How To Graft Peyote

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How To Graft Peyote

While peyote is fairly easy to grow, it takes many years until they reach a point of maturity. Grafting can greatly speed up growth - tripling or even quadrupling it.

Peyote looks back on a long history of shamanic use. It is the most sought after mescaline cactus of North America, and for many native tribes peyote is the most important sacrament. Due to its popularity and declining natural numbers, much peyote is coming from cultivations nowadays. Growing peyote is easy, but it takes patience until they become large. One way to overcome this is by grafting the slow growing peyote onto faster growing cacti. When successfully done, this method will greatly boost the growth rate of the peyote cactus.

Before undertaking surgical procedures on your cacti, it is important to note that increasing the growth rate through grafting does not necessarily lead to increased alkaloid production. While the grafted peyote continues to produce alkaloids, there is limited evidence that the rate of production increases compared to rooted specimen. Water stress, time and maturity seem to influence the alkaloid production significantly, but the jury is still out on grafting.

Experiments have shown that the older the stock cactus is (the cactus the peyote is being grafted onto), the faster the peyote will develop. Grafting can result in some large peyote in a comparably short amount of time.

The following is a guide as to how to graft a peyote cactus onto a Peruvian torch cactus, also known as a Trichocereus peruvianus. But the same technique will also work for San Pedro and other cacti. Recently it was discovered that peyote can be grafted onto Pereskiopsis stock with excellent results.

The process

Trichocereus cactus (the older the better)
Methylated spirits
A clean razor blade or sharp knife
Rubber bands

1. Dip you blade into the methylated spirits to sterilise it. (This must be done before every cut).

2. In one clean cut, remove the top few centimetres off the Trichocereus.

3. Bevel the top of each rib on the Trichocereus. This will stop the graft from being pulled apart as the cut dries.

4. Now the top of the stock plant must be cut off again; but this time, only cut off a very thin slice, and leave it in place so that the top does not begin to dry out. This thin slice will be taken off just before the graft is actually made.

5. Repeat the above process with the peyote, but cut off the bottom part, making the initial cut slightly above the roots.

6. Before the graft, locate the vascular bundle on both the stock cactus and the peyote. It looks like a circle within the central area of the cut. This circle is how food is transported in both plants, and when it comes to the graft, they must overlap.

Note: it is not vital to line them up perfectly, they only need to be in contact and overlap each other in one area.

7. Now remove the thin protective sliver you cut from both the stock Trichocereus and the peyote.

8. Gently press the peyote onto the top of the Trichocereus to remove any air. During this process it is important to keep in mind where the vascular bundles are.

9. Line up the vascular bundles. If you fail to do this, the peyote will die as it will not be able to feed from the Trichocereus.

10. Wrap rubber bands vertically around the pot of the Trichocereus and over the peyote to maintain pressure. This may take a bit of practice. Alternatively, a piece of leather with attached weights can be placed on top, as to press down the peyote.

11. Place the grafting in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight.

12. Leave it for a week. You can now remove the rubber bands or weights, as the peyote should have successfully grafted onto the Trichocereus.

There you have it! You have now successfully grafted your peyote onto a faster growing cactus. You should be able to literally watch the peyote balloon up, depending on the stock cactus.