Daily Life


Having experimented with growing Aussie plants from seed last year, this year’s efforts have focused more on growing from cuttings and finally, from this morning, replicating the seed propagation experiment. Turns out that things are rooted, but not the way I had hoped.

I started trying to grow cuttings from our extremely successful grevillea about two months ago.

Following instructions online and from veterans, I took over a dozen cuttings from branches, added a growth-stimulating hormone powder to the ends, stuck them in pots filled with kanumatsuchi, watered them and covered the pots with plastic. I basically left the two pots I set up alone, only occasionally checking to see if there was any moisture getting in and misting the leaves to ensure they could grow.

Word was that the cuttings had taken root if you tugged on them and felt a fair degree of resistance. A couple of weeks ago, I checked the pots. Some clearly hadn’t rooted. Others looked to have started sprouting. Tugging on the cuttings suggested a large portion had taken root. As it was still cold, I left them in their hothouse and waited for the end of frosts, which is around about now.

I’d planned to pot the cuttings on Monday this week, but fierce winds coming from the north made the prospect untenable.

I’d prepared pots, soil, perlite and more to move the cuttings into their own pots so they could grow. I was very excited to wake and prepared the pots for their cuttings.

I started by removing the stalks that clearly hadn’t rooted. I filled pots with potting mix and then took care to carve out a chunk of the kanumatsuchi containing each cutting for transplanting. I was shocked to discover that none of the cuttings had taken root despite being in the pots for two months.

Having started the process, I had to keep on going, so I filled eight pots with cuttings. I watered them heavily and returned them to the hothouse. Initially, I left the cuttings uncovered, but figured it was still too cold and may still take root after all, so covered the pots with a plastic bag. I will wait and hope, but the confidence I felt this morning was completely dissipated.

Seeds ma also be challenging. I hadn’t intended to try to grow anything from seed this year, but found a place in Japan that sells seeds for Aussie plants, so decided to give it a try while backed with the experience of 2023, which had been largely unsuccessful, though the plants that did work have generally thrived.

This year, I will be trying to grow two types of banksia, which are said to be a bit tough to grow.

The first type of banksia is the paludosa, or marsh banksia.

The second type is the robur, or swamp banksia.

The seeds grow in an identical manner, so I am working on them simultaneously. After keeping the seeds in the fridge for several weeks, I covered the seeds in boiling water and left them for 16 hours. I then added a seed to a growth pod, and I will keep these in the heated, lit growth pods for the next couple of months. Hopefully, they will germinate and sprout. In the meantime, I will watch over them and hope for the best. Last year, the only banksia I tried were heath banksia and the results were poor, so my expectations are not high and anything will be a bonus!