Banking On Banksia

Having caught the propagating bug last year, I’ve decided to try my hand at growing my own plants again in 2024, this time turning to the difficult proposition of raising banksias, the flower that most symbolizes Australian flora in my eyes.

So far, my luck with banksias hasn’t been great, mainly thanks to ignorance and ill preparation to be fair. And impatience, perhaps?

Kangaeroo Corner has a banksia that has grown well since it’s initial planting almost two years ago, but it has yet to flower for us. I expect it will do so one day.

But I still want to see the banksia flowers in the garden. We bought a hairpin banksia last year. It made it through the harsh summer, then got root rot when I planted it in the ground. It’s probably dead, but I put it back in a pot and keep looking after it for the time being in the hope that it may spring into life in the spring growing season, when I will make the final decision on its fate.

The wilted banksia was replaced by a seedling planted in autumn and a a lucky pick-up at year end by a huge, potted hairpin banksia destined for planting where the eucalypt had been before I removed it over the new year as it threatened other plants. And some banksia birthday candles, too, which should grow well closer to the ground.

In the meantime, I found a place in Japan selling Australian native plant seeds. I hadn’t planned on trying to propagate anything this winter, but I enjoyed the process last year even if the results weren’t great. I was satisfied because the most successful experiment came with kangaroo paw, which basically thrived, and most of the other dozen or so plants I tried didn’t work even though I got nearly all of them to germinate, including some heath banksia.

Banksia are fickle and difficult to raise, apparently.

Seeds arrived yesterday. Soil arrives today. I’ll study more, draw on what I learned last year, and give it a try again in another month or so, preparing in the meantime, and keeping the seeds away from the prying eyes (and belly) of our dinosaur.

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