Grafting Cactus

Mr. Bee from the Carroll Eagle tells you how to graft cactus. He started with an irradiated Gymnocalycium that needed to be regrafted. But first, a little history,

The ancient Chinese grafted plants as far back as 3,000 years ago. Then 2,300 years ago, the ancient Greeks mastered it.

That’s fascinating. Since there were no cactus in China or Greece back then, we can safely assume this bit of history is off topic.

To begin, I used a knife to slice through the base of the red part to cleanly separate it from the green part.

Next, I removed the uppermost portion from a second cactus that was getting too tall, until all that remained was a 1-inch-tall stub still rooted to its pot.

Finally, I grafted the detached red part to the rooted stub of the green part, using a pair of rubber bands to hold the two parts together. Within a few months, the red and green parts will bond.

Sounds good. Any more tips? Like when you use the word “graft” in the instructions on how to “graft” you may leave people unsure what to do.

The secret to a successful cactus graft is to closely align the diameters of the cut parts being grafted, because a close match facilitates the free flow of vital fluids between the two parts.

Now you know.

Want to know more? Here are pictures and complete cactus grafting instructions from the UCC Biology Department. UCC is the Union County College of Cranford, NJ, also serving PA and DE. I think you’ll have to go to the History Department for the Chinese and Greek history part of the lesson.

  Cactus and Succulents
  Carnivorous Plants

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June 2023

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