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How grafted plants are created

Two plants are better than one

The impressive selection of vegetable varieties available today is down to thousands of years of plant breeding dedication. Mankind’s efforts to diversify and improve taste, texture, appearance, size, yield and reliability has been phenomenally successful. But one problem still remains – the ability to combine these different attributes in individual varieties.

Through the ages, breeders have had to choose between edible appeal and plant growing ease.  As a result, the vegetable varieties which are easiest to grow often aren’t the ones with the best taste. While those with the most flavour or the best looks are often the ones which are weaker and more prone to disease.

However, grafting solves this problem.

Grafting joins two different plant varieties together so the weaknesses of one variety are counteracted by the strengths of another. The above-ground part of the variety you want to eat grows on the roots of the other. As a result, even the weakest varieties are infused with extra strength which makes them grow more reliably and produce more, better quality fruit.

Thanks to grafting, you can successfully grow your favourite varieties of tomatoes, peppers or aubergines no matter how challenging they may normally be.

5000 years of history

It may sound like a modern invention, but grafting has actually been practiced for over 5000 years. It is referred to in both Old and New Testaments of The Bible and also by the Greek philosophers Aristotle (BC 384-322) and Theophratus (BC 371-287).

The grafting point

You can check that a plant is grafted by looking for the grafting point. This is where the two plants are joined together and you should be able to see it just above the soil level. When grafted vegetable plants are sold there may be a clip or tape holding the graft in place. This helps strengthen the graft while the plants are very young. Don't remove this clip. It will naturally fall away as the plant grows and the stem thickens.

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