I came across Lomandra hystrix a few years ago in an inland nursery where I did not expect to find it. It has attractive bright green leaves. These are up to 1.3m long with the flower spike only a little shorter than the leaves. The flower would be a dramatic inclusion in a floral arrangement.
I haven’t seen this in flower yet. What does attract me to the plant at the moment is the fact that it is frost hardy, a distinct advantage here. We haven’t had this number of frosts for a number of years. Fortunately I seem to have made the right choices in plants to propagate, as only a few have had new growth tipped by the frost.
The LomandrasÂ seem to be not only frost hardy but reasonably hardy in our hot dry summers also. I will be testing that out this year seeing that I have been able to divide some pieces even if I did hack them about a bit while doing so. I should be able to save a few stock plants ‘just in case!’
Lomandra have the common name of Iron Grass in many cases. The leaves are very tough. I tried to pull a dried leaf from a clump and gave up. Besides I was in danger of cutting my hand.
These are attractive clumping plants. The male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. They look great in groupings of plants rather than one isolated plant. On the other hand they are very attractive growing amongst other plants in a rockery.
Lomandra effusa is the species which occurs on our block. It has leaves to 30cm tall. The flower spike in both the male and female are similar in appearance. The flowers are a pretty creamy white formed along a stem rising from the base of the clump. The common name is Scented Mat Rush. When down on hands and knees the perfume can be detected and it is very pleasant.
I was checking on Lomandra species (Mat Rush) and discovered that apparently they are readily grown from seed. I was under the impression that they were difficult. Must have muddled them with something else. I need not have tried to divide some clumps the other day. I made quite a mess of it, breaking some good shoots from the base. I’m not sure that they will make roots.
Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Growing from seed gives no control over which type of flower will be carried by the plants.
I checked on my ‘bible’ for germinating native plants Murray Ralph’s ‘Growing Australian Native Plants From Seed’. Some do germinate readily from seed. Others need some sort of pre-treatment. In general germination takes 8-10 weeks and seed should be sown soon after collection. (I had not muddled them. It seems that the species that are indigenous to South Australia are not as easy to germinate as some.)
I had a comment on the Blog entry on Anigozanthos flavidus. Suzanne is in Canada and had bought a Kangaroo Paw with no information on the label other than Anigozanthos Kangaroo Paw. She wanted cultivation information. I replied to her by email but could only give general information. See the above link. It is so difficult to give useful information when one does not know the country’s climate or the garden conditions. I have had to make a number of assumptions.
Is there anything else I could have said? Is there other information I should have given? Could I assume a particular cultivar is available overseas?
Anyway, not having the facilities to put photos on the blog yet, I sent Suzanne a link to the Australian National Botanic Gardens where she will see photos of the flowers and form of the plant.
I should have done this with my previous posts and will do a separate entry to catch up the backlog.
Orthrosanthos multiflorus is a pretty tufted plant with mauve blue flowers. Again this a ‘native iris’ plant. The flower spike stands above the leaves and flowers open one by one up the stem each only lasting for a short time. This grows quite well in the high pH (highly alkaline) soil of the mound that I have it on. It appears to be quite long lived and drought tolerant.
Others in the genus are Orthrosanthos polystachys, and Orthrosanthos laxus. Orthrosanthos polystachys has deep purply- blue flowers on tall stems held well sbove the foliage. Orthrosanthos laxus is a light mauve blue with the stem a little taller than the foliage. Again these look good planted in groups of three to five plants together. That way the succession of flowers prolongs the flowering period.
These are all from Western Australia. What’s more they are frost hardy and need a well drained position with full sun to part shade. Mine get morning sun and then dappled shade for the rest of the day.