Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

Seedy Subjects! => Seeds Wanted => Topic started by: PEAK on March 14, 2007, 09:09:13 AM

Title: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: PEAK on March 14, 2007, 09:09:13 AM
You have probably been there youselves, you see a plant on a picture and immediately feel that "must have that"! This happened to me a few years ago when I first saw a picture of Lechenaultia, a genus of small woody plants from western Australia. Since then I have on four occasions been able to receive seeds, but never have a single one germinated :(
I have tried different species and sowing methods: cold, hot, GA3, smoke, you name it! So my question is, are they really this hard to germinate or where my seeds old? Any tips and tricks, and/or a suggestion for a source of fresh seeds are extremely welcome!
A pic can be found here.
http://www.rainforestmagic.com.au/Pentax/Lechenaultia%20tubiflora%20qr1.jpg

Cheers
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Maggi Young on March 14, 2007, 12:01:39 PM
I had never seen this plant, thanks for the photo link.....how very attractive it is ! I too look forward to learing more about it and its habits.
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Diane Clement on March 14, 2007, 12:42:15 PM
I once had Lechenaultia biloba, and a couple from the related genus Dampiera.  I didn't grow them from seed, and they didn't last long because they weren't very hardy with me. 
This article suggests that smoke is the answer to breaking germination in Western Australian plants, including Lechenaultia

http://asgap.org.au/APOL2/jun96-6.html

More generally, (Lechenaultia isn't mentioned), a very useful germination guide is within the website of the Ontario rock garden society.  The guide is based on the research into germination by Professor Deno and also the work of Tom Clothier

http://www.onrockgarden.com/    and click on Germination guide top right


Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Anthony Darby on March 14, 2007, 12:50:38 PM
I have heard that seeds from the Australian bush respond well to fire. Loosely wrap the seeds in newspaper and light it. Sounds a bit drastic.  :-\
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Maggi Young on March 14, 2007, 01:33:21 PM
Quote
Loosely wrap the seeds in newspaper and light it. Sounds a bit drastic
certainly does, I don't even approve of smoking cigarettes!
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: PEAK on March 14, 2007, 09:09:11 PM
Thanks for your inputs and links Diane and Anthony :) I do have tried with smoked water, but I beleive that my seeds were to old. The seeds are dust like so the newspaper method would probably be quite problematic! OK smoke they need, but where will I find fresh seeds? A quote about these plants from this website
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s133771.htm
Quote
Curiously, since they were difficult to grow, these plants were the darlings of English town gardeners in the 1850s.

Did you know this?

Cheers
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Maggi Young on March 14, 2007, 09:17:05 PM
Quote
Curiously, since they were difficult to grow, these plants were the darlings of English town gardeners in the 1850s.
That comes as news to me, perhaps it was never a trend in Scotland ::)

Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 14, 2007, 10:04:41 PM
I can't help with anything about seeds but I've had (can't say grown) L. biloba and a red one whose name I don't recall. They were VERY tender, and I lost them the first tiny whiff of frost I had, in a previous garden. It amazed me that English town gardeners could ever have grown them, but I feel that it must have been as a tender annual.
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: PEAK on March 15, 2007, 07:15:31 AM
Or then you have a hard time remembering the 1850s Maggi ;)
For myself I'm quite sure that I saw some pots in Braveheart!

Oh Lesley, you seems to have grown and lost all plants I am longing for, why don't you give them to me before they die?
Was it in during this period that Proteas and Banksias were popular in UK? (Never saw them in the film thogh) ;)

Cheers
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 15, 2007, 08:41:11 AM
Per-Ake, when I order a new plant I'll just have the nursery send it straight to you and cut out the middle man, me. Save the plant and save me the trouble.
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: PEAK on March 15, 2007, 09:09:26 AM
Not a bad idea Lesley, I could send you pictures showing the tremendous development of your plants ;D
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: rob krejzl on March 15, 2007, 09:20:17 PM
"It amazed me that English town gardeners could ever have grown them"

Surely a part of the 'glasshouse boom', with all the conspicuous consumption and plant one upmanship that went on then (even if Drummond did describe L. biloba back in 1829). Oh for a large glasshouse and a paddlewheel to imitate the lazy Amazon... 
        
...I'd probably end up as broke as the Duke of Devonshire did.

Leschenaultia's apart, I think the usual trend is to underestimate the hardiness of plants down here. When I look at the RHS' A-Z it suggests 5C as a minimum temperature for Blandfordia punicea - even my garden on the coast can get below that, and Blandfordias are found right up into alpine areas. Similarly, I can't grow Isophysis successfully because my place doesn't seem to give it sufficient chilling (all the more depressing when I can see it grown well just a little inland and at a bit of elevation).

Smoke impregnated vermiculite (to be placed next to the seeds and watered in with them) is commercially available down here from one of the major seed companies. It seems to work well.
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 15, 2007, 10:15:43 PM
I wonder would I be allowed to bring some of that home. The vermiculite yes, and I doubt if smoke is an item listed as prohibited on the biosecurity index. But I suppose I could put some vermiculite in Roger's fish smoker and do it that way. He rarely uses it to smoke fish and I knew there had to be a use for it somehow.

Maggi, I only just looked at the link Per-Ake posted for Leschenaultia tubiflora. The commoner species is L. biloba and its colour is a glorious pure blue, such as the paler tecophilaea. You'd love it. The flowers open wide and almost flat, unlike the tubes above. There must be quite a lot of colour variation within the species range because the red I had - can't remember its name - was a light, orangey to scarlet colour.
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: fermi de Sousa on March 16, 2007, 06:36:00 AM
Lesley,
Lechenaultia formosa has a range of colours from yellow, tangerine to deep red and bi-colours, including the wonderfully named "Scarlett O'Hara". These have been hardy here with temperatures down to -7oC but only where very well drained. Unfortunately they've hardly lasted more than a season or two, definitely "pretty annuals"!
Have a look at this link (if it works!): http://www.goldfieldsrevegetation.com.au/PlantListbyGenus.asp?genusSearch=lechenaultia&WAQueryBuilder1=1
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: PEAK on March 16, 2007, 07:33:33 AM
Thanks for the link Fermi, very nice pictures there! As I understand it we have now discussed the three most gardening interesting species, L. biloba, formosa and tubiflora. Want them all ;)
In a private message Rob send me this link to an Aussie seed company
http://members.iinet.net.au/~nindseed/
they list them all, so I will place an order.
As for the RHS a-z, I find most of their min. temps ridiculously high!
When it comes to smoke treatment of seeds I will stick to my soaking in Lapsang souchong tea method, has work this far!

Cheers
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 16, 2007, 08:23:16 AM
That's quite a long seed list! all those eucalyts but alas, no Gaultheria/Pernettya. Still I will give the Leschenaultias a go. Formosa was my original red. Thanks for the reminder.
Title: Re: Help w Lechenaultias!
Post by: Maggi Young on March 16, 2007, 11:22:46 AM
Some of the blues are  a pretty startling colour ! Good range of colours altogether. Thanks for the links.