Potting out the seedlings:

Potting out the seedlings:
When the seedlings are about
5 centimetres tall, or have two
or more true leaves, they may
be put out into separate pots or
tubes. Small pots or tubes may
be used, rather than larger pots,
to save the cost of soil or potting
mix. Potting mixes in pots may
dry out quickly and need to be
watered more often than pots
containing propagating mix.
1. Soak the seedlings in their
pot by placing it in a bucket
of water.
5. Place the newly potted
seedlings together on to a
large sheet of plastic in a
semi-shaded place. Better,
elevate the pots on a piece
of mesh so they can be ‘airpruned’. Water well.
6. Gradually move the seedlings, as they grow, out into full sun
(except for species that need very shaded conditions). This
sun-hardens them, making them ready for their final growth
7. Plant the seedlings out into their final home when their roots
have just filled the pot or tube. If you don’t have time to plant,
‘pot them on’ to bigger pots or tubes.
Note: native tubes, and elevating your plants, helps minimise
the chance of root coiling.
Planting into final positions:
2. Remove the propagating mix
with the seedlings, from the
3. Separate one seedling at
a time. Be careful not to
damage the roots.
Positions for new plants should be typical of those in which they
occur and grow best naturally. Sunlight or shade, wet or dry,
propagating mix and drainage are factors to consider.
Recent rain and high soil
moisture levels will give the
new plant a good start. In
dry and windy conditions it
may be necessary to water
new plants every few days
for several weeks. Away from
buildings, newspaper (6 or
more sheets thick) may be
placed around each plant
and mulch added to retain
moisture, keep roots cool and
to deter weed growth.
Newly planted and mulched.
Advantages of using locally
native species
Plant after 2 years
• they provide
appropriate food for
local fauna
• they provide suitable habitats and micro-habitats
for local fauna
• we are preserving the genetic pool of local
This brochure is one in the series,
Living with the Environment,
produced by Moreton Bay Regional Council.
These brochures feature the many
marvellous plants, animals and other natural
features of the region. They are designed to
help residents know, understand, love and
conserve our unique natural heritage.
Community Nurseries
Community nurseries sell good quality local native plants
from locally collected seed.
They also provide a great opportunity for volunteering
and learning about seed collecting and plant
Contact a nursery near you for more information and to
see how they can use your excess seed.
Visit www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au
• we are helping to preserve the natural Australian
landscape character of our area.
Pot-bound plant roots
Port of
• they are adapted to
local conditions
• they will not become
Moreton Bay
The use of locally native
plants in any plantings
is highly recommended
Place the plant and its pot in a bucket of water and wait for the
bubbles to stop rising. Spread the fingers of one hand over the top
of the pot with stem of the plant between the fingers. Invert the
pot and tap on the base
of the pot to remove the
Note: a very badly coiled
and damaged root
system will remain this
way once planted - it
will not `get better’. The
amount of time, effort
and money required to
maintain a plant once it
is in the ground means
that the quality of plant
as it goes in is of utmost
Clear away all weeds and unwanted grass for about half a metre
and, dig a hole just deeper and wider than the pot. In compacted
areas, the bigger the hole, the better the plant will grow. Loosened
soil is easier for plant roots to penetrate. Fill this with water.
If the roots are coiled
around each other they
should be gently prised
apart before planting.
4. Place each seedling into its
new pot or tube, pushing
in the propagating mix (or
potting mix) so that the roots
reach down towards the
bottom, and the base of the
stem is about 2cms from
the top rim of the pot. Make
sure roots are not coiled,
or they will grow this way.
Label each pot by writing the
plant name on the outside of
its pot.
Put the plant in so that it is slightly below the surrounding ground
level, and make a shallow dish in the soil so that rain will flow
towards the trunk of the plant.
Printed on Tudor RP. 100% Recycled.
Every tonne of Tudor RP sold, donates $100
to Landcare Australia. These funds are helping
restore old landfill sites around Australia.
© Moreton Bay Regional Council 2010
Growing Local
Native Plants
from Seeds
Importance of using
seeds of local plants
3. Collect only mature fruits/
pods/‘nuts’. Maturity of
fruits/pods is often indicated
by a colour change. Make
sure that they have not
already dried, opened and
released the seeds. Some
seeds can be collected under
or near the parent tree.
These, if fresh, will be ready
for planting.
Plants that are growing naturally in a particular area
are usually well adapted to the surrounding conditions.
They often differ genetically from plants of the same
species in other places.
By growing the locally-adapted variety (provenance) of
a species, we help to maintain its genetic diversity. The
greater the variation of characteristics within a species,
the greater its chances of survival in the future. Growing
your own native plants from seeds can be a rewarding
(and cheaper) option, especially if you have large areas
to plant.
Native orchids are protected
Native Plants
Native cycads are protected
Seed pods of native plants
Some rules for
collecting local
(Note: A fruit is a vessel containing seeds,
be fleshy or dry. Different fruits may require
different treatments before sowing.)
1. Collect fruits/seeds from several individual
plants of the species rather than only one plant.
This will ensure a greater variety of characteristics
in the seedlings.
2. Collect no more fruits/seeds than are needed (a
general rule of thumb is to collect less than 10%
of the seed on each individual plant). Seeds/
fruits are thus left on each parent plant for its own
reproduction in the habitat, and also as food or
other requirements for other organisms.
4. Seek permission from the
property owner. On public
land, A Seed Collectors
Permit, from the Department
of Environment and Resource
Management (3202 0200),
may be necessary for some
species (such as some ferns,
orchids, grass trees, cycads,
5. Before collecting the seeds,
have everything prepared for
their sowing. Plant them as
soon as the seeds have been
removed from the fruits (or
after any special treatment
that may be required).
Preparing the seeds for
A. Plants with seeds in dry pods, gum nuts, etc
(such as gum trees, bottlebrush, paperbarks, tea trees,
some banksias and grevilleas)
These plants have ‘seed pods’ that
dry as they ripen and require similar
conditions for seed germination.
Removing the seeds from the fruit
(seed pods/gum nuts, etc):
1. Place the ripe seed-pods in a
paper bag (not plastic), or in a
wide, open cardboard box and put
them in a warm dry place out of
the wind. Within a day to a week,
the pods will dry and open and
release the seed(s).
Note: Some seed pods (e.g. some banksias) will not open unless the
pods are heated to about three hundred degrees in an oven.
(such as gahnias, and some grasses and lomandras, some
grevilleas and banksias, etc.)
Preparing the seeds for germination:
Chaff (left) and seeds
2. Separate the seeds from the seed-pods and chaff. If the
seeds and chaff are very small, this may be difficult and time
consuming. Separating them is not critical, and the seed and
chaff can be sown together.
B. Plantswithseedsinfleshyfruit
1. Soak the seeds in water
for a few hours, then mix
the wet seeds among
some dry grass and/or
newspaper pieces.
2. In a safe place, set fire to
the grass and/or paper
and allow it to burn –
the smoke seems to
be the factor that aids
germination, so the
seeds do not have to be
3. Collect the smoked seeds and the remains of the burned
material for sowing together.
Preparing the seeds for germination:
Remove the flesh from the seeds by hand and
Sow seeds and burn dry leaf-litter on top of the tray. When the
fire is out but still smoking, water it to move the smoke through
the seed-raising mix.
Soak the seeds for 48 hours – this kills burrowing grubs,
1. Soak the whole fruit in a bucket of water – fermentation will
remove flesh, and appears to enhance germination of some
2. Remove flesh (try rubbing on a large sieve) and plant as soon
as possible - this avoids mould growing in the potting mix.
C. Plants with hard seeds in bean-like pods
(such as wattles)
Preparing the seeds for germination:
1. Put seeds in a cup and fill the
cup with boiling water.
2. Allow the seeds to soak for 24
Many plants with this type of seeds
may instead be germinated by
rasping through the outer skin of
the seed with the edge of a file.
Note: A combination of preparation methods may be used for
those species whose seeds do not respond.
SeedS of Some SPeCIeS (SUCh AS CyCAdS And
BLUe QUAndong) mAy TAke 12 monThS or more
To germInATe; So PATIenCe IS needed.
Germinating the seeds:
1. If the seeds are large and winged, use sharp scissors to cut off
the wings – this may aid germination.
2. Fill a seed raising tray, punnet, or plant pot (s) with moist,
seed-raising (propagation) mix. Sifted potting mix or a homemade mix of clean sand and compost can be used (and will be
more economical than store bought seed-raising mix) Ensure
the compost is well rotted and weed-seed free. Seeds need
oxygen for respiration or they suffocate and die. To improve
aeration, seed raising mixes usually have quite a bit of sand or
3. Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the soil. If the
seeds are very tiny they can be mixed with sand as an aid to
even spreading. (If seeds are very large, one per pot may be
4. Sprinkle the propagation
mix over the seeds to a
depth of a few millimetres
for the smaller seeds and
to a few centimetres for
larger ones, and press down
5. Push a label (eg made by
cutting up a plastic icecream container) into the
soil at the edge of the pot.
Permanent ink or ‘lead’
pencil can be used to
record the species, date
and locality of collection,
and the date of planting.
6. Keep the planted seeds in
a place where they receive
morning sun for about
an hour or two each day.
Use a spray bottle or fine
sprinkle nozzle to water. In
colder months, water during
the morning; in warmer
times, water during the late