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Leucadendron sessile is an easy-to-grow fynbos shrub that turns bright yellow during winter and spring. Leucadendrons are often overlooked, in favour of their close relatives, the proteas and pincushions, yet they are well worth a place in the garden as they are often easier to grow and have decorative brightly coloured foliage.
Leucadendron sessile is a 6-12' tall, rounded, dense, bushy shrub arising from a single stem at ground level, and usually branching low down. Branches are stout and short. Like all leucadendrons this species is dioecious, i.e. male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. The leaves hairless but not shiny, with red margins and tipped with a blunt, red, recurved point. The leaves increase in size and become more crowded towards the end of the stems. Another characteristic of leucadendrons is the way the leaves that surround the inflorescence, known as the involucral leaves, turn a different colour while the plant is in flower. In Leucadendron sessile the involucral leaves are yellow reddening with age, and the male plants are usually a brighter yellow than the female. Flowering time is mid-winter to early spring
The best time to sow is in fall or spring. Choose the season that gives the seedlings the most time to grow under favourable conditions. For example, if your summer is very hot and dry, but your winter is moderate and wet - sowing in autumn will give the seedlings a whole winter and spring to become strong before the harsh summer. In colder climates, it is best to sow in spring so that plants can become hardy before the frosts of winter.
Plant each seed in a 500 ml plastic seedling bag. Fill the bag with a well-drained acidic soil mixture with a pH of about 5.5. You can make the mixture out of : 2 parts coarse river sand, 2 parts peat or decomposed pine needles, and 1 part vermiculite or perlite. It is important that the soil mixture drains well. Water should run right through the filled tray, but the soil mixture should be such that it retains moisture and remains damp between waterings. The seeds/seedlings should never be allowed to dry out. The vermiculite helps retain moisture. It helps if the soil mixture is sterilised, ridding the soil of fungus, eggs, larvae and pathogens that might harm the seeds or the seedlings. The simplest method is to drench your soil mixture with boiling water before planting the seeds. This is best done on a flat, hard surface and has the added benefit of leveling out the soil. The drainage of the seed tray should ensure that after about 15 minutes, the soil is evenly damp. If there are any soggy patches or water pooled on the top, then your drainage is not sufficient. The boiling water kills germinating weed seeds, insect larvae, snail and slug eggs and fungal spores