Archive for the 'Propagating' Category

Propagating Kurrajong (Brachychiton diversifolius)

Murray Ralph had the information on propagating Kurrajong from seed. He says average temperature of 25C so I have missed the boat, temperature wise. (I would say that average maximum temperature at the moment is about 16C.) So September/ October it will need to be. I thought I might try a few seeds in the hot house to see how much difference that makes. At least they won’t be soggy there if it should rain.

It appears that the seed needs to have hot water poured over it and be left to soak over night. The seed germinates in 3-6 weeks with best results at 25C. Only 40-60% of the seed germinates. Seed is viable for several years, with best results achieved with fresh seed. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Murray Ralph’s book is ‘Growing Australian Native Plants from Seed’ published by Murray Ralph/Bushland Horticulture.

New Seed Packets

The Kurrajong seed arrived today. I have no idea what to do with it so will consult Murray Ralph’s book on propagating Native plants from seed. This has been a most useful book to have. I suspect that it is too cold now to put any seed in. We had a frost last night that burnt my two new native hibiscus plants. If they survive this winter hopefully they will be more frost hardy as the plants put on height.

The rest of the seeds from Eyre Native Seeds on Eyre Peninsula , South Australia, I am looking forward to dealing with. There is a native pine (Callitris canescens) that has a prostrate habit and grows on the coastal cliffs. There is also Melaleuca decussata, normally a fairly tall shrub here in the mallee but this one is also a prostrate plant from the coastal cliffs. It will be interesting to see how these both survive the frost here. I believe they are frost hardy despite being coastal plants but it remains to be seen in actual practice.

Another packet of grass seed arrived from a member of the Native Grasses Resource Group. This is Aristida behrianna and that can be sown now. Something is scattering the grass seeds in their pots. I suspect it is mice, although I was blaming sparrows. The damage is done early in the morning.

Propagating Kurrajong and Grevillea

I had a pile of cutting material, mainly some pieces of Grevillea which I dealt with today. It is a bit cold now, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I managed half a tray full of nice looking cuttings and went out to see what material was on Grevillea ‘Winpara Gem’ to fill up the space.

I walked past a small plant that I have had for years but had not had the heart to dig out. It has always been in the wrong spot so was mown, slashed and whipper snipped many times. It has 4 stems now. I realized a few weeks ago that it was a Kurrajong after I had read the article that prompted the post on Kurrajong.

The amazing thing about this plant is that it has always been a good dark green, and does not get water artificially and has survived many heavy frosts over the years. I have decided, belatedly, that it deserves some TLC so that I can get some more height in the plant. It will be a shrub shape rather than a tree now. I doubt that cutting 3 of the 4 branches out will help as it seems to induce more branching from the base of the plant. Anyway, to fill up the tray I cut one of the branches that was growing across the plant. I was able to take 6 nice pieces of tip growth as cuttings to see what will happen. I will put in some seed later also.

This plant is no longer in the wrong spot!

Lime Water and soil pH

Having watered the young stock with lime water yesterday and given all the new transplants some seaweed solution, I went out to check on everything this morning. My imagination is probably too vivid, but those plants did appear to look happier. I will continue the lime water and seaweed solution next week and then do another pH test on the mix in the little pots. I feel quite hopeful that I have the solution to the problem.

The potting out seems to be never ending at the moment. There are so many pots of rooted cuttings waiting to be separated. The weather is cooling fast so I need to get them into their pots as soon as possible. Next week promises to be warmer and sunnier so hopefully all will work out and the plants will have a fighting chance.

There are seeds popping up in pots. It really is exciting when germination takes place. Some seed that I had give the hot water treatment to, I had forgotten about. When I ‘found’ them some had sprouted. I had intended potting them directly into their individual pots but lack of time dictated the one pot and separate them later.


Using Lime

I have discovered why my new Correa rootlings were not growing as they should. Other plants which like alkaline conditions were just sittting also, despite the warm weather we had. My potting mix is not the pH it should be. It is way too acid at pH 5.5. It was only after hearing the tale of woe of another grower that the ‘penny dropped’ and I realised that my problem was probably the same. A pH test on the offending mix proved that it was the same problem, although not as low as his was. He thought that Azaelias would have done excellently in his mix.

Solution? Keith watered his pots with lime water made with a teapoon of lime in a standard watering can. He had to do this four times altogether before the pH was an acceptable 6. I have had to do the same. I have also added a cupful of lime to a wheelbarrow load of the potting mix for new seedlings and cuttings. It goes against the grain to do this when the soil pH is 9+! However if it solves the problem in the potting mix and I get the growth on the plants then it is worth it. It has been so disappointing to see the losses and the unthrifty new plants. I was certainly thankful to be alerted to a new scenario for my nursery.