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Gardening with Wattles
Why Wattles? | Propagation | Landscaping | Recommended species
Why Wattles?

Acacia triptera by D. Hardin Wattles are a popular garden plant. Unfortunately, some of the species available commercially may not be the most suitable for home gardens. Planted wattles can escape from gardens, parks and roadside verges and invade natural areas. In particular, Cootamundra Wattle Acacia baileyana, Queensland Silver Wattle Acacia podalyriifolia and Orange Wattle Acacia saligna are all fast growing and readily germinate from seed. They often spread into adjacent bushland and should not be grown near such locations. This also applies to Cedar Wattle Acacia elata when grown in higher rainfall areas outside its natural distribution range. These species may also grow to small tree size, or larger in the case of Acacia elata, and may be difficult to remove when older. A careful selection of suitable species should be made. Generally, it is preferable that shrub-sized species be selected. Many wattles will respond to tip pruning after flowering and before new growth commences. This will maintain a more compact shrub and at the same time prolong the life of the plant.

Acacia asparagoides by D. Hardin Wattles are particularly beneficial as nursery garden plants. That is, because of their fast growth rate and tolerance of full sun, they provide protection and shelter for other young plants. They also aid the growth of other plants by contributing to the nitrogen content of the soil. Besides their obvious value as a spectacular spring flowering plant, some species may be selected for flowering at other times of the year such as summer or winter. Wattles can also be used to provide contrasting foliage texture and colour in a garden. If seed is collected from the bush, a few pods are generally sufficient; the plant should not be stripped of its seed supply.

Acacia elongata by J. Plaza Acacia pubescens by J. Plaza

Written and compiled by Phillip Kodela, Terry Tame, Barry Conn, Ken Hill, Linn Linn Lee
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