Saturday, January 27, 2007

In the wake of Australia Day

I had a quiet Saturday making yet another attempt to grow Kangaroo Paws from seed. A few years ago I did the whole thing carefully - first soaking the pots in bleach and cooking the seeding mix for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C to kill bugs - and had brilliant success with dozens of healthy plants germinating.

So this year I meticulously did everything according to the book. I planted some mixed colour Anigozanthos flavidus and some of the short-lived, red and green Anigozanthos manglesii seed.

Of course KPs are West Australian plants so this exercise fails to reach my intent of planting only local native species. But the KPs that I have grown in the past were not so good this year because of Ink Disease that blackens the leaves, and because some of the species I grew only last for a few years anyway.

I’ve just learned that KPs regenerate from points below ground level so that the best way to get healthy plants is to cut them right back to this level once they have flowered.

Another thrilling Saturday in suburbia!


Anonymous said...


You should cut your kangaroo paws back to ground level from the second year onwards, whenever they look scrappy.

Phosic Acid is supposed to help reduce the incidence of ink disease. Also water the base of the plants and never the leaves.

You are far better off planting "bush gem" series kangaroo paws than kangaroo paws from seed as they are signicantly more robust. The clumps can be divided after a few years to produce more plants.

Finally, never use a high phosphorous fertiliser on your KPs as it will kill them.

hc said...

Thanks for that. I'll try cutting them right back -they do look scrappy. When - after flowering?

The seeds are a bit of an experiment and fun. I am also trying Australian grass tree (Xanthorrhoea preissi) from seed.

Anonymous said...

I cut mine back anytime. Bush Gems seem to flower almost all year round so it doesn't matter.

Mine are still looking good after seven years.

Mimi said...

Anonymous, may I ask...what is "phosic" acid?