If you’re not familiar with the process of grafting and what it does, here’s a brief explanation.
Grafting is where two plants are manually joined so that they grow as one plant for the purpose of attaining a desirable characteristic.
During the process, two plants are grafted together whilst at the young plant stage. The base plant is known as the ‘rootstock’ and will be a strong established variety, with the very best vigour, while the top plant can be anything! The secret to success is that strong foundation.
The top fruiting variety is joined with the rootstock using a careful and precise method, each plant is sliced at an angle, and then both are slotted against each other, and fixed with a tiny peg. Once connected, the plants grow happily as one, as they are compatible! I’ve even tried it myself at home once with sellotape. It kinda worked, but I’d rather leave it to the experts!
This process of grafting is nothing new. Grafting has supposedly been around since 300 B.C. However, the process has since then been refined, and used on a wider range of plants.
|Beekenkamp have recently started offering an extensive range of grafted and non-grafted vegetable plants – that means better variety and better homegrown veggies for you!|
Benefits of grafted vegetables
Do grafted vegetable plants provide better harvests? Absolutely.
The rootstocks are chosen carefully in order to ensure any plant mounted onto the base will give the following attributes:
- More fruiting trusses
- Earlier fruiting
- Longer fruiting period
- Greater yields
- Better pest and disease resistance – this is particularly helpful when you lack space and need to grow vegetables in the same spot each year
- Improved outdoor performance
Try growing a grafted plant and a non-grafted plant of the same species to discover the benefits of grafting for yourself! That’s exactly what I’ve been doing with my trials work over the years!
What kind of vegetables can be grafted?
There are many different vegetable plants that can be grafted to improve harvest.
You might also recognise the phrase grafting when it comes to these other popular garden plants:
This was my best horticultural moment, bringing back a forgotten technique, where tomatoes and potatoes are grafted together! A quick Google will tell you all you need to know, but they’re in the same family so can be done, and you get ketchup and fries as the result….
Why not try that one yourself at home?? As plants ate quite scarce in the marketplace these days!
Most fruits bought in the shop are also from grafted plants; in particular you may want a dwarf apple tree for a smaller garden, and so a larger variety with tasty fruits might be grafted onto a “dwarf rootstock“, which means the plants only ever grow dwarf, just like what the rootstock is telling them to do.
Oranges are sometimes grafted onto a lemon rootstock too!
The same is done with roses, which are one of the most commonly grafted plants. Many rose bushes on the market are grafted, and this is done because the top variety of rose is not as hardy or disease tolerant as the rootstock that it is grafted on to.
By grafting the two types together, the final product would be a strong, hardy rose that may produce more blooms and/or have better resistance to disease. Sometimes, grafting can take place to achieve a rose bush with more than one colour too.
You can still find ‘own root’ roses on the market. These are roses that are not grafted; they’re grown from their own roots. These may be a little less hardy and more disease prone until they have become established though.
How to care for grafted vegetable plants
All of the hard work of grafting has been done for you – and your growth on grafted veg plants will seem like turbo charged! So, all you need to do is care for the plants!
The type of care required will depend on the type of plant, but there should be no extra or alternative care needed for grafted plants.
Where to buy grafted vegetable plants
Keep your eyes open in your local garden centre or online for a range of grafted vegetables, in particular the Alfresco range from the team at Beekenkamp.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.