Along with relaxation, gardening gives you the opportunity to be one with nature, and contribute something good to it. Sometimes garden enthusiasts go beyond planting seeds and pruning bushes into more interesting activities, such as grafting. Grafting is the process of combining two plants into one to create a more stable and uniquely shaped plant. It can be done on vegetables, fruits, and flowering plants.
Materials for Grafting
To graft plants, you will need a knife with a flat blade, a grafting sealant, a rubber band or string, and the two plants you want to combine. The best time to do grafting is during the winter season when plants are dormant, meaning they are in the process of storing energy for the growth spurts of spring. You also need to select plants that can be grafted- only those plants that are in the same plant family can be grafted together (for example, roses can be grafted with other roses or plants in the rose family and apple trees can be grafted with other apple trees)
First, cut off a small portion of the plant to be grafted. Usually, you will want to cut a bud from a mature twig to use in your graft. Then, make a T shaped cut along the central trunk of the plant that you're attaching the bud too. The size of the portion to be cut should be equivalent to the size of the plant you’ll be grafting into (the host plant).
Right after cutting the plant, store the piece in the refrigerator. The cold temperature of the fridge will simulate the winter conditions outside. Next, decide where you want to graft the cut piece onto the host plant. Once you’ve picked the place, create your T-shaped cut in your host plant. The incision should be deep enough to allow you to reach the outer layers of the trunk or the inner portion of a plant or tree where it’s saturated with nutrients.
Put the two plants together, placing the bud and twig from the plant you are attaching into the plant you are grafting it too and bind them using a rubber band or string. Apply a coating of sealant, which can be bought from plant stores, on the newly grafted plant. You can use sticks to support the weight of the plant.
How to Care for Grafted Plants
To care for grafted plants such as tomatoes or roses, you can cover them with plastic sheets to recreate the effects of a greenhouse. Mist the plants to prevent drying. You can remove the plastic sheeting when the graft is completely healed. Protect your plants from excess sunlight by covering them with a tarp or tent. Allow the plants to adjust to their new environment by moving them out of the greenhouse and to the outdoors in stages gradually, until they have acclimated completely.