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Grafting Crested Cacti

All about grafting. How-to information, progress reports, show of your results.

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Grafting Crested Cacti

Postby Loph » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:55 pm

i just wrote this up for a guy and thought it may be useful here. let me know if you have any suggestions :)



In this pictorial i am using Myrtillocactus geometrizans (a favorite of mine) as the root stock and Trichocereus huascha f. cristate as the scion.

Whenever you are cutting your cactus, be sure to clean your blade. we use 95% Ethanol alcohol on a tissue to wipe the blade. allow a few seconds for the alcohol to evaporate.....and be safe with alcohol blah blah blah.
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1) Take your crested cactus out of the pot and clear away most of its substrate. Put it aside so that its ready to cut later on.

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2) Take your root stock and cut it where it is actuvely growing (this eyars growth). You do not want old growth because the vascular ring will be "woody" and not as easy to heal with a scion...thus very slow scion growth! So cut the top off where it is actively growing.

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3) Bevel the ribs. When teh cactus is healing/drying the inner flesh is basically an open wound...so will dehydrate lots. the skin, which is well adapted to stay resilliant in dark times will not shrink and become a hard stiff "wall". So teh inner flesh shrinks, adn teh out skin doesn't...this is going to make the scion and the stock separate. So cut done the ribs. This also prevent sthe stock from sending out offests as many cacti will pup from the top (myrtles for example). If using T. pachanoi, for example, it will likely pup from the bottom but you should still bevel the ribs)

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4) Now all the ribs are cut down on an angle. Cut a thin slice, a few mm thick, off the top and leave it on the top. This is done because when you are busy cutting the crested scion, the rootstock will begin to dry...that is bad. This way, when you are done mucking around with the scion and it is ready, you can simply, and quickly, pop off the top and it is fresh juicy flesh waiting to be grafted.

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5) Now its time to move over to your scion. Crested cacti can be grafted like anything else....but the idea with most people is to get a "fan" appearance.

start by cutting your crest chunk that is to be grafted.

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here is what the side section looks like. see the the vascular tissue going from the roots to the skin? just like regular cacti, but when you see a cross section it follows the crest shape rather than a circle like in regular forms....almost Opuntia like.

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6) Now cut your scion chunk into a V shap, the top out skin bing the wider part and down by the roots being narrow.

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7) Procede by cutting the V's bottom (roots) off flat. This should look like this: \__/

This is done to give you that nice fan shape. Will explain later.

Notice the vascular tissue in here...notice it is following the crest, as in going legnthwise the way the cactus is growing. that is what you need to connect with the vascualr RING on your root stock plant, its actually quite easy as you are lining up 2 lines on a circle, unlike 2 "normal" cacti you have to line up 2 circles...

It will also help to cut the edge of the skin along the botton of the scion...just like the bevel on the stock. i didn't here and often dont....but it helps if you remember!

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8) now that its all cut take that slice off your root stock and place the scion on top of it. Like so.

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9) Press down a little bit to make sure it connects ok.

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10) Place some clean tissue on top.

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11) using vinyl or eletrical tape (this is good cause it is stretchy...dont use masking tape, packing tape etc its not as good and goes loose....your want it to stay tight) tape over the scion and stick the tape to the cactus. not the pot, the cactus...this keeps it MUCH more secure. if it is taped to the sides of the pot the cactus stock can easily shake when the pot is moved, which rubs/jolts the scion...not good. i learned my lesson...tape it to the stock.

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12) tape around the tape on the stock. this eeps the tape from unsticking....a loose tape job is a pointless tape job.

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13) all done.

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14) After abotu 1 week, carefully remove teh tape and keep in a somehwat humid environment. low light is ok. i keep them on my coffee table for another week after the tape is off then place them by a window for another week. after that, if the cuts are well healed, they go outside in partial sun, then to full sun :)


here it is finished about 3 weeks after and out in the sunshine :)



Ok now for the reason we cut the scion into a \__/ shape.

Crested cacti grow out from their "crack" . they will grow sideways, not up. so when you cut your crest like this \__/ when they start to grow they will grow out liek this *\__/* and gro outwards from teh sides eventually growing downwards and "pinching" the stock. this gives a very nice fan shape is is usually more desireable.

examples of fan shapes:
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Postby CoronaCactus » Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:13 pm

Awesome!
I have been wondering about crested grafts.
Thanks for posting this up Loph!

I have 1 question.
How do the vascular lines/rings line up? Offset like a regular cactus graft? or do the crested vascular lines BOTH cross through the stock's ring? (ie, can it be centered on the stock? looks like it can, but wanted to be sure)

Any chance you could make one of those little good/bad drawings? :D please
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Postby Loph » Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:55 am

the stocks ring is a ring, or big circle. The crest will be liek 2 lines, usually...depends on the crest some are more wavy than others. is if you center it i would think the line would cross the circle :)

stocks vasc. tissue shape: O
crest scion tissue shape: =
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Postby CoronaCactus » Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:12 am

Thanks, but just so i'm sure...I understand you as B would be correct?

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Postby Sankhara » Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:17 pm

Hi Loph,

I'm shure you're an artist with grafting =)!

I will try myself this kind of graft. Thank you for posting.
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Postby Loph » Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:12 pm

Thanks :) give it a go :)

Corona, A and B will both work. B is better, more contact...but A still touches. as long as any part of the scions vascular tissue conencts with any part of the stocks, it will work. of course, the more that connects the better!
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Postby CoronaCactus » Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:39 am

Gotcha, thanks 8)
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Postby cactusbutt » Thu May 01, 2008 6:42 pm

Nice job Loph,its almost like you've been peeking in my window :lol:
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Postby Lewis_cacti » Fri May 02, 2008 7:47 am

Another great tutorial from the Grafting Master :)
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Postby Loph » Wed May 14, 2008 1:11 pm

I'm no grafting master...not even sure if i am good at it....if you knew how many cacti i have killed learning how to graft...you would cry!

i just killed 5 variegated L. williamsii grafts this week by putting them in the sun too early :shock:

but lets not post any pictures of our failures now.... :oops: lets just say i have a lot of "mother plants" i use to take cuttings from for future grafts lol.

i will post an updated computer when i finish work, it is growing very very fast now!
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Postby Loph » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:19 pm

i think i drink too much when i graft.....i read through my posts and holy cow man, looks like a 2 year typed everything i post lol!!!

Sorry for the previous, the present and all the future typos i have made, am making and will make! For the Americans reading, i use British English, to the Brits, i use yanky English...to those who are versed in both, I am Canadian :?


anyway i wanted to comment on something i have found with grafting crests.

i have now noticed that when complete contact is not made many crests have this tendency to have "hollow" joins... They will often heal well/normal in a given part and be separate in another. They will often grow fine, and nothing seems abnormal.

The PROBLEM with this is that cavities hold water and holding water is a good formula for rot (sometimes)....anyone who grows cacti with many heads may also notice this when watered from above (racks stay wet longer, which *may* lead to problems).

Along with water and rot, bugs can get in there...and being moist some little nasty *&^$ers can find home! Last year i had this happen with a A. asterias hanazono crest. I grafted it and it healed ok but with this "hollow center". i figured instead of regrafting it ill let it grow out and use it as a mother plant. so 6 months after grafted rainy season comes in...all looks fine. one day i see a brown hole and the skin is looking yellow....so i play. turns out THE ENTIRE INSIDE is *MUSH* and crawling with worms. i later found a couple flies and eggs in other hollow cavities as well, which is obviously ***BAD***.

so, this is bad, i think anyway.

to avoid this is fairly simple. beveling the stock and scion helps join them together...especially with harder skinned species (like asterias). Using 2 pieces of tape making a cross over the cactus helps put pressure on all sides. crests tend to bend a certain direction more than a different direction, so sometimes when you tape as you would a normal scion, it actually raises in another spot.

also allowing a little longer period of acclimatizing is good, make sure its good and healed before putting in the sunshine :)

hope that helps! and relatively typo-less! except capitals...i despise capital letters! at least typing them.

ill post some pics later on of this, as i am sure most of my ramblings dont make much sense to most :roll:


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Postby ihc6480 » Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:39 am

Makes sense to me :wink: I've been thinking of trying my hand at grafting. I have a damaged LW that I'm thinking of grafting onto some O' fragilis stock.
Sound doable :?:
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Postby Loph » Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:58 am

sounds cool to me. get some pics up of it! i got some fragilis, but they dont seem to grow fast here.
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Postby Ken1983 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:09 am

I wish i have a bigger stock.

Don't mind if i add mine. Its a crested Astrophytum seedling on a Hylocereus stock.

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I'm sure its attached but no growth so far. In fact all grafts i did on Hylocereus don't grow :roll:
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Postby Loph » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:51 pm

looks good, hylocereus is a great stock! if they are not growing, be sure to cut off all branches asap, they really take away from the scion, especially in hylo stocks.
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