Grafting Wax Alternative: 4 Top Amazing Alternatives!

Being a gardening enthusiast, you are familiar with grafting. To perform this job you must need wax. Sometimes you can go through the unavailability of a grafting wax. That situation demands alternatives.

That’s why you’re wondering about a grafting wax alternative

You can use parafilm and rubber strips as effective alternatives for grafting wax. Also, people use modeling clay for grafting the tree’s edges. It’s very easy to use and affordable. Moreover, cold wax, hot wax, and tape are great options for grafting if you don’t want to use grafting wax.   

Let’s proceed forward to know the details of each alternative. The article conveys the advantages, and disadvantages and the process of using those alternatives. 

What Is Traditional Grafting Wax Used for?

What Is Traditional Grafting Wax
Source: shutterstock

A grafting wax seals the edges of the grafted plant at its cut edge. Keeping the graft cuts moist is the job of this wax. It is a convenient and easy way to seal tree wounds and prevent moisture loss when grafting and testing trees.

It also serves as a balm that helps recover from pruning wounds. If a tree gets harmed by storm winds and animals, you can use grafting wax.  

Also, grafting wax is used after scion wood is cut from one-year-old trees. In vineyards, tree nurseries, and orchards, grafting wax is used extensively. 

What Is Grafting Wax Made of?

The grafting wax is made of rosin, beeswax, tallow, paraffin, and vegetable oil. This product is greatly available in the market. 

Grafting Wax Alternative: A Quick Overview

Sometimes, you may not have grafting wax handy. That time you need to use something else which performs as an alternative. 

Let’s get to know some of the more common alternatives included here. First, we’ll look at them in a quick manner. 

Alternative  Pros  Cons 
Modeling Clay  Flexible in every weather Leaves stain mark
Parafilm  Heals grafted area Reduces ventilation
Rubber strip  Provides tight seal Difficult to remove
Cold wax  Extra heat is not necessary Prone to crack and break

Modeling Clay:

One of the most commonly used alternatives for sealing and protecting grafts is toy or modeling clays. It can also be molded around the healing graft union to protect it. It is breathable and stays in place.

How to Use:

First you need to turn the clay into a sealing compound. Knead the clay with a small amount of mineral or baby oil to soften it. Turn it into a paste-like mixture for easy application.

Cover the tips of every piece of scion wood with the paste generously. Then, apply the soft clay liberally on both the top and side of the cleft tree stem. You may add a plastic bag over the top of the grafted area for an extra layer of protection. But, sadly these won’t protect tulip heads from getting bitten off.

Advantages & Disadvantages:

Let’s have a peek at the advantages of toy clay as a grafting adhesive.

  • Incredibly Cheap in cost when compared to grafting wax.
  • Flexible enough to be applied in cold weather, so you can use it in every season.
  • Adheres well, and stays in place.

Apart from the pros, it also has some cons. Let’s get to know them.

  • Leaves behind a stain on the bark, although lessen after time.
  • Tight seal is not possible as clay tends to dry out.
  • Not waterproof, may need to use polyethylene shade during the rainy season.


Parafilm is a stretchable plastic film that can be used to seal and protect the graft union. It is waterproof, breathable, and UV-resistant, making it ideal for use in grafting. This seal is breathable, chemical-resistant, and easy to remove and apply.

Basically, polyethylene and wax are blended together in parafilm. In addition to preventing contamination, it allows gas exchange between cultures and outside organisms. So, people use parafilm as grafting tape.

How to Use:

You can easily use parafilm. Parafilm needs to be pressed around the edge of the tree and stretched on top. When your hand heats the parafilm, it will transform into a pliable form and adhere to itself tightly. 

Always make sure to clean the surface before applying and the place should be dry as well. 

Advantages & Disadvantages:

Using parafilm for grafting has several advantages. Advantages of using parafilm for grafting include

  • This can heal the grafted area and promote callus formation by creating a humid environment.
  • Especially in dry or windy conditions, it can keep the grafted tissue from drying out.
  • Easy to use and inexpensive, it is a good choice.

Now, let’s proceed to know the downfalls of using parafilm as an alternative to using grafting wax. 

  • If not monitored carefully, it can trap heat and humidity that can result in overheating and grafted tissue death.
  • Using parafilm can’t allow the area to have proper ventilation. Infections can occur as a result of insufficient ventilation of the grafted area.

Rubber Strips:

Rubber strips or tapes can be used to hold the scion and rootstock together while the graft union heals. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and can be easily removed once the graft has healed. They are great for the grafting of plants like ZZ supernova and raven.

How to Use:

Grafted plants are held in place while they heal and take root with the help of rubber strips. Here’s how you can use it to seal the grafted plant.

  • After making the graft, secure it with a rubber strip, then take a piece of tape and wrap it around the grafted area. Make sure to cover the roots and scions cut edges.
  • Press a rubber strip firmly against the grafted area after wrapping the tape around it. The cut edges of the plant will be sealed tightly this way.

Advantages & Disadvantages:

Let’s look at the specific reasons why rubber strips are a good idea, as well as the reasons why they shouldn’t be used.

  • Rubber strips provide a tight seal around the grafted area that prevents air and moisture from entering the wound. So, it protects the scion from failing.
  • Their affordability, availability, and ease of use make them a great choice.

At this point let’s get to know what kinds of issues can bother you if you use rubber strips.  

  • If the rubber strip is too tight, water, nutrients, and oxygen cannot circulate to the graft.
  • If a rubber strip deteriorates over time, air and moisture can penetrate the seal, causing the graft to fail.
  • Over time, they can become difficult to remove.

Cold Wax:

It is possible to use cold wax instead of grafting wax in some cases. Rather than applying a hot liquid, a cold wax is applied to the grafted area at room temperature.

How to Use:

You can use cold wax with your hand. The wax should be applied to the surfaces of the rootstock and scion where they meet. It must be used in conjunction with wrapping tape or grafting string. It is also possible to make rope or graft cloth from cold wax.

Advantages & Disadvantages:

Here are some specific reasons why cold wax is a good idea as well as some reasons why you should avoid using cold wax.

  • When using cold wax instead of grafting wax, there is no need for special equipment like a double boiler, and it is very easy to apply.
  • There is no need to heat cold wax, which can be dangerous.

There are some downsides to using cold wax. Let’s prepare ourselves for the negative factors that may occur.

  • In comparison to traditional grafting wax, cold wax may not be as effective.
  • It’s not pliable enough, so it’s hard to mold the wax to cover the grafted area.
  • Cold wax is much more prone to break and crack. That’s why air and moisture can penetrate the seal and ultimately can fail the graft.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can I use hot wax instead of grafting wax?

Yes, you can use hot wax for sealing the edges of grafted plants. As a result, air and moisture are prevented from entering the wound, which can lead to graft failure. Before applying hot wax, it must be boiled thoroughly. Keep yourself safe by not burning yourself.

How can I make a homemade grafting wax?

You can easily make a homemade grafting wax at home if you don’t have a commercial one. First, combine 5 pounds of resin with 1 pound of beeswax and heat. Then add ¼ pin of linseed oil when the pot is on the heat. Now take off the vessel from heat and slowly add ½ pound of charcoal that is in powdered form. Finally, let the wax harden in a covered storage container.

Can I use electrical tape for grafting?

Of course, you can use electrical tape for grafting. Ensure that the cambium layers of the scion and rootstock are lined up correctly and that the tape is tightly wrapped around the grafted area. Electrical tape is easy to use, effective, and available in the market. 


Finally, the discussion has come to an end. I hope you have discovered an effective grafting wax alternative. You can use any of the compounds discussed above as you prefer. 

The serving ability is not the same for all of them. It is important to keep in mind your preferences and the functionalities of the product when choosing one.

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