Cacti come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, which makes them desirable plants for both outdoor and indoor decoration. They are pretty easy to propagate. You can choose to propagate cacti trough grafting, leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, seeds or offsets. However, if you choose to grow cacti from seeds, you should know that it`s a long process, as germination may be unreliable and growth is at a snail’s pace.
Cacti that don’t produce offsets can be propagated by grafting as long as there is a compatible rootstock. Grafting is a process where a cut piece of one species is grown onto a wounded piece of another. The grafted part is called a scion and the base or rooted part is the rootstock.
Why to Graft?
Cacti are grafted for many reasons. Grafting is a way of producing a different species mechanically. This process can also result in disease-free stems, a new stems or enhancing photosynthesis in plants that lack the ability to do it by themselves. Grafting can also create unique forms of cacti, such as weeping plants. Grafting is also very common in fruiting plants because it increases the maturity of an existing cultivar for earlier fruit production.
With grafting, the scion becomes the top part of the cactus with all of the specifics it already has. The rootstock becomes the roots and base of the plant. Two plants meet at the vascular cambium where the wounds of scion and rootstock are sealed together to heal and join. Once those wounds heal, grafted cactus doesn’t need any special care. You can simply grow it as you would with any other cactus.
The Best Rootstock Cacti
One of the best choices for rootstock cactus is Hylocereus trigonus or Hylocereus undatus, Cereus repandus and Echinopsis spachiana. When choosing rootstock cactus, you should keep in mind that ones in the same species and with as close a relationship as possible have the best outcome.
If the scion and the rootstock are in the same species, the compatibility is ideal. From that, compatibility decreases as the family relationship decrease. Having said that, two plants in the same genus may possibly graft, but two in the same genera are rare. Two in the same family are very rare.
How To Graft A Cactus?
Grafting process may sound complicated, but that is not a case. All you need is sterile tools and some rubber bands. First, you have to choose a healthy plant and prepare a scion. Make sure your tools are very clean and sterile when making cuts. Cut off the top or at least a 1-inch (2.5 cm) stem. When you prepared a scion, behead a rootstock cactus to within a few inches of the soil. After you prepared both plants, set the scion on top of the cut portion of the still rooted rootstock so both vascular cambium are situated together. That use rubber bands to hold the parts joined.
Grafted cactus doesn’t need any special care, so you should just watch out for the insects or the union or rot. In about two months, you can just remove the rubber bands and there you have it- your perfect grafted cactus.