Cacti are fascinating plants that come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. They are easy to care for, which makes them popular among green-fingered enthusiasts. But what is a Grafted Cactus? And what makes it different from other cacti?
Grafted cacti are a common and unique and easy way to spice up your garden, with all kinds of different choices you can make to create the space you want.
But what exactly are grafted cacti, what is it that makes them grafted? In this article, we’re going to take you through everything you’ll need to know about grafted cacti—what they are, how grafting works, and how you can take care of a grafted cactus.
We’ve also included a short FAQ to clear up any questions you may have left over at the end.
What Is Grafting?
Before we get into the specifics of what a grafted cactus is, we need to get familiar with the process of grafting. In short, grafting is a horticultural technique used for centuries to create new and unique plants.
The process involves taking a part of one plant and attaching it to another. The two plants then grow together, creating a new plant that combines the best qualities of both plants.
Grafting is commonly used in the production of fruit trees, such as apples and oranges. It is also used to produce ornamental plants, such as grafted cacti.
Grafting allows horticulturists to create new and unique plants that are more robust and hardy than their parent plants.
What Is A Grafted Cactus?
So, with this knowledge in mind, a grafted cactus is a plant that has been made by grafting two cacti together. The bottom part of the plant, often called the rootstock, is usually a hardy, fast-growing cactus that has great resilience against pests, disease, and drought.
The top part of the plant—also called the scion—-is a slower-growing cactus that is added for a unique shape, color, texture, or combination of all. Grafted cacti are created by grafting this scion onto the rootstock.
With these two together, you get the best of both worlds and a unique creation that will have people turning their heads when they enter your garden.
The two sections of this new cacti work together, with the rootstock providing the scion nutrients, structural support, and water.
What Is The Most Common Grafting Method?
There are a few ways to graft cacti together, but the most common is the method of “Lateral Grafting.” Lateral grafting is the process of cutting the top of the rootstock cactus off, and the bottom off a scion cactus at an angle.
These two pieces are then placed together, with experienced grafters making sure the edges match perfectly. A small piece of tape is usually used to hold the two pieces together as they heal.
Once the two pieces have healed, this tape is removed and the new grafted cactus plant is left to grow and strengthen. Providing the graft has been performed by an expert, you can expect the scion to grow much faster due to the additional support it will receive from the rootstock.
Lateral grafting is a straightforward and effective way to create grafted cacti. However, it does require some skill and knowledge to do correctly. It is essential to use a sharp, clean knife when cutting the cacti, and to ensure that the two pieces match up perfectly.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Grafted Cacti?
Many different kinds of grafted cacti have been created over the years, each with a unique look and intriguing characteristics. Here are a couple of the most common forms of grafted cacti.
Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)
Moon Cactus is by far and away the most commonly kept grafted cactus. This cactus is well known for its bright colors and shape.
Dragon Fruit Cactus (Hylocereus Undatus)
This one is another common cactus that produces large, edible fruit. The top is a hylocereus cactus, which is then grafted onto a rootstock that is tolerant to a wide range of growing conditions. It’s worth noting that they are typically a large cactus plant.
Taking Care Of Your Grafted Cactus
If you’ve recently gotten hold of a grafted cactus, you might be wondering about the best way to look after it. Before we begin this section, you should know that all grafted cacti are different, and depending on the kind you have, you should search for specific tips about how to best care for them.
With that in mind, the following guide will outline some general tips for looking after your cactus.
Grafted cacti are drought-tolerant plants that do not require much water. Water your grafted cactus once a week during the growing season and once a month during the dormant season. Make sure that the soil is completely dry before watering.
Grafted cacti require well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. Use a cactus mix or create your own mix by combining perlite, coarse sand, and potting soil.
What Is The Best Type Of Soil For Succulents and Cacti In Pots?
Grafted cacti require plenty of sunlight to grow and thrive. Place your grafted cactus in a bright, sunny location where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight per day.
Grafted cacti are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, but they prefer warm temperatures. Keep your grafted cactus in a location where the temperature is between 65-85°F (18-29°C).
Grafted cacti require occasional fertilization during the growing season. Use a cactus fertilizer or a balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Fertilize your grafted cactus once a month during the growing season.
Grafted cacti require minimal pruning, but you can trim off any dead or diseased parts of the plant as needed. This is something you should do minimally. Over-pruning can lead to structural damage to the plant.
Pest and Disease Control
Grafted cacti are generally resistant to pests and diseases, especially if they have an effective rootstock. However, you should keep an eye out for common cactus pests, such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects.
If you notice any signs of pest or disease, treat your grafted cactus with an appropriate insecticide or fungicide.
Grafted cacti are unique and fascinating plants that combine the best qualities of two different cacti. They are easy to care for and come in a wide range of colors and shapes.
Grafting is a horticultural technique that allows plant enthusiasts to create new and unique plants that are more robust and hardy than their parent plants.
Lateral grafting is a common grafting technique used in the production of grafted cacti.
Taking care of a grafted cactus is relatively easy, and it requires the same care as any other cactus.
We hope that this guide has helped explain the details of grafted cacti and why you might want to add one to your garden. If you still have some questions, check out our FAQ section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Graft My Own Cacti?
It is possible for you to graft your own cacti. However, it requires some skill and knowledge to do correctly. It is essential to use a sharp, clean knife when cutting the cacti, and to ensure that the two pieces match up perfectly.
Can I Grow Grafted Cacti Indoors?
Yes, you can grow grafted cacti indoors. However, they require plenty of sunlight, so make sure you place them in a bright, sunny location.
How Do I Know If My Cactus Is Grafted?
Grafted cacti will have a noticeable graft line where the two plants have joined. Look for a raised line or scar on the cactus, usually near the base. If you see this line, your cactus is likely grafted.
Can I Propagate A Grafted Cactus?
While it is possible to propagate a grafted cactus, it is more challenging than propagating a non-grafted cactus. The top graft is usually a cultivar or hybrid that cannot be propagated by seed, so you will need to propagate the rootstock.
This can be done by taking a cutting from the rootstock and rooting it in well-draining soil. However, keep in mind that the resulting plant will not have the same characteristics as the top graft.