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Take a close look at the image when looking at this cacti. What do you see as a colorful flower? Many people mistake it for a flower, but the truth is that it is two different species. Don’t believe us! Then keep reading as the next part is exciting as two cacti species grafted together, sitting in one pot.
What Is a Grafted Cactus?
Yes, looking at the image and finding out it is two species grafted together well is interesting. You see these brightly colorful mutants sitting on your standard cactus.
The truth is that when mutant pups grow in the wild, they will detach themselves from the mother plant, and yes, sadly, it dies.
It cannot photosynthesize, and having chlorophyll is an essential part of the process. So as you can see, when you graft cacti, you can add a different aesthetics to your living space.
But what is a grafted cactus? It takes two different cacti species and combines them in one single plant. An interesting note is that the top part is called Scion.
Hence, the mutant part grows into a colorful Scion that looks different from the bottom and is known as the Rootstock plants.
These grafted cacti only grow up to three inches tall, giving them a petite yet compact look.
Grafting Cactus Plants: Why Do It?
You can graft cactuses for many reasons, as mutant pups detach themselves from the parent plant. Due to the lack of chlorophyll, they will die. Hence, to help your pups to survive, you can use grafting to keep them alive.
You can graft them together to create unique forms, whether you have a moon cactus or a ruby ball cactus. Then, when you attach the pup to the rootstock, it gets the essential nutrients to grow.
Another reason is that a grafted cactus has an unusual look, you must agree. It becomes a must-have showpiece to place in the home or the garden.
Cactus Grafting Guide
So, do we have you interested by now? If you are curious, stay a while longer to find out how you can graft your Peruvian apple cactus with a Christmas cactus to create cactus dish gardens. The ideal time for grafting cactus plants is in the growing seasons in spring and summer.
We do not recommend grafting your cactus plant in colder months. The reason is that it is in a dormant winter period.
How to Graft Moon Cactus
Okay, when you graft a cactus is a great activity and brings out your creative side. So, if you are new to gardening, we recommend starting with small cacti you can handle with ease.
When it comes to grafting a rootstock cactus, there are four methods available. These are the side graft, stat graft, flat or lateral graft, and cleft graft. In each of the methods, the Scion you place differently.
Out of all of these, the lateral grafting cacti is the simplest. To graft a cactus, you will also need some tools on hand. You will need a pair of gloves essential to prevent those thorns from sticking into your hands; ouch.
Then, it helps if you had some rubber bands to bring the rootstock plants and the mutant variation together. Lastly, it would be best to have a grafting knife or a sharp knife. Then choose your brightly colored cactus to graft with another cacti species.
Steps With Lateral Grafting
To start the graft, you first remove the top section of your rootstock plants. Then, use a clean, sterilized blade or knife.
Make a cut of about two to three inches right above the soil mix. Also, ensure that the wound is made with a smooth yet neat cut.
Also, make sure to disease-free stems from your other cactus. Cut the healthy segments to create a Scion. Make sure to cut a part of the mutant similar to the grafted partner for easy placing.
Place the pup onto the wound of the existing stem of your rooted rootstock to seal it together. Also, make sure that the vascular cambium of the two species meet up and make contact.
Next, secure both sections using your rubber bands from the top to the bottom and the sides of the container.
In about two weeks, you will notice the scion growing, and you can remove the bands as the two cacti have become one small plant.
How to Care for Grafted Cacti
Now that you have created collectors plants, it needs special caring needs to ensure it thrives. To help, we have included some special grafted cactus care tips.
Okay, we know that most cacti thrive in direct sun, but your cacti grafted plant will perform its best in bright indirect sunlight. So, if you grow cacti as an outdoor plant, place your successfully grafted plant where it receives partial shade. For indoor cacti, you can place them next to a window.
As with your older plants, the same rule applies, and that is to avoid overwatering. Like any other existing cultivar, the grafted cactus is drought tolerant. For watering your plants, you can use a spray bottle to give them a misting once in a while. Only water them when the soil dries out and ensure that the excess water drains freely to prevent root rot.
Soil and Cactus Fertilizer Needs
Having a fast-draining cactus mix remains essential even if your cactus plants are grafted or not. In addition, we recommend an acidic to neutral potting soil.
For fertilizing, you can provide them with a feed in the growing season, and in the winter months, avoid feeding.
Another important thing with winter is that your plant is susceptible to frost, and treat your grafted cactus as an indoor plant.
Problems With Grafted Cacti
If you notice your cactus turning brown, it can be for several reasons. One is overwatering and will show signs of becoming discolored, mushy, or brown. So the first thing is to check the roots to see if they are rotted or dead roots.
If the roots look white and healthy, you can transplant your cactus into fresh soil but ensure it is a well-draining soil. Allow the mix to be completely dried out before watering again.
If you find the roots are rotting, turning brown or black, snip away the unhealthy roots and replant them into a new pot with suitable soil.
Using grafting is an easy yet excellent way to save your dying cactus plants. The best of all is it takes little care, and you treat them as a standard cacti plant. So why not give it a try as Plantly will help you along the way.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!