GRAFTING CACTI AND SUCCULENTS

Grafting is another method of propagating plants. It consists of uniting a piece of one plant called the scion, with another rooted plant called the stock. The tissues of the two parts make union and the scion continues to grow while the stock provides the food for the growth.

Grafting is resorted to for a variety of purposes, such as accelerating growth of slow-growing plants, preserving species that do not grow well on their own roots in cultivation, obtaining a greater number of flowers, developing bushy and more decorative plants, or preserving abnormal forms such as crests and monstrous plants.

Cacti are frequently grafted. The best time for the Collection of cacti is from May to September when the plants ire growing well. It is very important that both the cion and the stock should be in vigorous growing condition. Many grafts do not take properly due to he violation of this requirement.

There are three kinds of grafts commonly era-loyed—the cleft, the flat, and the side.

The cleft graft is very simple, and easily made. Rhe stock is cut off to the height at which it is iesired to have the new plant develop. A long V-shaped notch is cut in the top of the stock. The :ut should never be longer than the insert if a perfect union is to be attained. The stem of the scion is then cut on two sides to form a wedge, and inserted into the split of the stock. The cut faces should be perfectly flat planes and not curved or irregular surfaces. In order to keep the scion from slipping out of place, it is necessary to fasten it securely. This can be done conveniently by pinning it with one or two long cactus spines. The spines are thrust into the stock so that they pass through the wedge of the scion, and in order to keep the sides of the notch from spreading it is good practice to wrap some string or raffia around the graft. The string should be taut enough to hold the scion in place, and yet not so tight as to cut into it, or the stock. Much of the success will be measured by the skill in cutting the stock and scion to a perfect fit.

In the flat graft, both scion and stock should be of approximately the same width at the intended union. After selecting the two plants, make a smooth transverse cut on each specimen and then place the scion on the severed stock, pressing the two flat surfaces together.

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