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Canadian Streaker Babies

  • Subject: [iris-photos] Canadian Streaker Babies
  • From: "David Ferguson" manzano57@msn.com
  • Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 08:39:05 -0700
  • Seal-send-time: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 08:39:06 -0700

Hi Chuck,
I seem to have had a lag time in receiving emails right before Christmas, so now realize most of what I suggested was redundant.  Even so, I hope it helps.
Hopefully this one isn't a repeat of other's posts too.  So, at the risk of being a potential copy-cat - -
The same principals apply for soft grafting as for any other type of grafting.  You need clean fresh cuts that fit together tightly, and you have to keep them together and the cut surfaces from drying until they mesh together properly.  It is best to have direct contact between vascular tissue of both the graft and the stock - they don't have to match up exactly.  [Not sure how important vascular contact even is with a fleshy rhizome?] 
I would guess that you could cut a wedge at the root end of the seedling and insert it tightly into a matching or slightly deeper hole in the mature tuber, sort of like plugging a watermelon, and that it might work.  However, I would assume that to find a similar sized bud or baby-sized rhizome on the side of the tuber, cut it off and match the seedling to the resulting cut, would give a better chance of lining up matching tissues.  The problem with this might be holding it in place till the graft takes.  A flat cut would be the most difficult to hold in place, matched wedge cuts, V's, etc. might help.  I would guess that the larger the seedlings, the easier, but I would also guess that the older the seedlings get the weaker they will be, and perhaps less likely to survive the process.  With actively growing tissue, it shouldn't take more than a few days for the graft to be complete.
It is often best if the stock is closely related to the seedling, but one cultivar might work better than another, even if they are siblings.  However, I would think anything in the subgenus Iris would be close enough for grafting to any other.  It is even possible that anything in the Iridaceae would work (maybe even in other related families), opening up some interesting possibilities.  I would pick a strong, fast, healthy-growing plant as a host.
Just for comparison, any Cactus can usually be grafted with any other (there are exceptions), but more interestingly, they can also often be grafted with Portulacaceae, Didieriaceae, Aizoaceae, and probably other related families.  So, I can't help wondering about the possibilities for Iris grafting.  Just think if you could graft one on top of a Dracaena or Cordyline - the possibilities for propagation would open up quite a lot, and you could end up with some pretty interesting novelties too.
Normally when grafting, you would cut off any new growth on the host and let the roots support the graft, but in this case you need the chlorophyll from the host.  Even so, you may have to limit the increase of the green host, so that it doesn't overwhelm the graft.
You've probably seen those grafted Cacti where the plant on top is brightly colored but with no green, and is grafted onto a green stem?  (Lots of people mistake them for some freaky sort of flowers).  This is the same principal, but you don't have the benefit of any bearded Iris that has a photosynthetic perennial stem.  Unless, perhaps, you can get a rhizome exposed to light to produce enough chlorophyll to do the job of the leaves?
All is guesses here, but logically it shouldn't be too difficult.
By the way, with stem succulents. a stretched nylon hose is a good tool for holding it all together, not sure how that might work for an Iris graft (might have to cut the leaves back?). 
Hope you get some to survive!  The results could be very interesting.

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