By grafting, you can propagate a different plant of superior characteristics or create a variety with all the desired properties in it. 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.
In this method, 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.
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 2 are then cut and joined together. So, you can reap the benefits of a hardy stock and a sturdy scion in a single plant with grafting.
Ways to Graft a Plant
For a successful graft, ensure that the vascular bundle tissues (xylem and phloem) of the rootstock are aligned properly with the vascular tissues of the scion. This keeps a continuous vascular flow and the grafted plant develops normally. There are several methods of graftage such as budding, cleft, whip, and stub.
Here are few simple steps of grafting:
What you will need:
What you will need:
- A sharp flat-blade knife
- Two plants (or branches) of equal stem thickness
- Grafting sealant
- Binding material
- Select a plant that will serve as a rootstock for your gardening project. Take a scion of your choice, which can be a branch of a fruit tree or a flowering plant.
- The stem or twig size of the scion should be equal to the rootstock you select. You can smoothly cut the rootstock at a portion, where you think the shoot size matches 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. Bind the two together using a rubber band or a string.
- The last step is to apply sealant as per the directions of the manufacturer. If done properly, the two plants will meld and your graft will develop new leaves and buds.
Advantages of Grafting Plants
Like other asexual propagation methods, there are pros and cons to grafting. Nevertheless, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Some of the benefits of graftage 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.
- By using scion of an older fruit tree, the maturity period of the new saplings can be shortened.