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Daphne Grafting Workshop

by Mary Ellen Asmundson





Rick’s  grafting tools and supplies included:  stock plants (one to two year old plants with a single stem), wood cutting board, sharp shears or knife, grafting bands (or wide rubber bands), very sharp knife or grafting knife (sharpened for every project), and scion.   He also prepared a small pot (4-6 inches) containing dampened potting soil.  Rick said he didn’t usually sterilize the pot for successful grafting.



  • Step 1:  Rick planted one root stock plant in the prepared pot.  Using shears, he cut the top off the root stock leaving 1 ½-2 inches of the stem.

  • Step 2:  He made a small V cut about ¼ inch deep in the center of the root stock stem.

  • Step 3:  He tied a band around the stem below the cut.

  • Step 4:  Rick chose the daphne he wanted to use for the scion from his garden, selecting ripened/hardened stems about the same diameter as the stock plant.  He used shears to cut the scion 2 - 4 inches long with some leaves remaining.  He then cut the end of the scion stem about ¼ inch on each side at angles to match the cut made in the root stock.   (The sharper the grafting knife, the easier it is to make the cut, according to Rick).

  • Step 5:  He inserted the scion into the V cut making sure to match the cambium tissues with the root stock cambium.

  • Step 6:  He moved the band tied around the root stock stem up to hold the scion in place until the graft takes (about 2-3 weeks).  The band will rot and fall off naturally.

  • Step 7:  Rick made a little hoop house out of a plastic bag.  Rick told us the potting soil should have some moisture but not be too wet or it will rot.  Any leaves that die and fall off the scion should be removed so that fungus doesn’t develop.  The root stock will provide enough water and nutrients for the graft.

  • Step 8:  He placed the pot out of direct sun.  Rick doesn’t use bottom heat on the cuttings.

  • Step 9:  Rick told the group that he will check the pot in about three weeks and remove the plastic bag.  He will be able to tell visually that some of the plant cells have taken.


After the demonstration, several people tried grafting with one-on-one help from Rick, and took home completed projects.  Eventually, they should have a new daphne for their own gardens.

At a NARGS Workshop held at Mt Tahoma Nursery in July, Rick Lupp showed interested NARGS members how he grafts daphnes.  Rick has had years of success with hundreds of grafts using his methods.  He assured everyone that the simple techniques he was demonstrating would apply to other woody plants. 


The reason for grafting is to propagate plants that may not root well from cuttings, may grow too slowly from cuttings or may be hardier in the garden when grown on a hardy root stock


A preliminary step in the process is to grow the root stock plants, typically Daphne mezereum, or other daphnes that produce a lot of seed.  (Seed grown stock is more likely to be free of viruses than stock grown from cuttings.)  Rick explained that the best time of year for grafting is June or fall but that daphnes can also grafted in July.



Rick Lupp is demonstrating how to graft daphnes.

Photo by by Mary Ellen Asmundson

Now it's our members' turn to show they've been paying attention. 

Photo by Mary Ellen Asmundson.

NWNARGS members listen intently to the demonstration.

Photo by Mary Ellen Asmundson

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