Tasmanian Waratah (Telopea truncata)


Telopea truncata, commonly known as the Tasmanian Waratah, is a shrub or small tree endemic to Tasmania, Australia. It is a member of the Proteaceae family and is renowned for its striking red flowers. It is found on moist acidic soils at 600 to 1200 m.

Telopea truncata is a component of alpine eucalypt forest, rainforest and scrub communities. It grows as a multi-stemmed shrub to a height of 3 metres or occasionally as a small tree to 10 m high, with red flower heads, known as inflorescences, appearing over late spring and summer and bearing 10 to 35 individual flowers.

Yellow-flowered forms are occasionally seen but do not form a population distinct from the rest of the species.

Here is some helpful information for growing Telopea truncata:

Tree Height and Spread: Telopea truncata can grow up to 6 meters in height and has a spread of 2-4 meters. It can be grown as a multi-stemmed shrub or a small tree with a single trunk. Expect sizes of 1.5 to 2 metres and a spread of up to 2 metres in most garden settings.

Preferred Soil Type and pH: Telopea truncata prefers well-draining soils that are acidic to slightly acidic, with a pH range of 5.0 to 6.5. It can tolerate a range of soil types, from sandy to loamy to clay soils, but it prefers soils rich in organic matter. Adding organic matter such as compost or leaf litter is recommended when planting in heavy clay soils to improve soil structure and drainage.

Light and Temperature: Telopea truncata requires full sun to flower well, but it can also tolerate some light shade. In its natural habitat, it can withstand temperatures as low as -7°C  and as high as 40°C. However, it prefers a cool and moist climate, and in areas with hot and dry summers, it will require regular watering.

Watering and Fertilizing: Telopea truncata requires regular watering during the growing season, especially during hot and dry periods. It prefers moist soil but cannot tolerate waterlogged conditions. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so ensuring good drainage is essential. Applying a slow-release fertilizer in early spring and again in early summer can help promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.

Pruning and Maintenance: Telopea truncata does not require much pruning except removing dead or damaged branches. It is essential to avoid heavy pruning as it can reduce flowering in the following season. Regular mulching around the base of the plant can help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth.

Pests and Diseases: Telopea truncata is generally quite resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can be susceptible to fungal diseases such as Phytophthora, root rot and leaf spot if the soil is too wet. Good drainage and proper watering practices can help prevent these issues. Aphids and spider mites can occasionally be a problem, but they can usually be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Propagation: Telopea truncata can be propagated by seed or by cuttings. Seeds should be sown in autumn and require a period of cold stratification before germination. Cuttings can be taken in summer or autumn, requiring rooting hormone and a well-draining potting mix.

Telopea truncata is a beautiful and relatively easy plant to grow with the right conditions. It prefers acidic to slightly acidic, well-draining soils, full sun, and regular watering during the growing season. Its striking red flowers and evergreen foliage make it an excellent addition to any native garden or landscape.

Weight 3 kg
Dimensions 50 × 14 × 10 cm
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1 to 2 metres, 2 to 4 metres, 4 to 6 metres

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0.5 to 1 metre, 1 to 2 metres

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