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The Acacia Grow Thread Options
 
acacian
#1 Posted : 1/7/2024 12:10:41 AM

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Making this thread so that people can share their progress growing acacia. Share photos, discuss techniques, share experiences, seed sourcing/collecting and any other info on growing here. Really keen to see more of what people are doing in this area as its a bit scattered on the forums.. hoping to consolidate people's experience growing these plants into a succinct space.

Below is some basic info on cultivating acacia for anyone interested - which I will continue to update once the ball is rolling.. much of this I am paraphrasing from Marion Simmons's book "Acacias of Australia: volume one/two" I couldn't recommend her two volumes highly enough.. they are the bible on Australian acacia.. I'd say much of her info can be applied to acacia outside of oz.


Methods of growing

Acacia can be grown from seed as well as cuttings. Cuttings will ensure true to type characteristics, while seeds can vary in their genetic expression. Some types of acacia are easier to grow from cuttings than others - bipinnate or 'fern-like' plants are more difficult than plants with phyllodes.. I believe because they will fall off the stems when stressed more easily than phyllodes which hold more moisture

Most Acacia seed, with a few exceptions, requires pre-treatment before sowing. The most commonly used method is treatment with boiling water - in which boiling hot water is poured over seeds and left to soak for about 24 hrs or until swollen. Swollen seeds can then be sown into potting mix, or germinated in a dark place on a damp cloth. Seeds directly sown into mix can take anywhere froma week to a month (sometimes even more with some species) to germinate. Already sprouted seeds should pop up within a week.

Acacia likes being grown in a well drained mix.. tried and tested is a mix of three parts river sand to one part loam or peat moss.. coco coir is used with success too. Sand allows the mix drain freely while peat moss/coir helps retain moisture and holds the mix together, as sand can fall out the bottom of the pot when moved/watered. A little perlite can help aerate your mix too.

Depending on your climate, its probably a good idea to grow seedlings in partial shade - full sun can scorch the sensitive little seedlings. When they start maturing, they can be hardened in the elements.. best if done gradually. A greenhouse setup that holds heat and humidity works well. Its good to have a little ventilation too though. A cost effective option is to build a 'hoop house' with star pickets, poly pipe, greenhouse plastic and shade cloth.

Sourcing seed

Of the lesser researched species, I recommend sourcing as reliable seed as possible. Species like floribunda it has turned out have several popular inactive cultivars which dominate the seed market.. obviously many who are based overseas won't be able to be so selective with seed.. but I think those of us based in Oz.. and it seems New Zealand based on several recent success stories - should do our best to gather good seed, cultivate and start producing seed to share with nexus members. Same goes for species like maidenii. Its been written off by many but is a matter of strain.. and it grows very fast. I am going to do my best to keep collecting true floribunda seed and my offer to share with nexus members remains open. I hope there can be a standard of seed reached that becomes easy for people to acquire.

So surely there is lots of Acacia confusa being grown by members here. Are many growing African Acacia?

Don't be shy! Can't wait to see what people can bring to the thread. Smile
 

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acacian
#2 Posted : 1/7/2024 12:44:00 AM

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Below is my work in progress hoop house.. I've opened it up for now as it seemed a little too humid in there and my plants were weakening.. introducing a bit of airflow and occasional hardening in the sun seems to be working well.

Design is basic poly pipe/star picket frame with horizontal conduit to brace the structure. It was coevered in cheap green house plastic and then 70% shade cloth covering the plastic.
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acacian
#3 Posted : 1/7/2024 12:55:16 AM

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Some other 'works in progress' below.. these are seed grown floribunda.. seed was collected from confirmed active specimen/specimens. There is some confusion surrounding the activity of this plant - so sourcing seed from confirmed tryptamine varieties is important. Best to avoid commercial cultivars.
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acacian
#4 Posted : 1/7/2024 1:07:08 AM

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Forays into phlebophylla.. they 6 months old now. They sprouted in the heart of winter when everything else was either dying or in dormancy. They are continuing to thrive Smile .. i've included a bit of a timeline of their growth. The first pic was taken in november.. !
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King Tryptamine
#5 Posted : 1/7/2024 1:41:40 AM
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I'm pretty new to growing Acacia trees only having started in August last year after being inspired by a visit to the local botanic garden and the grows of a very close friend of mine. I germinated a pair acuminatas by the very same method mentioned above, soaking the hard seeds in near boiling water for 24hr and then placing them between two wet paper towels to observe the seeds germinating, placing the ones that have in soil and discarding the ones that haven't. I believe it took a week for them to sprout.

I've grown mimosa trees in the past with great success and couldn't help but notice a significant parallel in the process, so I'm pretty much just following the same protocal providing them a soil mix with about 50% coco coir, 30% perlite, and 20% compost, and plan on putting them in specious air pots once they've grown to a good size.

I live in northern Europe where 6 months of the year is very cold, wet and dark. The native soil is impermeable clay, I don't think it would fair well being permenatly planted outside with a high mortality rate for most plants, so keeping them in pots where I can bring them indoors for the autumn, winter, and early spring seems like a good plan.

Looking forward in the journey of growing many more Acacia species and the developement of this thread!
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acacian
#6 Posted : 1/7/2024 1:50:12 AM

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Hey King Tryptamine Smile

It makes sense that the process will be similar as mimosa is very closely related to acacia. Glad to see you are growing acuminata too.. they are lovely plants. The eloquent curl to their phyllode tips is quite charming to me. Acuminata is frost tolerant.. mine braved it through harsh cold winter up in the tablelands. It took a while for them to resume growth but they are now starting to thrive. I think in your case, at least for autumn, they'd probably be okay outside.
I'd love to see how yours are going.. I assume you are growing the narrow phyllode var.?
 
acacian
#7 Posted : 1/7/2024 1:54:16 AM

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Hey King Tryptamine Smile

It makes sense that the process will be similar as mimosa is very closely related to acacia. Glad to see you are growing acuminata too.. they are lovely plants. The eloquent curl to their phyllode tips is quite charming to me. Acuminata is frost tolerant.. mine braved it through harsh cold winter up in the tablelands. It took a while for them to resume growth but they are now starting to thrive. I think in your case, at least for autumn, they'd probably be okay outside.
I'd love to see how yours are going.. I assume you are growing the narrow phyllode var.?

Below are a couple of mine that only really just came good after experiencing problems all year. Now they are happily doing their thing.


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King Tryptamine
#8 Posted : 1/7/2024 2:09:16 AM
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Can't get the images to upload right! Yessir the narrow phyllode var. I'll try get this sorted out at a later time, apologies for the time being.

Edit:

All done. Not much to look at since they were started very late during the grow season and spent most life growing indoors on a window top in the cold and dark autumn and winter months, but 2024 should hopefully yield some rightous Acacia eye candy.
 
acacian
#9 Posted : 1/7/2024 6:46:12 AM

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Looking good King Tryptamine.. thanks for the photos

a note on sowing phleb seed.. I think if sowing direct into soil, its best to sow straight into the pot you want to start with. I recently did this.. I have had 9 come up in the past month - the problem I am facing is that I need to transplant the maturing ones before their roots wrap to the bottom of the germing tray as it will mean they can get easily damaged when I wedge them out.. but it clearly hasn't stopped sprouting yet as every few days I see another sprouting.. which means I risk displacing the un-germinated seeds. If each seed were sown straight into it's own pot, this issue would be avoided. They are known to sometimes take months to germinate
 
TheAwakening
#10 Posted : 1/7/2024 7:37:06 AM

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What a great idea for a thread. I've grown several acacias over the years which unfortunately I don't have access to anymore, I love planting things in the ground and life loves moving me along and others have been removed.

I do presently have some growing of a microendemic acacia from NSW. Started a bit late in the season so they're still pretty small. Really looking forward to seeing these grow, a special acacia.
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acacian
#11 Posted : 1/7/2024 8:56:35 AM

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It actually wasn't my idea.. but putting it into action Pleased

Hey nice.. great to see you growing that species. I have got 7 little babies going at the moment. About to germinate a few more.. cool to see it is being grown all over Australia now.. 2nd photo is one of two obtusifolia that survived the winter as seedlings.. this species has been treated disgracefully by people in Australia.. like the species you mentioned, its only option now is cultivation.. and so far I must say it is beautiful having it at home to spend time with.. it and phlebophylla are very alike.. look at those glowing nerves! Trying to tell something to those that will listen..
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acacian
#12 Posted : 1/7/2024 9:43:37 AM

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I noticed your seedlings are quite off centred.. would I be correct in assuming you germed on damp towel before planting or sowed straight into your pot? If so, I'd recommend orienting the sprout/eye of the seed downwards into your potting mix so that the root continues in that trajectory and doesn't displace the seed (the eye of the seed is the end that the root will sprout from.. and the same side that the aril attaches to). Pressing soil gently will help anchor it without causing any damage or inability to move its root through the medium. Starting in a germination tray means you can re-pot your seedling in the centre.. being on the side isn't ideal as in summer the plastic on your tube can get quite hot.. any species that won't sprout too eradically (like phleb.. and oxycedrus I am finding too) I would probably start in a germination tray.

 
TheAwakening
#13 Posted : 1/7/2024 11:10:30 AM

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I can only hope that the seeds for the obtusifolia and other mistreated species have spread far enough that wild populations could recover. I know a few isolated ridges covered in obtusi, fire is their biggest threat, but also their seed germination so those stands will be there for a long time I would say. Obtusi is probably my favoured acacia in terms of the beauty of its phyllodes. Seeing them grow on country with the sun beaming down on them and their wonderous glowing green phyllodes with their veiny patterns is gorgeous!

I hope, even just for the sake of the plants, the laws change around them and their medicines and things can be more out in the open, but at the same time that presents its own challenges and I'm going off topic here..

As for planting tek..yes botched these up quite good this time, you're correct in all assumptions. As I was moving I wanted to have them in a more permanent pot so it was something less to think about. Yes I did germ on paper towel and I much appreciate the tip. All the seeds I had germed and I only got 1/2 turned into plants. Most of the others had rouble and I think it's because of how I planted them. Then when I got here I put them under a gutter that had a massive leaking problem and lost a few seedlings. Next time they got in a germination tray for sure.

In fact this thread is inspiring me to grow some narrow acuminata I have in my seed box.
 
acacian
#14 Posted : 1/7/2024 8:57:55 PM

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Below are my Acacia maidenii and floribunda mid September after the winter, followed by the plants in full health today. Maidenii seem to be the fastest growing of all my plants.. they are a year oldโ€ฆ but pretty much started again from nothing when spring came. Unfortunately many of them died.. about 15 survived.

All things considered, I am really impressed with how much they have grown since spring.. same goes for the rest of my plants - which are all survivors of the winter and were also dormant (the young seedlings I germinated in November). Goes to show how quickly some of these plants are in cultivation.. especially when grown thoughtfully.. i.e attention to medium, light watering, fertilizing. Even just spending a lot of time hanging out with them all in the green house means becoming attuned to subtle changes.

I probably mother my plants too much.. but I am starting to let them harden a little each day for an hr or so. They can't do much longer yet as the phyllodes burn, so it will be a slow process.
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TheAwakening
#15 Posted : 1/8/2024 2:10:17 AM

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Those maidenii look great. How long til you generally see first phyllode? Its been quite a while since Ive grown acacia. From memory it's about 3 months after germ but probably at a better time of year too.

I put mine through the ringer. They go in full sun from the get go. Some are slow to start but it gets them strong imo.

Pictured are some old acuminata seeds I've scarified and left to soak in cold water. When dealing with a smaller amount of seeds my experience is this works really well for germ rates.
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acacian
#16 Posted : 1/8/2024 2:58:47 AM

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TheAwakening wrote:
Those maidenii look great. How long til you generally see first phyllode? Its been quite a while since Ive grown acacia. From memory it's about 3 months after germ but probably at a better time of year too.

I put mine through the ringer. They go in full sun from the get go. Some are slow to start but it gets them strong imo.

Pictured are some old acuminata seeds I've scarified and left to soak in cold water. When dealing with a smaller amount of seeds my experience is this works really well for germ rates.

I find it depends on the species.. sometimes they start putting their first phyllode out after a month. I can't really give a concrete answer and can't really remember how long it took the maidenii. My early potting mix I had them in was no good so they took a lot longer than they would have using my current medium. Commercial seed raising mix has only resulted in stunted seedlings that took yonks to put out any phyllodes. Once I switched to coarse river sand, peat moss and perlite they now move quickly and have juicy vibrant pinnae thriving around the base as well. Had the same issue with my acuminata and was starting to think they don't like the climate here.. they are now going great. Growing medium is so important.. can't reiterate that enough! Smile

Wild gathered seed can vary in health.. but if your seed is healthy and your potting mix is good then it won't take much more than a month before you get your first phyllodes starting to form. The latest batch of floribunda sprouted around the 6th Nov and around the 20th Dec started putting out their phyllodes. But the unhealthy seed is going much slower and had yellow foliage from the beginning.. they are only just starting to pick up a bit and change colour.

Below is where they are at now.. on their right is a tray of Acacia caroleae which germinated at the same time. The floribunda is much faster growing.. but the caroleae puts out its first phyllodes earlier than floribunda - after about a month from sprouting
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TheAwakening
#17 Posted : 1/8/2024 4:32:05 AM

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Ahhh might be my potting mix. Although I have only down these a month ago, they seem to put out 2 bipinnate sets and then go kinda dormant which is something I noticed with acacia last time I tried growing them. My mix is 70% "native" commercial mix, 20% coir, 10% medium grain crushed granite and then topped with washed larger crushed granite to topdress. This is all with the microendemic NSW acacia, the mix also stunted the acuminata, floribunda and obtusifolia I grew yonks ago.

I'm used to acacias putting out a few bipinnate leaves and then stalling for ages, funny to think it might've been the medium all along. Considering whether it is worth repotting them or if it will just cause unnecessary stress at this point.
 
acacian
#18 Posted : 1/8/2024 4:42:22 AM

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Sounds like maybe your mix needs adjustment.. some native potting mixes probably aren't so well suited to growing certain Acacias. I would introduce some river sand into your mix if possible as it is great for drainage.. I've stopped using commercial potting mix all together - just coarse river sand, peat moss, perlite and if possible; a sprinkle of soil from the acacia's natural habitat. As far as native potting mixes go.. a lot of people I talk to recommend "searles native potting mix". But I don't find it necessary at this point.

What is their lighting situation? Make sure to avoid full sun while they are really little. They are sensitive when they are babies. A bit of shade and humidity gets really nice juicy foliage going.. which creates a great foundation for when you want to start hardening. My greenhouse has 70% shade cloth which is doing pretty good.. however I find now that they are getting a bit of height about them that they are happier with an hour or so of morning sun/fresh air

Like you, I also dress with granite/quartz gravel. I think its great for anchoring seeds, holds moisture and it looks pretty damn sexy around the base of the wattles! Something about having crushed granite and crystals around the base of the plants feels special. Smile

While your seedlings are really little I would probably not mix any gravel through your potting mix just yet.. but that's my preference.. I feel early on is good to let the tap root power down the pot - then when repotting I mix a little through. But that's just my approach.. I'd like to know what other's think of this? That's just my gut feeling. Since I use a very sandy mix I rely on the roots (as well as the peat moss) to hold the medium together. Otherwise it can easily get washed away. For this reason I prefer to water new sprouts gently with a mister instead of a watering can. It doesn't take long till it is held by the roots/peat moss. I think good to water germination trays with a mister as well

Sorry for the rant haha
 
TheAwakening
#19 Posted : 1/8/2024 5:01:03 AM

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Maybe I will pot them up into bigger pots because I'm not sure repotting them with more river soil would be ideal, would likely disturb their roots too much no? They get a few hrs of full sun. They seem healthy enough, just slow. Maybe I should put them in more shade..

Also, just in case you had not seen I have sent you a PM. All good if you got it already.
 
acacian
#20 Posted : 1/8/2024 5:08:34 AM

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Have you got some photos of your plants? Sorry just read your message. Happy to do that Thumbs up

Looks like a lot of those acuminata seeds may not be viable.. they should sink to the bottom
 
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