Australian Daisies - Propagation

Introduction

Daisies may be propagated successfully from seed or vegetatively from cuttings, suckers or divisions from established plants. Vegetative methods should be used to preserve desirable characteristics of a particular plant or cultivar.

Seed

Daisy seed is easy to collect when the pappus is conspicuous, such as in Craspedia Chrysocephalum, and Rhodanthe species, but in genera such as Brachyscome and Ammobium where the pappus is inconspicuous, the dried ray florets must first fall off to reveal the mature seed on the receptacle. Collect seed from healthy vigorous plants when the weather is dry.

The majority of annuals are grown from seed. This may be sown directly in the soil or in seed trays. The medium should be well drained, capable of retaining air and moisture, and of a pH suitable for root initiation (4.5 to 5.5). A thin layer of sand, gravel or blue-metal chips over the seed prevents heavy rain from dislodging it. Sowing thinly allows more air movement around seedlings and discourages fungal attack such as 'damping-off'.

Many daisies, particularly those from arid areas, have a mechanism known as 'dormancy' to prevent germination in unfavourable conditions. Many factors may be responsible for this dormancy, such as the immaturity of the embryo, or the presence of chemical inhibitors to germination. Dormancy in some species can be overcome by storing for a period at certain temperatures, a procedure known as 'after-ripening'. Germination may also be improved by treatment with 'smoke-water' or gibberellin preparations. (For a summary of some of the research being undertaken into dormancy see Germination Requirements of Australian Daisies).

Cuttings, Suckers and Divisions

Stem cuttings of most perennials usually strike quickly and easily even with the simplest of equipment, provided vigorous healthy growth is selected. The medium should be an open free-draining mix which retains some moisture, such as 3 parts washed course sand to one part peat moss. Root stimulating hormones may be used to advantage.

Many of the perennial daisies produce suckers which may be simply cut off the parent plant and established in other parts of the garden or in pots. Examples are Brachyscome multifida, B.angustifolia, B.segmentosa. Others, such as Brachyscome stolonifera and Senecio pectinatus are stoloniferous, and these also are easy to separate and remove for planting elsewhere. Rosetted perennial daisies such as Brachyscome diversifolia, B.scapigera and B.nivalis may be propagated by simple division of clumps in late winter or early spring.

General Propagation

Further details on general plant propagation can be found at the Society's Plant Propagation Pages.



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