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Homing of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) to their microenvironment niches in the bone marrow is a complex process with a critical role in repopulation of the bone marrow after transplantation. This active process allows for migration of HSC from peripheral blood and their successful anchoring in bone marrow before proliferation. The process of engraftment starts with the onset of proliferation and must therefore be functionally dissociated from the former process. In this overview we analyse the characteristics of stem cells (SCs) with particular emphasis on their plasticity and ability to find their way home to the bone marrow. We also address the problem of graft failure which remains an important contributor to morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Within this context, we discuss non-malignant and malignant hematological disorders treated with reduced intensity conditioning regimens or grafts from human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-mismatched donors.