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Grafting on Opuntia compressa: how to carry out your own grafts.


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Versione Italiana  

Step by step instructions on how to graft on Opuntia compressa stock. The classical methods.
There is not only one method for grafting, but many. Here I suggest some examples, but you can adapt the techniques to your own needs, and change them according to the season, size of the stock and scion, species etc...

  Choose a healthy young cladode (maximum 1 year old) From a single cladode it is possible to obtain two grafting stock A and B. Pick up a seedling (In the example an Astrophytum cv. superkabuto) Prepare the scion for the graft removing the root with a sharp knife.  
  Put the scion on the top of the stock. Move the scion to expel air bubbles in the union zone. Opuntia juice is very sticky and now the scion does not fall down not even if the stock is inclined Use a rubber band to put the two parts together.  
  Keep the graft in a shaded (or dark) warm room for about a week (or more) before potting... After 10 days the plants are ready to be planted (it does not matter if the Opuntia is a little dried up: this is normal) Let's water ... and then put the plants for some days in a shaded place before to move them among the other cactuses (end of April 2003) and... ....the same plant (August 2003)
first flowers!!!
 Updated August 20 2003
  A two month old graft and .... ...A pic of the same plant after two more months. Astrophytum superkabuto grafted on Opuntia shows that the white flecking is considerably enhanced.




  An alternative way:  One year old prickly pear seedling  
  We can use either 1-2 years old O. compressa seedlings (like in the photo) or a rooted cutting.... Cut the stock at 3-4 cm ... lean the scion on the top.... fix the graft with a rubber band or, like in the example, using a weight  or some other methods you like.  
Update July 10 2003 ...But the stock soon start to produce new shoots... Updated July 10 2003  ...they may be detached easily, simply  turn and push them down..... Updated July 10 2003  ...and now remove the pads, when the scion is still small this operation must be repeated several times...
  How to work with very small shoots or young seedling ( but for small shoot ii is better to use the classical Pereskiopsis vellutina)  
  Take care of  the stocks from failed  grafts, they are a good source to obtain cladodes for further new grafting attempts Use a very young cladode in developing phase... Cut the cladode this way... Collect a small shoot ( in the the example a Sulcorebutia rauschii cv. violacidermis).  
  We can also use  very young seedling of only few days old!! For a  small scion it is not necessary ( and very difficult) to fix it, merely lean it on the stock. For a home made graft you can simply put it for about 10 days in a cupboard or, if you prefer, store it in an environment with an high degree of humidity like a closed box containing some receptacle filled of water. two weeks later the scion starts growing with success, some new spines are produced on the top. Now keep the new graft in a shaded place for a month before placing it among the other plants.  


"English text kindly corrected by John Chippindale"


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