Plant Grafting-Science Project

David R. Hershey dh321 at
Mon Nov 16 02:48:33 EST 1998

Houseplants generally are not grafted but propagated by rooting of
cuttings. However, you should be able to graft some and perhaps discover
new information and create some novelty plants. You might want to use
variegated types that differ in leaf and stem color so the graft union
stands out. For practice, you may simply cut a stem and try to
successfully graft it back on the same plant. To prevent water loss, you
may need to remove or trim leaves and keep the grafted plant in a humid
atmosphere by misting it and enclosing in a plastic bag. Good
possibilities are euonymus (Euonymus japonica), English ivy (Hedera
helix), coleus, and geranium (Pelargonium hybrids).

Certain cacti used as houseplants are grafted commercially with a
brightly colored type grafted on top of a plain green type. If there is
a cactus nursery or hobbyist in your area they may be able to help. I
believe they glue the parts together.

Monocots generally are not grafted because they lack a vascular cambium
so many houseplants theoretically should not be capable of being

Certain vegetable seedlings are grafted commercially so that might be a
good experimental system. The parts can be joined by sticking them both
in a piece of plastic tubing. I believe there was a review on vegetable
seedling grafting in the journal HortScience several years ago.

The standard college textbook "Plant Propagation: Principles and
Practices" by Hartmann, Kester, and others and R.J. Garner's "The
Grafter's Handbook" both have a wealth of information on grafting. You
should be able to get copies at a good university library or by
interlibrary loan.

David R. Hershey
dh321 at

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