Adenium grafting goes as far as your creativity goes. It's an ongoing try and fail and try again process. If you're curious, let's explore this together.
Reasons Why People Graft Adenium
Adenium grown from seeds are almost always more expensive than grafted adenium. Because seed-grown ones are overall healthier & more resistant. For people who love adenium but would like a cheaper price, they might choose grafted ones. It's easier to sell for some nurseries & provide them with a steady income.
2. Fast Growth
Some adenium species like the Dorset Horn adenium grow terribly slow if you let it grow out on its own naturally. This is why people graft their bodies onto faster-growing adenium rootstock to speed up the growth. This also helps retain some of their unique characteristics. Grafting a scion on a young rootstock will give precocious (earlier than usual) flowers.
3. Get Seeds
For propagating, some growers receive adenium species through cuttings. They want to preserve the species. Grafting them on a strong rootstock may help the growth. If all is well, the cuttings can bloom & produce seed pods. The growers then can get the seeds. By grafting, they can multiply the species with known flower colors.
Multiple adenium species can be grafted on one plant, creating a beautiful multi-color adenium. This type attracts people because of the uniqueness & skills of the grafting artists.
A visitor posed a tricky question: my white desert rose bloomed a stalk of crimson color, why? Perhaps, the desert rose is multi-grafted. Or perhaps, it could be the variety and the seasonal pattern as one of our readers has experienced. But in any case, getting back to our grafting topic.
For the last point, grafting is for:
Grafting can create more attractive aesthetics for the adenium. Some people want a taller trunk for their small desert roses. So they graft them on the long trunk of Somalense or Anaconda.
In other cases, they may want to create the bonsai banyan look with air roots. So they graft adenium with roots onto the trunk of another one. Grafting on a stronger, more caudiciform-like base can help some spindly branches achieve a nicer look and form.
Close your eyes, imagine the shape, open your eyes, create that shape. –The Japanese Guy in Karate Kid movie
Let's now begin with grafting. The first step is:
Choosing a Rootstock
You can use any species as the rootstock. A 1-year-old rootstock with strong growing branches will work to nourish the scion.
Here are the common rootstock choices:
|Rootstock (Adenium Species)||Characteristic|
|Somalense/Anaconda||Long, tall trunk|
Somalense & Anaconda (a hybrid of Somalense x Obesum)
These two species have fast-growing single trunk. You can choose this one if you want to make your adenium "taller". They don't have many branches (just a single straight stem like The Eiffel Towel).
So it may be good choice for new trials because you don't have to do too many branches at once. And because Somalense usually blooms single-layer pink flowers, which look ordinary to some, they are often used for grafting to create more stunning-looking graft adenium.
This specie grows really fast. It has a big caudex with more fat branches shooting out. If you want multi-color adenium, you could choose this one. It may also help the slower-growing species grow bigger in less time.
Obesum has a smaller caudex. It grows a trunk before shooting out some branches. The growth is also good.
Notes on choosing a rootstock:
- Choose strong growing rootstock
- Diameter around 1-2 cm (half an inch to an inch) bigger than scion
- Bark has an off-gray color & no infections
Choosing a scion:
- Has off-gray or similar color with rootstock for aesthetics
- Similar growing rate with rootstock (not too strong or too weak)
- Length about 1 cm with 1-3 eyes for new sprout-outs
- Diameter smaller than or just-fit on rootstock
Now, let's get to the first flat graft (aka tablet or plain graft):
1. Flat Graft
This is probably the most common & easy method for beginners. Let's see the graft together.
Select a strong scion branch to be grafted. Cut off the leaves. Then, cut a small piece off that branch. Leave about 3-4 little eyes or 2 eyes (if they are further apart). If we leave the scion too long, chances are the rootstock may not be able to nourish it–causing it to droop down.
Then, on your rootstock:
Before grafting, cut off water for several days. Cut the branch flat several times. Each time, observe the latex oozing out. If we graft the scion on when there's still too much sap, chances of rot are higher. When the there's almost no sap flowing out anymore, you can stop cutting there and start grafting.
Place the little piece of scion on top of the freshly cut rootstock. Remember the direction (which side is up which is down) so the scion won't be placed upside down. Do as quickly as possible to prevent contamination. People place the scion in the center of the rootstock where the 2 visible circles of both their inner core touch.
Use a piece of plastic to wrap the graft union. Tighten it with some heat-tolerant rubber band. Make sure the 2 surfaces of the scion and the rootstock touch. Wrap the rubber band slightly lower than the grafted surface. Pull the plastic slightly downwards so no water is trapped around the edge of the plastic wrap.
Place the grafted adenium in bright (not too harsh) sunlight or a cool place. For the first 4-5 days, if the graft is still green, then that's a good sign. After 7-10 days, if the graft takes, you may see some young sprouts shooting out. For some species, it might take up to 4 weeks.
- Use polished, inox knife or razor blade so no adenium sap will stick to it
- Don't place the grafted plant somewhere too dark or too sunny
- Grafting is often easier done in sunny season than rainy season
Some issues growers usually have are:
|The scion doesn't stick onto the rootstock||the 2 surfaces don't touch, connecting tissue cannot form|
|The graft is rotted||excess water, bacterial/fungal infection|
|The graft develops roots||weak rootstock, can't nourish the scion, force scion to grow out own its own|
After the graft has sprouted, loosen the covering plastic bag but keep it on so the graft union doesn't lose moisture.
If the graft doesn't take, it might look a bit dry & brown like this:
If it goes bad, cut down the grafted branch so the infection won't get spread to the whole tree. If it goes well, after 1 month you'll see beautiful young leaves, yay:
And voila enjoy your result:
Your adenium will bloom with the color of the scion specie that you chose. This is very enjoyable. If you want to check out some other graft styles, let's see them next:
This is the V grafting style. You'll cut a letter V on the rootstock, then do the same on the scion. They should fit like a key in a lock. See a master showing V-graft in this video portion (5:45 to 7:22)
>> Link YouTube (you can click on the link below to play the video for more details):Adenium Grafting// Easiest Method.
And the result is:
Another grafting style is called:
3. Super Glue Graft
This grafting style is similar to the flat graft. What's different is that we apply super glue to the graft. Growers try this to increase sticking rate of the rootstock & scion.
Very important to note: Just apply the glue on the outside or surrounding circle of the graft. This acts as an sealant connecting the two parts. We want no glue sticking on the inside so the rootstock can form connecting tissue & transport nutrients up to nourish the grafted scion.
After that, wrap a plastic piece around it to keep it from drying out. Place the grafted plant straight vertically. Laying it horizontally makes it difficult for the little eyes on the side touching the ground to shoot out.
Some people plant the grafted adenium immediately into well-draining soil while others wait until it has sprouted. The advantage of super glue graft is that the joint is neat & sticks well. The disadvantage is that growth is slower than the flat graft.
If you have a few adenium, super glue graft may give better success rates. If you have lots of adenium to graft & need faster growth, then flat graft may be more efficient.
Bonus Tips for Grafting Success
- Dig the rootstock up, wash the roots & let it dry 10 days before grafting
- Re-plant the rootstock when the scion has sprouted (10-14 days)
- Hard sharp knife can cut the surface flatter than a razor blade
- Have you tried cling wrap grafting?
It reduces the need for rubber band & some bags. The new sprouts will poke through the wrap easily. Grafting tape also works well.
Fun tip: If you see sprouted leaves with some red edges, that scion will produce red flowers. If the leaves are paler green with a light shade of white, that means it will likely give white flowers.
A Few Notes About Multi-Color Grafting
One of the challenges of grafting different colored flowers on the same adenium plant is the blooming cycles. Some flower varieties have a longer time-to-bloom period while some others may be shorter. So the grafted plant may not bloom all at once.
Also, the growth rate of different varieties will also be a bit different. Sometimes if one sucks up too much nutrients, it may leave the other grafted branches thinner or slower-growing.
Goodbye Friends, See You Next Time
Please check out a grafted adenium model below. Her name is Anna.
- Hoa Su Giau Mai
- Garden / Lam vuon
- Gardening is my passion
- Hoa Su Thai Kim Thu Binh Duong
- Hoa Su Viet
- Sadec Adenium Club
- Hong Quan Su Canh Binh Duong
- Vuon Su Kim Thu
Responses to Readers' Questions
Why flat grafting?
--> Thanks for your question. Flat grafting is relatively easy and straightforward to do–even for new beginners to get familiar with. It is a commonly used method because the growth is good. Also, when there are lots of plants to graft, doing it this way can save time and allows the gardeners to efficiently finish their work. It also has its limitations compared to other styles. Multiple species can't be grafted on unless the rootstock is big enough. I hope this answers your question!
"Sometimes if one sucks up too much nutrients, it may leave the other grafted branches thinner or slower-growing" Hi! In this case, how to overcome this. Thanks
--> Thanks for your question. I do not have a definitive answer for this now. However, there are a few ideas we could look at and make an experiment. On a desert rose that has fatter and smaller branches, the trick people usually do is prune back the fatter branch. The plant will respond by moving nutrients to nourish the slimmer branches, making the overall branches more even. I guess then, if you ask fellow grafters and know which adenium varieties grow more strongly than others, you could graft the fast-growing variety on a slimmer branch (which may get fattened up over time), and graft the slower-growing variety on a fatter branch (which may get slimmed down over time). It could create a balance theoretically in my mind. Does this make any sense to you? This is only my thought. You could try experiment and messing around with it some more. Hope this gives you some clue to your question! See you again next time.
Can I place several flat grafts on top of each other at the same time and have different coloured branches bloom?
--> Hey hello thanks for your question. I am not sure though whether stacking the flat graft scions on top of each other could result in anything. Do you mean stacking the different grafts on top of each other on the same branch or a few different ones for different branches. If your root stock branch diameter is large enough, you could place several grafts on it. I've seen it done somewhere, not exactly stacking but placing 2-3 grafts around each other (in a circle, triangle or so) on the same root stock branch. I have not followed up on the results. For stacking though, my humble opinion is I would... think about the different bloom times of the different graft scions? And probably the stickiness for them also. Regarding your comment below, I get what you mean by the article mentioning this, I remember vaguely having read about this somewhere. Will try to find it again and let you know. I'll try asking a second opinion on this. But as always, you're free to experiment as you like :) Let us know if you find anything interesting. I hope this helps somehow. See you again next time!
Update: From an experienced grafter that I've asked, yes stacking graft on top of one another is possible.
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