What you need to know about Wattles
In the lead up to writing this article I came to realise that the plant that I am about to write about is without a doubt one of the most underrated plants in existence. The Wattle is in a league of its own as a plant that is:
- Bird attracting
- Fast growing
- Has beautiful flowers
- Is water wise
- Comes in many shapes and sizes
- Is tolerant of most conditions
- Takes little maintenance
- Has its own national day
- Is the basis of an entire countries sporting colours (green and gold)
- And is the national floral emblem of Australia.
Talk about an impressive resume. So if you are thinking about planting a Wattle in your garden this National Wattle day (September 1st) then here is what you need to know about one of the world most amazing and underrated plants.
The genus Acacia is part of the Mimosaceae family and has and has almost 1000 species in Australia alone which vary dramatically from the dwarf veriaties to 15 meter high trees. Wattles are fast growers and the yellow flowers come in either tiny tennis ball like pompoms or arranged in cylindrical spikes. Three popular varieties are the dwarf Acacia “limelight”, Acacia Vestita and Acacia Pycnantha which is the Australian floral emblem.
What to do before planting
Acacias are fast growers and most are around 2-3 meters high so you need to take that into consideration before driving down to your local nursery. Once you have bought your plant position it in a spot that has plenty of sunlight, a well drained soil and plenty of room to grow. Wattles will not need a lot of encouragement to grow so fertiliser isn’t necessary but a nice deep hole with some compost of manure at the bottom of is certainly won’t hurt.
What to do after planting
Wattles will need watering until they are established but after that natural rainfall will most likely be enough. Pruning helps keep wattles bushy and prolongs their life but stay away from pruning anything thicker then the size of a pencil. A light prune after flowering should do the trick, if you are experiencing die back then raise the crown by removing the bottom branches to let some light into the base.
The easy way to grow from seeds!
Wattles are relatively easy to grow from seeds, which is great considering that some wattles only have a life expectancy of around 7-12 years. To propagate from seed
- Place seeds in a cup of boiling water and let them sit for 30 seconds
- Pour out the hot water and place the seeds in cold water for 12 hours. This will allow the seeds to swell over that time.
- After 12 hour simply remove any seeds that have not swollen and immediately plant the remaining seeds into a pot or punnet containing seed raising soil.
- Keep in a warm sunny spot and water enough to keep the soil damp. That’s it!
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