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Xanthorrhoea preissii

Common Black Boy

A curious plant from Western Australia with a stocky trunk to 7 m (23 ft.) tall that holds a bristly crown of long, hard, narrow, needle-like leaves that remind of a large tuft of grass. It is common in areas with frequent brush fires that leave the trunk blackened, hence the common name. Growth is slow, about 1 m (3 ft.) in 30 years, but plants are robust and very drought tolerant and can take some frost with ease. It does best in warm temperate climates and prefers a place in sun on well drained ground.

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germination comments by our visitors
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Seeds from this species ...

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I use a potting mix with an air fill porosity of 25% which is made up of 1 part hammer mill bark, 1 part fine - medium course quartz sand with a little sulphate of iron and trace elements. I allow this mixture to mature for 6 weeks and then add very minimal slow release fertiliser. I sow the seeds in autumn, in tubes of good depth - 1 seed per tube - and place them in an unheated poly-tunnel with regular watering, according to temperature. I have used this same method a number of times in the last 6 years, always with a germination rate of at least 90%. I do not soak the seeds or scarify them. Neither do I use any other germination techniques that have made the slightest difference. I have used seed that is up to 3 years old which has always been kept cool and perfectly dry.
Submitted on 01/06/2010 by Anna

... are difficult to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
The Xanthorrhoea preissii often takes a bush fire to break down the seed skin enough for nature to take its course. Though the plant is good out in the sun it is also a woodsy type plant. Its natural habitat is poor soil, dry and semi shaded where I have seen them grow abundantly. To grow difficult seeds like these, I first score the outer shell with either sand paper or a file, and then soak the seeds in a strong tea for three days. place in moist sand and keep in a moist condition, forget about them and you will one day in a few months see them come out of the ground.
Submitted on 04/04/2007 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
soak seeds in water for two days, sow at a shallow depth, keep at room temp, seeds start sprouting in 10 days, good air circulation i feel is important.
Submitted on 03/09/2005 by Mark Piskulic jamsam@xtra.co.nz

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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