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Pereskiopsis graft

Grafting cacti to Pereskiopsis spathulata

A member of the Cactaceae family, Pereskiopsis spathulata is used as a grafting stock for slower growing species such as Lophophora, Ariocarpus, Aztekium, Turbinicarpus, Pelecyphora, etc. Also used to accelerate Trichocereus and pretty much any other Cactaceae seedling to maturity.

Our Pereskiopsis spathulata grafting technique

Let the Pereskiopsis pot dry out before grafting; this is so that the scion won’t be forced off by strong vascular pressure. Well watered plants tend to reject many more scions than dry ones. For further reference, the cactus you place on the top is called the scion and the one you are grafting on to is called the stock.

The very tip (1-2cm from top) is considered best for grafting but further down the stem (5-10cm depending on height of stock) can also be used to success. Remove the leaves from 1-5 nodes below the grafting level.

Using a disposable razor blade or a very sharp knife, cut the tip from the Pereskiopsis making sure the cut is level. Slice the seedling scion roughly in half and place the scion onto the central vascular ring of the Pereskiopsis stock (this is the small ring you can see on the freshly cut stem). You want contact between the vascular rings of stock and scion, so make sure that they touch in at least one place. Use a little pressure to ensure no air is left under the scion and contact is good.

A trick I picked up from an article on grafting with Pereskiopsis is to squeeze a drop of liquid from a cut leaf onto the the cut surface just before placing the scion on the stock. This helps create good contact between the two and acts as a glue to keep the scion in place.

Seedlings can be placed on top on the Pereskiopsis with weights such as washers, or without. We have found no need for weight if there is good contact between stock and scion and the new graft is kept in medium/high humidity for 1-2 weeks (the graft can even be misted lightly a few times a day to keep the tip from drying out). We keep our grafts in a modified plastic tub; modify it by drilling a couple of holes in the lid for ventilation and a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage.

Remember to label each individual graft so you can keep track of each ones progress. New growth will usually be visible from anywhere between 1-4 weeks. If the Pereskiopsis grows a new lateral shoot, be sure to break these off as they divert energy away from the scion.

If you wish to propagate more Pereskiopsis for future grafts, pull the lower leaves off the tip cutting and place immediately into soil and water well. This new cutting should root in 2-3 weeks and be ready soon after to graft onto.

A quick note on the glochids of this species. The glochids are dense points of small spines (like on an Opuntia cactus) on the stems which pull away when touched and get lodged in the skin. They can be extremely annoying and painful, so wear gloves or use a rag to handle the cactus when grafting. A trick we use is to pluck off a leaf from the stock and use it to poke the glochids, they become attached to the leaf and can be thrown away.

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