Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Post 156 Gardenia grafts

Some time last year we were doing a bit of a garden makeover and removed some 10 year old gardenias. I can't recall the variety but it was one with quite large leaves. They had formed quite nice little stumps with multiple trunks/branches. I pulled them out of the ground and put them in poly boxes to see if they would live. After all that time in the ground there were virtually no fine roots recovered and I wasn't hopeful. It took many months before there was any sign of life but 6 out of 7 have returned to the land of the living.
In the mean time I turned my mind to what to do with them if and when they recovered. The best thought was to graft on Gardenia radicans, the small leafed prostrate species. But would it work?
I have a few radicans growing in the garden and they readily air layer as the cover the ground, so pulling up a couple for a trial was no problem. The smallest of the removed gardenias wasn't much more than a stick and it came to life pretty quickly so it was going to be the test bed for the graft.

The graft was just a simple approach graft, from the potted radicans layer.

 The graft has taken quite successfully and I've taken off the grafting tape and separated the donor plant. I've applied a cable tie as the joint is still weak. The tie will be removed once vigorous growth is re-established in the spring.

 Here's a close-up view. I could have done a deeper graft but thought a simple surface contact would be adequate for the test. On the larger stumps I will certainly imbed the scions into the host material.

 Here's another one that I did a bit later and haven't yet separated.

 These are two of the bigger stumps.

And the last two. I've got a few radicans in pots with extended stems so am ready for the spring to work on these when they are ready. I'd like to develop primary branches on the stumps before doing the grafts as this will give me the basic structure more quickly.

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