En Español

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

QUESTION:

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.)

ANSWER:

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

Separate pups on Manfreda variegata in Tucson
July 20, 2009 - Can you tell me the best way to separate pups on a Manfreda variegata? The first ones we tried were very close to the main plant. Your help is appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Bulbils on Turks cap lily
July 21, 2005 - My Turks cap lily has dark pea size growths at the bass of each leaf. Are these the seeds? How and when do I harvest seeds from this plant?
view the full question and answer

Planting Purple Threeawn (Aristida purpurea) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
October 05, 2007 - Do you have information on planting Purple Threeawn and Little Bluestem? Also are there any inherent problems when planting…things to avoid, etc. Wanting to plant as ornamentals in the North Texas D...
view the full question and answer

Volunteer wax myrtles in Tuscaloosa, AL
August 26, 2009 - I have Wax Myrtles growing in my front yard. I have noticed that some shrubs have sprouted in my back yard that have leaves that are exactly like my wax myrtles. Can Wax Myrtles sprout from seed or h...
view the full question and answer

Propagating a Magnolia tree from a twig cutting in New Hampshire.
November 02, 2011 - I have a twig cutting from a rare magnolia tree I found on a farm in central New Hampshire. The tree seems to be at least one hundred years old. It was in full bloom in late August and I was told by t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center