Grafting peyote and other cacti
Grafting is a science and technique of connecting two pieces of living plant together in order to grow them as a single plant. The plant will feed the seedling and increase it growth. Personally I found it looks like art and make me feel I made my Frankenstein alive!
Here we will learn together the techniques of how to perform graft and make your cacti grow faster to get mature sooner then it natural process from the seed.
When grafting, it usually take 6 to 9 month to get mature plants and your cactus start blooming and may give you fruits.
The Pereskiopsis is a nice alternative for you, you don’t need wait at least 3 to 5 years to get mature peyote when you can have it in few month with the pereskiopsis.
The Pereskiopsis is fast growing rootstock and is the best way to increase the size of your collection and grow stubborn plants much faster and safer than you would otherwise do. Get your stock of pereskiopsis here. For the lophophora seeds it is here.
I had tested a lot of different way to make the best guide online for grafting peyote cactus and other.
I will continue to improve on it and updates here my new experiences.
- Stock – the plant you graft ON, in this case Pereskiopsis
- Scion – the plant you put on the top of the stock, in this case the seedling
Here is a list of things you will need to get started:
- A *sharp* scalpel. Many prefer using razor-blades, but those are not very common in many places anymore. I always use sharp knife or cutter. The blades must be cleaned after a cut is done, using alcohol (or similar). If you have no such things around, I have also successfully cleaned them with a moist cloth, wrapped the blade in tin-foil (to avoid soot) and heating it a bit using a lighter.
- Rooted Pereskiopsis. Ideally the stem should be around 10cm (4 inches) or more, shorter or higher will also work.
- A transparent plastic box or tent, the grafts must be placed in high humidity and warm place for around 6-7 days.
- Pincette, tweezers, or similar to deal with the seedlings.
- A clean surface to do the seedling-surgery, i.e. a plastic-cover or similar
- Gloves it is not necessary but it is better to protect you from the little spines.*
Before you start doing surgery, there are some important points that MUST be observed:
- Vascular ring alignment. No matter what kind of scion/stock you use, the vascular rings must overlap in some way or your graft will fail, as illustrated:
- As we will be working on tiny seedlings, the vascular rings can be difficult to spot. Therefore, simply put the seedlings a little off-center on the stock.
Now lets get into our surgery:
- Slice the top off the Pereskiopsis, around 1.5cm (½ inch) will usually get you to the place where the diameter is fine. I used to clean my cutter with alcohol to avoid the fungus. You can help you by holding pincette and use it as a ruler when sliced and also avoid the dangerous spikes of the pereskiopsis. Make sure the cut is plain! Removed the leafs from the top around 2 inch.
- I also use some of other method if the top of your pereskiopsis aren’t moist enough. You can use his leaf by cut it half and squeeze the liquid to the top. It will help to hang the seedling on. (Wait few min after placed you seedling on, before move your graft to the moist place)
- Pick your favorite seedling, make sure it is clean. Choosing your seedling it is also very important. I mostly took the 2 to 4 weeks old babies with tiny shape. It can be older or less. The most important it is the size. It have to stand on the stock and not go over or off of the ring. If you unsure, better measure it and make sure the diameter of your stock is larger then your seedling(see picture below).
- I usually spray water on the seedling to clean it then put it on a clean surface, and slice it easily on the bottom or middle. The seedling should stick on the cutter(else it is not important you can take it with your fingers too:
Use a match, pincette (tweezers) or similar and transfer the seedling to the Pereskiopsis. When the seedling rests on the stock, a little off-center, gently push it a little from top to remove eventual air-bubbles.
After putting the seedling onto the stock, quickly put the fresh graft into a humid environment. Wait 5 min and spray some water vapor on it. Try to avoid the seedling when you spray.This is not necessary for the common fat-stock grafts, but on Pereskiopsis you are guaranteed to fail if you omit this. In dry air the Pereskiopsis will shrivel up and reject the scion. I use a small greenhouse, and put a vat with water inside to increase humidity plus spray some water everyday (see picture below).
The grafts should be kept in humidity for around 7 days. This may lead to worries about fungal attack etc., but I have never had that problem.
Also, the remains of the top of the Pereskiopsis sliced for the garft can be re-rooted. Let it dry for a few hours, repot it in moist soil and you will have new stock within a few weeks.
After taking them out of the chamber, place outside(If you have enough sunlight or tropical weather like us in Thailand} or under your growing lights.
If the graft is successful, it should start growing soon depending on the species you grafted. For some species it can take a week before you see anything. Some types may take 2-3 weeks. you will usually see the heals on the separation and the light green head. the seedling will to inflate progressively.
Important: When you wait for the scion to start growing, the pereskiopsis will very often start to put out new branches. It is important that you remove these (preferably with a sharp cutter or similar, without hurting the leaves), or the stock will spend its energy on growing the new branches instead of pumping up the scion.
*CAUTION: I advice you to directly remove the little spine from your hands or fingers. Else it can be very painful for few days if it go deeper into your skin.