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Plant nomenclature


We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and that is sound advice even when applied in the horticultural world. These beautiful yet unfortunate specimens were stuck with silly, weird, or just plain ugly names, but that doesn’t keep them from making us smile. After all, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right?

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Many of the roses and fruit trees sold from Wayside Gardens are grafted plants. Grafted plants are simply your desired plants grown on top of a hardy rootstock. The top part of the plant, the part that matters, is called the scion. The scion bears all of the fruit, flowers, or foliage that we want.

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Eureka Lemon Tree is just one of Wayside’s wonderful fruit trees!

Grafted plants are beneficial because they serve to increase variety, improve quality, and reduce prices. The extra hardy rootstock ensures survival for plants in zones that would normally be way too cold, allowing you to grow plants which would otherwise be off-limits. When a fruit tree is grafted to a mature rootstock allows fruit production much sooner than if you had to wait for the original roots to mature. You also know exactly what you are getting. Your plant has been cloned and will be exactly what you wanted. Clonal reproduction is also much quicker than growing from seed, making it more cost-effective.

Plants are grafted onto very similar plants, usually the of same genus. Most of Wayside Gardens’ grafted roses are grafted onto ‘Dr. Huey’, a hardy old rose with flat blooms that are deep crimson with a golden center. You will see them often at old home sites where the scions have long died off, and the Dr. Huey rootstock has flourished. The Wayside Gardens fruit trees are often grafted onto strong, wild versions of themselves. For example, there is pear rootstock, which, left to it’s own devices, would grow tangled branches with nasty thorns. Make sure you trim back the growth from your rootstock if you don’t want it to take over. Sometimes, in a case where the delicate scion cannot take the extremes and dies back, the rootstock may take over completely. Make sure you pamper your young grafted plant until it gets established.

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