumber can be propagated by this method, it is mostly applicable for those having slightly woody stems.

What is Plant Grafting?

In a plant grafting process, a specific plant is used for its root, which is called rootstock, or simply stock. Another plant of the same or different variety is selected for its shoot portion, which is referred to as scion. In general, a plant having a healthy root system is selected as the stock; whereas the scion can be of any flowering plant or fruit tree, as per the choice of the hobbyist. These two are then cut and joined together. Thus, with a plant grafting process, you can reap the benefits of a hardy stock and a sturdy scion in a single plant. Know more on propagating plants from cuttings.

How to Graft a Plant?

In order to ensure a successful plant grafting, make sure that the vascular bundle tissues (xylem and phloem) of the rootstock are aligned properly with the vascular tissues of the scion. By doing so, a continuous vascular flow is maintained and the grafted plant grows and develops normally. There are several plant grafting methods such as budding, cleft, whip and stub. Following are simple steps to graft a plant, which you can practice to experiment grafting with your garden plants:
  • Gather plant grafting tools - sharp flat-blade knife, two plants (or branches) of equal stem thickness, grafting sealant and binding material.
  • First select a plant that will serve as a rootstock for your gardening project. Take a scion of your choice; it can be a branch of a fruit tree or a flowering plant.
  • The stem or twig size of the scion should be nearly equal to that of the rootstock, which you have selected. You can smoothly cut the rootstock at a portion, where you think the shoot size matches that of your scion.
  • Position the scion on top of the rootstock in such a way that the two twigs are aligned properly without any gap in between. Using a rubber band or a string, bind the two plants together.
  • The last step is to apply sealant as per the directions of the manufacturer. If done properly, the two plants will meld and your new grafted plant will develop new leaves and buds. Know more on grafting fruit trees.
What are the Advantages of Grafting Plants?

Similar to other vegetative plant propagation, there are both pros and cons of grafted plants. Nevertheless, advantages of grafting plants outweigh its disadvantages. Some of the plus points of plant grating are:
  • Since you are using an already established rootstock, grafting is the best alternative for propagating plant varieties that are difficult to propagate with other vegetative methods.
  • Inducing the plants to remain dwarf and sturdy is a major advantage of grafting plants. For example; fruit trees of apple and peach are maintained dwarf for ease in harvesting. Know more on dwarf fruits trees.
  • Dwarfing the plants also minimizes breakage of branches while maintaining them in harsh environmental conditions such as strong winds, heavy frosting, etc. Also, you can use scion of cold tolerant varieties for growing in cold climatic conditions.
  • By using scion of an older fruit tree, the maturity period of the new saplings are shortened. Thus, your grafted fruit trees will bear fruits within a short time, as compared to those propagated by seeds.
Considering the plant grafting technique, it is no wonder that you can create a flowering plant with different colored blooms. For example, you can graft a yellow rose with a red rose and the resultant variety will bear flowers of both colors. Indeed grafting plants plays a major role in commercial propagation of shrubs and bushes, and trees to meet the demands of hobbyists.


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