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An attractive, scented, bushy shrub of the Proteaceae family, Leucadendron tinctum makes a delightful display in a fynbos garden.
Leucadendron tinctum is a perennial, bushy shrub growing up to 1.3 m tall. The plant grows from a single stem at the base with side branches bearing oblong, elliptical leaves. The leaves are a pale grey-green and during flowering, end in colourful bracts which surround the inflorescence. The male and female inflorescences are borne on separate plants. The flowers are arranged up of a single terminal head. The male flowerhead is yellow, whereas the female flowerhead is a shiny maroon surrounded by 50 oily basal scales. The flowering period for the spicy conebush is in July. Flowers have a pleasant spicy, musk scent, which gives rise to its common name. The female fruiting cones are maroon and contain round nut-like fruits.
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