How to grow Acacia (wattles) and other native plants which require treatment of the seed before sowing

By Uploaded by Heather Miles

Grevillea ‘Zig Zag’, image Heather Miles
  • Seed of acacias which occurs in pods, has a tough outer shell that does not allow water to enter the seed easily. Other plants with a similar type of seed include the many pea flowers such as Chorizema, Clianthus, Daviesia, Hrdenbergia, Hovea, Indigofera, Kennedia, Oxylobium, Pultenaea and Sphaerolobium to name just some of them.
  • For a seed to germinate, water must enter the seed. In the case of these hard coated seeds, we must do something extra to get the seed to grow. For wattle and similar seed, we treat the seed with boiling water before sowing it.
  • Place the seed in a cup (not plastic) or some other heatproof container and pour boiling water over it. Allow the seed to soak overnight and you should notice that some or all of the seed has swollen. Seed that is not swollen should be treated again. An alternative to the boiling water treatment is to gently rub the seed between two sheets of fine sandpaper. This reduces the thickness of the seed coat and allows water to penetrate.
  • Swollen seed or seed which has been sandpapered is now ready for sowing. You can place the seed between sheets of moistened paper towel and then place them in a sealed container such as an empty plastic container or the seed can be sown directly into a suitable soil mix. If you use a plastic container you’ll be able to look at the seed now and again and only plant those seeds which have germinated.
  • The seed can be placed into a small pot containing a suitable soil mix such as 1 part peat moss and 4 parts of washed river sand. The seed should be just covered with soil mix. Make sure the soil mix is moist before you place it in the pot.
  • Place the pot in a partly shaded position an water by standing the pot in a partly filled container of water. Plants should never be allowed to become root bound and should be put it on into larger pots were needed if there not required in the garden. If more than one sort of seed is sown, remember to label each type with its name and the date the seed was sown

See for illustrations: Propagation of native plants