An instructional system involving tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) was developed for teaching hands-on grafting skills as part of a traditional comprehensive course in plant propagation and also as part of an online grafting course. The advantages of using tropical hibiscus include the following: the absence of phenological constraints associated with seasonal changes in temperate woody species; the comparative ease of grafting hibiscus, assuring positive reinforcement of the student's learning experience; and the ease of propagating and growing hibiscus in the greenhouse for use at any time of year. The three methods included in these laboratory exercises are top wedge grafting—selected for its ease and high rate of success—T-budding, and chip budding. In addition to development of hands-on skills, the exercises are designed to teach students three of the most important requirements for successful grafting of any species, regardless of method. These requirements include cambial alignment, application of pressure between stock and scion, and avoidance of desiccation. An online rating tutorial and lab report form was developed for students to self-evaluate their grafted plants.
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