Grafted cactus is the perfect addition to any space, no matter how big or small your garden may be. They’re weird and irresistible, making them all that much more interesting. Grafting is the process of taking a branch or leaf from one plant and transferring it to another.
You can do this with many different types of cacti. But the question is how to graft cactus? Find out all about grafted cactus and a complete guide to do it below in this article.
- Grafting Cactus And Its Benefits
- Specific Grafting Terminologies
- Things You Need for Grafting Cactus
- How To Graft Cactus Like A Pro – 5 Steps
- Care For Grafted Cactus
Grafting Cactus And Its Benefits
Grafting is a simple and effective way to grow plants that are often difficult or impossible otherwise. You can take one piece of cacti (the ‘scion’), which will be attached to another.
It could even include whole branches. The idea here is you want as many similar conditions as possible, so they develop into healthy mature plants; without needing more nutrients than what’s already there.
Moreover, grafting cacti is a great way to create new plants and increase the growth rate for slow-growing species. The rootstock will provide your scion with the nutrients it needs so that you can expect better results in this case.
The process of grafting cactus is not limited to any specific species; rather, you can do it with various types. The most common cacti used in crafting as the top are Gymnocalycium mihanovichii. In contrast, Hylocereus spp or Myrtillocactus geometrizans are used as the base.
The grafting technique is helpful in the following ways:
- It helps to grow a weak species on top of a stronger one by giving the energy of the strong base plant to the weak top plant.
- Grafting a cactus helps save a cactus if it is near to dying. It is more effective in this regard than its propagation by cutting. Joining two cacti creates a new plant of your choice that gives beauty to your garden. Grafted cacti are aesthetically appealing. The small cacti pincushion cactus (Mammillaria) is the best choice for gardeners for its unique colors and beautiful patterns.
Specific Grafting Terminologies
Before moving to our step-by-step guide of grafting cactus, we will like you to know some most important grafting terminologies of a composite plant to understand the process easily. So here they are:
The rootstock is the lower part of a graft that will become both stems and roots of the cactus. The widely sued and effective rootstocks for grafting cacti are Hylocereus trigonus or undatus, Cereus peruvianus, and Trichocereus spachianus.
Scions are the upper part of grafts, which develop on branches between two different plants with desirable traits. Incorporating a scion into one’s garden can be an interesting way to add new life and color. The commonly used scion in cactus grafting is Gymnocalycium mihanovichii.
The vascular cambium is the key cell in grafting associated with the stem’s vascular tissues. They are responsible for making the plant’s new xylem and successfully healing grafted parts. Attaching vascular cambium of the stock and scion is crucial in the grafting process.
Budding is a grafting where there’s only one bud and a little bit of bark.
Things You Need for Grafting Cactus
You will need the following apparatus to complete your task of grafting cacti at home.
1. Grafting Knife
The grafting knife is used for precise cuts and should not have serrated edges. It also needs to be sharp, so the gardener has a clean cut. You can also use any other knife available with the same characteristics.
2. Leather Gardening Gloves
Leather gardening gloves are a must if you plan on grafting spiky cacti. They will protect your hands from painful spikes and allow for better grip when handling plants with delicate roots or other similar carvings.
3. Rubber Bands / Twine
It would be best to hold the two cacti together after grafting. You can do this easily by tying them with rubber bands or twine, allowing them to heal nicely.
How To Graft Cactus Like A Pro – 5 Steps
Grafting cacti is a great way to get more plants in your garden. It’s simple, quick and easy. This section has compiled some quick and easy steps to graft cactus. You don’t need any extraordinary instruments and techniques. Just follow these simple tips and innovate unique and colorful cacti!
Step 1: Cut Off Rootstock Head
First, you’ll have to cut the head off the rootstock (base plant). The length depends upon your choice but makes sure it is 2-3 inches above the soil. Use a sharp and sterilized knife for this process and cut precisely!
Step 2: Create Scion
You have to make the scion (top cactus plant) by cutting any cactus of your choice (ensuring it is approved for grafting). The scion and the rootstock diameter must be the same to meet and heal together nicely.
Step 3: Place Scion On Rootstock
It is an important step that needs to be done carefully as all the grafting technique lies here. If you closely examine the sliced parts of your cactus, you will see rings around certain areas which represent xylem and phloem vessel systems.
These parts distribute water and nutrients throughout all plant parts and reside in the plant’s vascular cambium. So, make sure you match the rings on the rootstock and those on the scion for a better connection. A clean and precise cut will help you in accomplishing this process.
Step 4: Tie Grafted Parts Together
Now you’ve successfully grafted your cacti. Secure it by putting rubber bands/twine around whole plant, all from the top of it, down and all over the pot as well if possible. Do it nicely, and don’t worry about hurting the cacti as it is strong enough to withhold the rubber band’s pressure.
If that doesn’t work out, then use something like toothpicks sandwich-style so they’ll stay secure together until roots grow between parts. The first method is preferable as this one can hurt the plant.
Step 5: Remove The Rubber Bands
Keep an eye on the health of what you’ve grafted by monitoring its growth for about two weeks after planting. At this point, the grafted parts will have become one plant with their roots bound together. Remove the rubber now and flaunt your new plant!
Care For Grafted Cactus
Cacti are low maintenance plant as we know; however, you should take the following measures with a grafted cactus to make sure your cactus is happy:
- Garden experts recommend keeping grafted cactus in partial or indirect sunlight as it does best in such an environment.
- Water your cactus infrequently as it is a desert plant and does not require much water.
- Keep on adding the right cactus fertilizer during the growing season. It will encourage the healthy growth of your grafted cactus.
Grafting Cacti is a great way to add flair and color to your home. Doing it with these basic techniques usually works without much hassle if you practice them enough. Follow the guidelines in this article and let us know how you find grafting a cactus easy or difficult?
If you have attempted any crazy combinations or grafts, share them with us in the comments below!