In the propagation shed

Published 07/09/16

Spring brings with it warmer weather, longer days and a vast array of wildflowers, so it’s no surprise that it is many people’s favourite season. It is at this time of year that many ecosystems come to life with colours and scents, drawing in the many species of pollinators required to produce this year’s batch of seed. Naomie Sunner leads the way from bushland to the nursery bench. 

BECAUSE most species are in flower, this is the time that plants can be easily identified, so for indigenous nurseries that collect their own seed reconnaissance missions to target sites are always a pleasurable task. 

With the exception of long walks in wildflower strewn landscapes in the name of site surveying, there are many tasks that plant propagators have to do in spring. 

  • Daisies germinate readily in daytime temperatures of around 18-25 C. They require light to germinate, so are best sown on the surface of seed raising mix September – October. 
  • A number of semiaquatic wetland species are dormant over winter, emerging from seed, corms or rhizomes in spring. Sow species such as Bolboschoenus, Schoenoplectus and Alisma plantago-aquatica in spring using the bog method. Alternatively, Bolboschoenus can be divided by separating and potting on newly sprouted corms as soon as they emerge. 
  • Other semi-aquatic species such as Juncus, Ficinia and Carex can be sown using the bog method in spring. 
  • Many Spear grasses germinate best in temperatures 15-22 C. Species such as Austrostipa stipiodes, A. mollis, A. bigeniculata should be sown in September. 
  • Many other species of cool season grasses, known as C3 grasses germinate well in the cooler spring temperatures. Sow Dichelachne crinita, Anthosachne scabra and Rytidosperma sp. September – October. 
  • Saltbushes such as Einadia, Rhagodia and Enchylaena also prefer the cooler spring temperatures in which to germinate. Sow these species September to October. 
  • Many Peas and Acacia species have hard seed coats and germinate well in warm temperatures after soaking in warm or boiling water. After soaking seed for 4-12 hours, sow seed October-November. 
  • As plants put on new growth over spring, there is an abundance of beautiful cutting material. Take cuttings any time in spring of Correa, Grevillea, Prostanthera and Pimelea, ensuring that flowers are buds are removed. 
  • Many species that can be grown by division will establish well in the warmer temperatures of spring. Species such as Viola hederacea, Ranunculus, Goodenia can be divided over spring.