En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 18, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Grafting edible plums onto Cherry Laurel in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Grafting edible plums onto Cherry Laurel - possible? Insane? What? Could I do that? Could I graft, say, Green Gage Plum, or Mexican Plum, or Saturn Peach, on a Cherry Laurel and have any success? I have a Cherry Laurel in the yard which has failed to die in various droughts (we live on top of a hill.) I do not want to waste all those good roots which probably go, if not to China, at least to the aquifer. The Cherry Laurel is ugly but healthy and I'd like some edible stuff there. I am not a good grafter but I think if I get enough scion wood and try hard I should succeed with some of the grafts. (I would like any help I could get by the way . . . .) Lots of other people have Cherry Laurels and would probably like to grow something nicer, so this would be a useful experiment. I know that the fruit of the Cherry Laurel, uninteresting and seedy as it is, is not poisonous so one should be able to eat what grows on it. If anyone with you knows about this question, has scion wood, or can graft I'd like some help here. If this is the wrong time to graft I'll wait until fall (which is most likely the best time to graft.)


First, while we're thinking about it, any member of the genus Prunus, including Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry), has toxic parts. The seeds, twigs, and leaves of all Prunus species contain hydrocyanic acid and should never be eaten. Leaves of Prunus caroliniana are particularly high in this toxin. The skin and flesh of the fruit can be eaten, but if you have small children or pets that chew on things, this is not a safe genus to have in your yard. 

Beyond that, we really don't know much about grafting, because any sort of grafting or hybridization or crossing of species renders the result non-native, and we are all about plants native to North America and to the area in which the plants are being grown. However, we can Google for some articles that will offer some technical advice and also address the possibilities of grafting the species you have mentioned.

Aggie Horticulture Texas Inlay Bark Graft 

University of Minnesota Extension Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees

Home Orchard Society Building a Tree, The Grafting Skill


More Propagation Questions

Gardening book for beginner gardener
December 06, 2008 - What is a good gardening book for a beginner gardener who lives in Round Rock. Would like info for both vegetables and plants for landscaping. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bluebonnets in late Fall from Georgetown TX
November 08, 2013 - Transplanting bluebonnets in October? Neighbor wants to share abundance of rosettes and good size plants- any suggestions or warnings? Will freeze/frost protection be needed if we get December freeze...
view the full question and answer

Scarifying seeds of evergreen sumacs from Lockhart TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, We would like to grow our own evergreen sumacs. Consulting Nokes book, How to Grow Native Plants on page 310, it says to scarify fresh uncleaned seeds for 30-45 minutes. On page...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Source for seeds of New Mexico locust from Abilene TX
October 23, 2012 - Is there a place to buy Robinia neomexicana native to Texas or order seed from Texas grown plants?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center