Parafilm substitute?

Trying to get my last two apple grafts in (very late but better than never!) and have misplaced my parafilm. I hate to order more and wait. I’m doing cleft grafts. I have toilet ring wax but I have been using the parafilm to wrap the scion and to cover the split area before putting on wax so that the wax wouldn’t get in the healing area. I wondered if I could use grocery store plastic bags to cover the cleft, then wax it, and could I put a thin layer of wax on the scion itself in lieu of parafilm? If not I guess I will order some. . . .

Yes to all. A good heavy plastic bag (bread bags, for example) cut into strips works well. And the Johnny wax is fine. BUT the plastic may not pull the graft tight enough unless you’re better at cutting than I am. That is not unlikely -I’m not that good at it. Temflex works quite well and can be picked up at any hardware for a couple of bucks. Some people like to use electrician’s tape, and some wrap electrician’s tape sticky-side out, I think. Paper masking tape worked for me, but remained ugly for years. And lots of places sell a non-adhesive green poly tape that works and would be useful for other things.

Hope that helps,


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I stopped using parafilm this year and instead after wrapping the graft with
vinyl tape, I place a plastic bag over the entire graft and secure it to the
host site. Then I place a paper bag over the whole thing and secure it also.
I use no pruning sealer at all, and this has been my most productive
grafting year.


Ive had luck using good quality electrical tape, the kind that stretches well. Usually Ill wrap the first wrap around the wound area backward so the sticky is facing out, then wrap the rest normally. Also you can take stretchy plastic wrap, for food and cut an inch or two off the end and that works well for wrapping grafts, not as well as parafilm, but it works… Easiest way to cut the plastic wrap is with a sharp bread knife from my experience, goes through the cardboard a little easier than a regular knife.


This may be a bit out there, but old grafting books and even some modern British sources will recommend raffia ribbon. Raffia is made out off some kind of Palm leaf. It’s strong but it has a bit of give to it. You can find it at Hobby Lobby or any type of larger craft store. After wrapping, cover with wax. I believe since it’s made of natural material it will biodegrade eventually, hopefully not girdling the graft if you forget to take it off.

Thanks for the tip Ray. I can see why this works well although I have never tried this procedure before. When do you remove the plastic bag?

I don’t think I am anywhere near being “good” at cutting but the remaining grafts I have to do are on the larger side (about 2 inches diameter) and my main problem with them has been getting the cleft open enough to get the scion in – once I do it is held pretty tight!

Thank you, everyone. I think I will just take the plunge and use the materials I have at hand rather than wait on getting new parafilm. It has taken me a lot longer to do the grafts than I ever thought it would, but that’s cause I’m a newbie, and “free” time to do them has been scarce with two toddlers and another baby due in a month! :grin:



I’m thinking that it may be better to attempt a bark or rind graft on a 2" thick rootstock. Instead of putting a wedge in that 2" thickness, just make a cut in the bark, loose the bark from the wood and slip the scion into that pocket. There are lots of descriptions found here about that method.

Usually 3-4 weeks. I remove the paper bag first to check on the graft,
and usually the graft has already started to leaf out. I keep the plastic
bag on as long as possible, in order to keep the birds off the graft. I lost
two grafts from birds perching on them.