Grafting Juniper Bonsai

In some cases, one would like to adjust the foliage on a juniper. The original foliage of the species might be very loose, or prone to diseases. In that case, grafting better suited foliage might be an option. Naturally, it is also a route to get branches at places where there are none.

Grafting in a process in which you take a part of one plant, and combine it with another. This works only when combining plants of very closely related species. In general, most junipers can be grafted on other junipers for instance. But not on pines.

The process works by allowing the cambium layers of the donor and recipient plant connect to each other, and over time create shared wood and bark.


For grafting, you need a few basic tools:

  • Grafting tape
  • A sharp knife
  • A pair of scissors
  • Some wires
  • A donor plant
  • A recipient plant.

Grafting steps

  • First of all, you need to pre-stretch the grafting tape. Doing this will ensure that the tape can attach itself to itself
  • Then you clip a branch from the donor plant. Ideally, this is a branch that has turned woody. Reduce the foliage to the size of a cutting
  • Wrap the donor scion with grafting tape, making sure the woody part of the scion is left free. Each wrap of grafting tape needs to overlap with the previous.
  • Select the location where you would like to graft. With older trees, make sure you find a location with a strong sapflow
  • With the knife, cut a sliver of bark & wood of about 1cm long on 1 side of the donor scion. On the other side, cut a tapered end of about 1/3 cm
  • In the receiving plant, make a deep, slanting cut into the receiving branch of at least a cm long
  • Slide the donor in the slit, with the donor on the side of the cut so that the cambium layers are as near to eachother as possible. The long slit comes against the recipient branch
  • Wrap the connection with grafting taper, securing the scion in the cut


In order to give the graft the best change of success, you need to keep the grafts out of hot sun, wind and frost. For the first months there is barely any sap exchange between scion and recipient plant. As such, there is a real risk of drying out. And the callus formed during the healing, is for the first year or so weak, and easily breaks after which the graft with die.

Watch the whole process in the video!

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