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How to Graft a Plant

Grafting is a common method gardeners use to join two plants together to grow cultivars that do not root well on their own or have poor root systems or to grow a new variety altogether. These plants naturally fuse together and grow as a single plant. The part of the plant to be propagated is known as scion and consists of the shoot with buds. The lower part that provides the root system and forms the lower part of the stem is known as the rootstock, or simply stock.

How to Graft a Plant

Purchase a sharp pointed knife, and wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water. Also sterilize it in alcohol to kill any germs left on it.

Choose a healthy plant that is free from disease from which you wish to take the scion. Select a branch that is a year old and has at least three or four dormant leaf buds. Hold it carefully between your fingers, and make a diagonal, straight, sharp cut to separate it from the parent plant. Avoid a jagged cut since it may not fuse well with the rootstock. Remember to keep the length and diameter of the scion the same as the plant you want to graft it on. Place the scion in a glass or small vase with clean water at room temperature to prevent it from drying up while you cut the rootstock.

Decide where on the second plant you want to graft the scion. Keep it the same length as the scion, and make a sharp, straight and diagonal cut that will penetrate the outer bark and all the way through the inner nutrient-packed area of the plant.

Remove the scion from water and place its cut edge on the cut on the rootstock until they fit perfectly. If you find it hard to connect them firmly, try to align at least one side of both pieces.

Use grafting wax around the joint to fuse both the pieces together and encourage them to grow as a single plant.

Check the wax after two to three weeks to make sure it has not cracked, and re-wax if necessary. There will be no need to re-wax again once the union becomes strong. With proper care, your plant will fully fuse and begin sprouting in five to six months.


The ideal time to graft a plant is late winter or early spring, since it is dormant and storing up energy for the growing season. An alternative to placing the scion in water while you cut the rootstock is to place it in the refrigerator. This way it will be tricked into thinking it is winter and will go dormant.


Make sure any houseplant you use for the rootstock is drought resistant and free from pests or disease.

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