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Propagating Australian native plants, by Warren and Gloria Sheather

24 Jul 2017 6:27 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

One of our gardening pleasures is propagating our own plants. There is also an economic reason for our propagating activities. When we plant, three plants are placed in each hole with holes close together to create dense shrubberies (see Density and Diversity article). 

With this density of planting we could not afford to buy the large number of plants required.

Some years ago we purchased a self-contained propagating unit (see image) with intermittent misting and bottom heating. The unit came in a flat pack from Victoria. Once assembled all that was needed was a layer of sand on the base plus water and power connected. The unit is on a bench facing east. Running costs have proved to be minimal. The unit’s purchase price has been well and truly covered with literally hundreds of plants flowing from the unit into the garden. 

Of the plants we propagate over 80% are from cuttings.

We use red Clonex hormone gel for all cuttings and previously used 50/50 sand/coco peat mix for both cuttings and seeds. We recently switched to commercial seed raising mix for all propagating. Using this mix we find that cuttings have stronger roots and develop faster. We use 50 cm thumb pots for cuttings with a maximum of six cuttings in each pot. 

The seed raising mix is recycled after cuttings and seedlings are potted on. A recycled microwave rice cooker is filled with the mix and microwaved on high power for 15 minutes.

Even after many propagating years we are still thrilled when roots are found growing out of a thumb pot full of cuttings.

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