If I asked most gardeners to name some plants that are grafted, that’s where the top growth of one plant is joined to the roots system of another, they’d probably say a lemon tree, or a peach or an apple, not many I’d guess would say a eucalypt. That’s because most times we plant them out it’s from seed grown cuttings. Why graft a eucalypt? And how?

Dr Kate Delaporte is a lead researcher from the Ornamental Eucalypt Development Program at the University of Adelaide and is responsible for breeding gum trees designed for smaller spaces.

Two very successful eucalypts from Kate’s program are:

Nullarbor Lime – a hybrid of two iconic West Australian eucalypts, Eucalyptus macrocarpa and Eucalyptus pyriformis. It combines magnificent large, lime green flowers, grey foliage and upright habit making them more suitable for suburban landscapes. Size 3m x 3m.

Eucalyptus Nullarbor Rose – combines the magnificent large, red flowers, grey foliage and upright habit, which makes them more suitable for suburban landscapes. Size 3m x 3m.

When grafting eucalypts, the slice side-wedge method is used most successfully. You need a rootstock – a small potted sapling grown from seed of a variety that is compatible with the top growth (scion) you want to the tree to become.

The scion should be the same diameter as the root stock. Take the active growing branches and cut out a straight piece with 3 main leaves coming off it. Trim off the leaves.

Using a sharp blade (scalpel ideal), make a long thin wedge at the bottom of the scion piece.

Cut the root stock where there is a long piece of stem. Using the blade, slice down the middle of the remaining cut stem around 2 cm.

Slide the scion wedge into the root stock cut.

Using budding tape or similar, wrap the root stock and scion union, joining and binding them together.
This helps the cambium layers unite and knit. Helping tor great a flow of water and nutrients from root stock to the new top growth.

Water and place in a humid spot – a clear plastic container with a lid is ideal.

Continue to water and monitor. Your new eucalypt should be ready in 4 -5 weeks.


About The Author

In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.