Grafting succulents can be very rewarding. It promotes genetic exchange from two plants that can result in unique traits for the resulting chimera. One example discussed here earlier was the mutant moon cactus.

Like the moon cactus, grafted succulents can be easily mistaken as a rare breed because of their usually contrasting appearances on the top and bottom parts. However, it is actually two plants fused together.

1. Components of a Grafted Succulent Plant

Before going through it though, it is important for you to know first the two components of grafting, namely the scion and the rootstock. A scion is the detached living portion of a plant such as a bud or a shoot. It will then be joined into the rootstock, which will serve as its host. Normally, the scion influences the features of the fruits or flowers of the fusion. Meanwhile, the rootstock shares its genetic traits with the stem or trunk. Both must be compatible to produce desirable results.

2. Success Rate of Grafting Succulents

Plant buds from a mature plant are the best sources of scion cuttings. The ideal size is between one-fourth and half-an-inch. It should be healthy and free from disease or pests.

On the other hand, the rootstock should be at least a year old and also free from defects. The most commonly used rootstocks are Hylocereus trigonus or undatus, Cereus peruvianus, and Trichocereus spachianus. The grafting’s level of success increases if the two plants belong to the same species. It can also be from the same family and genera but the outcomes may differ as their relationship splits further.

3. Basic Grafting Technique

Searching for the best grafting techniques online will yield plenty of results and some of the tutorials may be very overwhelming for beginners. Too many technicalities involved eventually dissuade them from continuing. However, this part shows you just the basics to get you started if the advanced techniques are too much for you to process right now.

Upon identifying the scion and rootstock that you need, simply use a sterilized pair of garden shears to cut the chosen scions. Wrap their cuttings in moist paper towels, moss, or sawdust. Next, store them in a cool and dry place between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit a month or two before spring.

Spring is the perfect time for grafting so proceed by making a 45-degree cut on the base of the scion and another matching cut on top of the rootstock. Carefully join them using rubber bands, grafting tape, or grafting wax to hold the two together. You will know that the procedure is a success once the cambium layers of the plants have fused up.

4. Prolonging the Life of the Mutant Succulent

The mutation of the scion makes it lose its ability to produce chlorophyll, which is essential to photosynthesis. Therefore, it will surely die out if separated from the rootstock. Its life may be extended though by re-grafting it to a healthier rootstock if the old one already shows signs of deterioration.

5. Reminders

Always remember to avoid overwatering the succulent plant to keep it in top shape, and see to it that it gets enough sunlight during the day. Last but not least, only choose the right pots with holes for drainage to guarantee the long life of your grafted succulents.

About the author
Giancarlo Perlas
A freelance writer who loves cars, sports, carpentry, and gardening. Check him out on Twitter at @giancarloperlas and Pinterest at Succulent Shaman.

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