Grafted plants are often more tolerant to salinity than nongrafted controls. In order to distinguish differential response components in grafted melon (Cucumis melo L.), salt stress was imposed on several rootstock-scion combinations in four experiments. The rootstock used was an interspecific squash (Cucurbita maxima Duch. x Cucurbita moschate Duch.), RS841, combined with two cantaloupe (C. melo var. cantalupensis) cultivars, namely London and Brennus, against both self-grafted and nongrafted controls. Physiological, morphological and biochemical adaptations to 0, 40 and 80 mM NaCl were monitored. Upon salinity, plant biomass and leaf area were improved by grafting per se, since self-grafted plants performed similarly to the heterografted ones. However, improvements in the exclusion of Na+ and the uptake of K+ were due only to the rootstock genotype, since ionic composition was similar in self-grafted and nongrafted plants. These results indicate that the favourable effects of grafting on plant growth cannot be ascribed to a more efficient exclusion of Na+ or enhanced nutrient uptake. On the other hand, growth improvements in both self- and heterografted plants were associated with a more efficient control of stomatal functions (changes in stomatal index and water relations), which may indicate that the grafting incision may alter hormonal signalling between roots and shoots.