HOW TO GRAFT
If you have a favourite camellia and you’d like more either for your garden or as a gift but the variety is no longer in nurseries, you can reproduce it with this simple trick, known as ‘approach grafting’.
It’s best done in winter.
Gather your supplies
•Potted rootstock (or understock) and camellia in garden
•Clean budding knife
STEP 1 Place potted rootstock next to your favourite camellia (mother plant).
STEP 2 Remove any buds and side shoots from the rootstock with secateurs so the plant’s energy goes into growth rather than flower formation.
STEP 3 Remove a sliver of wood about 2-3cm long with the budding knife from a stem close to the top of the bush of both the mother plant and the rootstock so the plants’ cambiums are exposed.
STEP 4 ‘Approach’ the stems to each other so the cuts meet.
STEP 5 Use budding tape to wrap the 2 stems together firmly.
STEP 6 By spring, the union will have formed. Cut mother plant from rootstock with secateurs close to union, remove tape and watch your favourite camellia begin a new life.
A Family gathering in Sydney’s Camellia Grove nursery after the successful grafting of a ‘mother’ camellia onto rootstock using the ‘approach’ method.
versatile and extremely hardy, camellias can be pruned to accommodate your garden’s needs and your desires. They can be trimmed to make a tall statement in a tight corner in your garden, without losing their ability to flower, although they will need to be staked.