Beginner citrus grafting and air layering, including multi grafting, where can I find more detailed information resources?

Recently I started looking at grafting fun varieties of citrus onto my seed grow rootstock. Pretty soon after, I decided to try air layering my kumquat and citrumelo (generous gifts from another user of this site) and found that the information about air layering feels very surface level. Or at least the most easily found information is. I find myself wondering things like “how much moss do I use? How tightly do I pack it? How tightly should I seal things up? Do I poke holes in the plastic?” Etc.

Likewise, it’s hard to find more in depth resources for grafting. How do I know if plants in the same genus are not compatible? Is there any sort of research/data on which varieties will likely be more vigorous and crowd out the other grafts? If I’m trying to do a multi-graft, where do I place the grafts? On the trunk? On separate branches? Can I air layer a couple branches at the same time that I bud graft elsewhere on the tree?

For example, I want to graft a red lime, a calamondin, and a Kishu Mandarin. I technically have enough plants to graft, but I’d like to do the optimal rootstock as much as possible to give them the best chance until I can air layer more.

Basically is there a good place I can find more in depth information like that? So far the best I can find is just message boards like this where people that know more than me have already answered similar questions.

Edit: oh I forgot, here are some pictures of my plants

Hard to do better than to use the search function here on Growing Fruit, in my opinion.


Citrus often have graft compatibility issues, despite being in the same genus, but if you can’t find the specific cultivar/rootstock combination listed in graft compatibility charts, you’ll just have to try a few to see what works for you. Lemons and kumquats seem to especially have unexpected incompatibilities sometimes.

Have you tried the search feature on here? Because some people have already compiled that information from time to time, such as this:

And as far as air layering, this thread includes a few different people’s techniques with photos:

1 Like

Thanks! Yeah I did read that thread on air layering, I read it but in some ways it made me more confused because I keep reading that you want the medium to be moist but not soaking wet, and in those pictures the medium looks like it’s soaking.

I wasn’t able to find that other thread though I’ll give it a look, thanks! This website (and to a lesser extent, reddit) has been the best source of information for sure. I was just wondering if there was another website or maybe some academic books that would be good resources. I see a lot of books recommended here like Growing a Small Fruit Tree (might have the title wrong) but I’m always on the lookout for more, especially ones with more specific information.

Alright, so I did some attempts at bud grafts, and it looks like ALL of them failed, oops!

I thought it would be good to share what I think my mistakes were here so beginners in the future might learn from them.

  • I used grafting tape, but I used way more than two layers. It seems that just two layers of grafting tape is sufficient.

  • I left the plants outside and the weather was getting down to the 40’s. I should have brought them in and kept the graft side warm (I’ve read some people wrap black tape around it to increase heat absorption) or done it in the spring.

  • I wonder if maybe should have cleaned/disinfected the rootstock’s trunk before starting? I sterilized the grafting knife before each cut, but I wonder if that wasn’t enough.

  • I have no idea if I cut off the buds properly. I’ve had a hard time finding good resources to give specifics about this.

If I learn of any other mistakes I might have made I’ll try to come back and post again or edit.

1 Like

Always kind to share your mistakes! Thank you.

Here’s a link you may find useful:


I typically wrap it so there are multiple layers wrapping areas below and above the bud itself, but only a SINGLE layer actually covering the bud. And by “grafting tape” do you mean that plastic stuff with a consistency similar to saran wrap/cling wrap? Because that stuff does not breathe and is no good. Use only true buddy tape or true parafilm (neither of which is cheap) for best results.

Yes, I don’t think anyone does citrus grafting/budding in fall, outside the tropics at least. Spring and early summer are typical grafting and budding times for citrus in most climates.

Here are some excerpts and diagrams from The Grafter’s Handbook, which is very affordable as an e-book and I recommend for the illustrations alone.

1 Like

Youtube have a lot of video on grafting.

Last year citrus grafting was a challenge and the 1st year that I started grafting. Failed all the T bud. Yeah, they make it seem easy, but you will just have to try it. You will learn a lot faster after failing. I only got I graft to take by using cleft graft.

Early this year, I have limited success using the grafting tool, bark grafting, and doing cleft graft. Late this year, I gone crazy and did a ton of citrus grafting. I use 3 knives as I don’t have a knife that does it all. I use one for slicing, use one for shaving, and last one for sawing. I use tin foil as shade if temp is over 80 degree to protect against the sun. I learned that it’s better to cut the graft longer, to have better cambium coverage using cleft graft. Instead of T budding a little scion, I T bud a whole branch. I don’t see why not. I did a good amount of whip and tongue, even did it with a good size branch. It was a challenge to get it in. I did one bud grafting for the hell of it too. I did a lot of cleft graft as it’s one of the fastest graft to do. I heard veneer grafting is good on citrus and I added that in. I came up with my own grafting for a bigger scion branch that is grafted onto a smaller branch.

The point is, you just have to do it and do it some more. Try different grafting. Get better materials or cutting knife. Even the cheap parafilm will work if you know what you are doing. The cheap PVC parafilm is great for wrapping the scion onto the root stock. It cling together really well. It can be use to wrap the scion too using only 1 layer. If the scion produce branch, then it able to break through. If it’s just leaves, than you will have to unwrap it yourself. Otherwise, use the PFE parafilm as it’s more stretchable and thinner. Both parafilms are cheap. You can use the expensive parafilm too with the combination of the cheap parafilm.

The PVC parafilm is a new term to me. I’m used to hearing about Parafilm and Parafilm M, and then I think of PVC (poly vinyl chloride) as a different crittur altogether. And PFE parafilm is new to me too! Could you clarify for me? Thanks.

PVC - Thermoplastic film. They are referred to vinyl film too.
PEF (not PFE) - Polyethylene film.

They are nothing new. Just some cheap stuff, but still very workable.