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How to Graft a Plant

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani Dec 1, 2018
Grafting is a unique way of asexual propagation in which tissues of one variety of plant are inserted into those of another to make a single plant. You can learn how to graft a plant by following these simple tips.
Among the various modes of vegetative or asexual plant propagation, grafting (or graftage) is the most widely used technique to produce new plantlets. In this, two plants of similar or dissimilar types are fused together to create a single plant.
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:
  • 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.
  • Inducing plants to remain dwarf and sturdy is a major advantage of this craft. Like, grafting fruit trees to make them dwarf renders them easy to harvest.
  • Dwarfing minimizes breakage of branches while maintaining in harsh conditions as strong winds, heavy frosting, etc. Also, you can use scion of cold-tolerant varieties for growing plants in cold climes.
  • By using scion of an older fruit tree, the maturity period of the new saplings can be shortened.
  • Create a flowering plant with different colored blooms by using grafting. Graft a yellow rose with a red and the result will bear blooms of both the colors.
Indeed, plant grafting method plays a major role in commercial propagation of shrubs and trees to meet the demands of hobbyists.