Lomandra propagation

No CSG today, just self-sufficiency stuff. 

We’re planning to plant Lomandra longifolia (spiny-headed mat rush) on contour at various spots around the place, to stabilise slopes and create barriers to pademelons.  A tray of Lomandra seedlings from the nursery is $50, and not very self-sufficient, so we’re propagating them ourselves. 

How not to do it

We did propagate a few by division, but it turns out that on our place that’s very hard work.  The best time to do it is when the ground is nice and soft from rain, but that’s also the time we can’t get the ute into paddock (gets bogged) so we have to wheelbarrow everything – muddy divisions, buckets of water, tools, spare soil, mulch etc up and down the muddy slope into the paddock.  We decided to try to propagate from seed.

So, last year I watched the Lomandra on our place like a hawk, waiting until the day the seeds went brown and I could pick the seed head for drying. 

Best not to try that way, at least not in the middle of the rainforest.  I got three viable seeds out of the lot.  The rest either dropped off between my daily inspections or were eaten by some ravenous rainforest inhabitant.

What worked

This year, I bagged seed heads just as they started going brown.  I used some drawstring bags we’d made out of flyscreen (on our hand-operated Singer which finally worked after we realised you had to oil it).  Eventually, lo and behold, a little pile of nicely mature Lomandra seeds formed in each bag.

I sowed the seeds as soon as possible after collection (which ended up being a couple of weeks because of stupid CSG) into two different mixes: one was sifted forest soil mixed 2:1 with washed river sand; the other was vermiculite mixed 1:1 with cocopeat.  Scroogle recommended the latter, but you have to buy the ingredients, so we also wanted to try a home-grown version.  Both worked fine, although the forest soil version ended up growing a nice selection of native groundcovers in addition to the Lomandra

When the seeds germinated, we pricked them out to forestry tubes (salvaged from the tip) filled with a 2:2:1 mix of garden soil, manure-based compost and washed river sand.  I would have liked to have used just plain humus-y forest soil, but at the time we only had our standard home-made potting mix available.  (It takes us a good couple of hours to collect a few buckets of sifted forest soil, because we never want to take too much from the one spot.) 

Anyway, it seems to have worked OK, and now we have a few trays of seemingly happy seedlings growing into their new pots.  Lovely antidote to the CSG whirlwind.

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