Two Research Projects at Yallaroo: The Persoonias are members of the Proteaceae family in company with Banksias, Grevilleas and Hakeas. Their common name is Geebung, although in Western Australia they are sometimes called Snottygobbles. Geebungs are common in the Australian bush and within the genus there are many species with horticultural potential. Unfortunately their propagation, from both seeds and cuttings, is extremely difficult. We are concentrating on cutting propagation using a range of hormone solutions. Double dipping is another avenue we are pursuing. The cuttings are dipped in a hormone solution or gel, allowed to dry and then dipped in a hormone powder. Another experiment uses a cutting of an easy to propagate species of the same family (we are using a Grevillea) in the same pot as the Persoonia cuttings. The theory being that chemicals released by the Grevillea, as roots are produced will stimulate root development in the Persoonia cuttings. Another method (yet to be tried) is to include soil, from under an existing Persoonia plant, in the cutting mix. The theory is that mycorrhizal activity will encourage root production. So far our results are not encouraging with only limited success. We have managed to strike a few Persoonia cornifolia. Any information on Persoonia propagation will be gratefully received.
Another more successful project is germinating seeds in kitchen paper sandwiches. This is a method used by a number of native plant enthusiasts. Seeds are placed in folded over moist kitchen paper and, in our case, placed in a sealed margarine container. When the seeds germinate and the roots are about one centimetre long they are potted on into individual tubes. This method has proved to be very successful with large seeds such as Banksias and Hakeas. We are about to try this method with Acacia seeds. Using paper sandwiches allows you to see exactly what is happening with your seeds.