Hakea - Propagation

Most hakeas are propagated by seed but vegetative propagation (eg. cuttings) is also possible. The use of grafting to extend the horticultural range of some of the spectacular species from Western Australia is becoming more common.

Seed

Seed pods are mature about 12 months after flowering when they have turned a beep brown/black colour. When removed from a plant, the pods will usually split within a week (sometimes longer) to reveal the two winged seeds. If the pods are reluctant to open, heating in an oven for about 1 hour at 125 degrees C should assist. Seed usually germinates well by conventional sowing methods in seed raising mixes although seedlings may be subject to "damping off". To minimize this possibility, keep seeds moist but not wet. Germination should occur in 14 to 60 days, depending on the species.

Pre-germination of seed by sowing into a closed container containing moist vermiculite or a similar material is also a useful method of germinating seeds, particularly for winter sowing when outdoor temperatures may be unsuitable. Germination usually occurs in 1-2 weeks using this method and when the root has reached about a centimetre or so in length, the seedling can be placed into a small pot of seed raising mix.

Cuttings

Hakeas are not the easiest plants to propagate by cuttings but it is certainly not impossible. Cuttings about 75-100 mm in length with the leaves carefully removed from the lower two-thirds seem to be satisfactory. "Wounding" the lower stem by removing a sliver of bark and treating with a "root promoting" hormone both seem to improve the success rate.

Grafting

Because of the difficulty of growing many Western Australian species in climates of summer rainfall (see "Cultivation"), a considerable amount of experimentation has been done, at both the amateur and professional level, on grafting western species to hardier root stocks. This work has achieved considerable success to the extent where grafted hakeas are appearing for sale in nurseries.

The most commonly grafted hakeas are the so-called "grass-leaved" species including H.bucculenta, H.francisiana and H.multilineata. These are all large shrubs which have spectacular flower clusters in orange, deep pink and pink, respectively. The root stock used is almost invariably the hardy eastern Australian species H.salicifolia. For further details see Grafting Hakeas

General Propagation

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


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