The Grafting Process – what makes Suttons Grafted Aubergine Plants so special?
Grafting process on Suttons Aubergine plants
The Suttons F1 Scorpio Grafted Aubergine Plant is a vigorous plant that will produce glossy black aubergines up to two months earlier than non-grafted varieties. Not only do they start producing fruit earlier, but also for a much longer period giving you a bumper crop of tasty aubergines that are delicious in a huge range of recipes, from the grill to the BBQ.
Over the years the Suttons UK Nursery team has been busy developing our grafting technique to ensure these exceptional plants continue to be the most vigorous and hardy plants that will provide you with plenty of tasty vegetables throughout the summer.
How are plants grafted?
Two plants are grown simultaneously; a tasty fruiting variety and a super-strong rootstock.
The tops of the fruiting variety and the super-strong rootstock are carefully and skilfully removed by hand using a small blade to slice at an angle across each stem.
The rootstock bottom and the top of the fruiting plant are then grafted together using a special clip which drops off naturally as the plant grows.
Where are plants grafted?
The current grafting process for aubergines is below the first ‘seedling’ leaves (cotyledons). However, we are constantly running trials and tests to ensure we are always using the best methods that will give you the best results.
Why graft plants?
Grafting a vigorous rootstock with a tasty fruiting top means that the new super-strong roots can grow deeper into the soil, soaking up all the delicious nutrients to provide you with the tastiest crops. The plant will also produce its fruit much earlier, and for much longer than standard plants giving you an even greater yield!
The benefits of Suttons grafting process:
- Up to 70% more fruit*
- Earlier fruiting
- Longer fruiting
- Greater yield
- Greater resistance to soil-borne pests and disease
- Better for outdoor growing – if located in a warm, sunny, sheltered location
Healthy, vigorous, hardy and producing up to 70% more fruit!
The benefits of growing Suttons Seeds Grafted Aubergine Plants:
- Produces huge crops of large fruit
- Great value; more aubergines per plant
- Has an earlier and longer lasting harvest than regular aubergine plants
- More resistant to soil-borne pests, diseases and nutritional disorders
- If grown in a greenhouse, they require less heat – saving energy and money
Looking after your Suttons Grafted Aubergine Plants
We know how excited you’ll be to get your new Suttons Grafted Plant (or plants!), but please do take a few moments to read the enclosed information to ensure you get the absolute best from your plants.
Nothing tastes quite like fresh vegetables picked straight from your garden and the delicious vegetables produced from Suttons Grafted Plants are sure to wow you, your friends and family, and leave you eager to cook up a storm in the kitchen!
Unlike some, all Suttons grafted plants are grown in our own UK nursery and undergo rigorous inspections by our vegetable experts to ensure you only receive the highest quality plants.
Once you arrive home with your new plant it is important that you give it time to adjust to its new environment. Check the compost is moist and if required leave the plant to soak in approx. 5mm (¼”) water for 5-10 minutes or until the top of the compost is damp.
Stand the plant in a warm, light, airy place such as a windowsill or conservatory and allow to grow, ensuring that the compost is kept moist.
Potting on and planting out your aubergine plants
As the plant grows and develops it will need transferring into a larger pot to ensure the roots have plenty of room to grow. When planting in its new pot or outdoors, ensure that the point at which the graft was made (where there is a ‘bump’ on the stem) is above the compost/soil as otherwise the variety will root itself, spoiling the advantage of growing on a super-strong rootstock.
Once your plant reaches around 40cm (16″) in height, you can transfer it to its final growing place; a greenhouse is recommended however, a nice warm, sunny, sheltered location either in a pot on your patio (pot size as on labels) or directly in your garden will also produce a good crop. Be careful to only leave your plant outside once any danger of frost has passed.
Trimming & training your aubergine plants
As your plant develops the leaves will act as ‘solar panels’, soaking up the daylight and creating lots of sugary loveliness and healthy minerals which will eventually end up in your aubergines. Each leaf should have plenty of room to bask in the sun and should be supported off the ground.
If a leaf is in shade it will produce less plant sugars and stay slightly damp, which means it will be more susceptible to disease and produce less and smaller fruit. As the plants begin to fruit, remove some of the lower leaves to allow the light to reach ripening fruit by simply using some secateurs to remove any low hanging or overcrowding leaves.
Training or Supporting
Once your grafted plant starts to flower you will need to support it.
The best way to do this for aubergines is to use four stout canes placed around the plant. Tie string around the top and middle to encase the plants and provide a secure structure for them to grow in.
Food & Watering
Suttons Grafted Plants, by their nature, are more vigorous than standard plants and as such will require more feeding. We recommend that you feed your grafted plants with a fertiliser that contains high potash levels. You may have to feed your plants twice a week when the plants are fruiting well.
Water is also an essential element to the success of your plants. A 9 litre (2 gallon) watering can full of water for each plant once the sun has gone down each day (if the compost or soil is dry), will ensure you have large juicy fruits that will taste delicious from early summer and into the autumn!
Harvest your aubergines when they are a lovely deep purple in colour and the size you would see in the shops. Simply take some secateurs and cut just above the green stem leaving approx 2.5cm (1″) at the top. For the best flavour, aubergines should be stored at room temperature; however they can also be stored in the refrigerator.
Perfect for cooking up a delicious moussaka or a lamb casserole.
Fascinating aubergine facts!
- They are a great source of fibre, potassium and folic acid
- The skin contains antioxidants, helping the body to fight illness
- Aubergines are actually classed as a berry