Waratah – The New South Wales Floral Emblem
There is no doubt that Australia is a rich country. In fact, each state and territory has different floral emblem. For New South Wales, their floral emblem is Waratah or Telopea speciosissim. It was proclaimed last October 24, 1962. Robert Brown is the one who named the plant.
Waratah belongs to the family of Proteaceae. The meaning of its name according to Greek is “seen a far”. Perhaps, this is because, you will already see the flower even a few distances. It can be considered as a tree or a shrub which can grow up to 3 meters tall. The birds act as the pollinator. You will witness its flowers from September to November. It produces red flowers.
How to Grow Waratah?
- You should place it in a sunny area, especially in the morning. However, during autumn season, you should protect it against the wind.
- You can either plant it in the ground or in a pot. When choosing to plant it in a pot, you should make sure that the plant is large enough. If you will plant it is the ground, see to it that it has 1.5 meter apart from the other plants.
- The roots should be protected by putting sandstone, rocks, and gravel.
- When selecting for the right soil, it prefers to thrive in a sandy soil. Make sure that the soil well drained.
- Choose a Waratah, which is 15 centimeters tall if you will. You can either use its seeds or from cuttings. You can expect flowers to grow after 2 years if you will choose to plant from cutting. If you will choose seeds, flowers will bloom after five years.
- Never forget to water your Waratah regularly. In fact, you should not leave the roots to dry out. You can apply mulch with composted leaf into the soil because this will prevent the root from drying.
- You should not forget to fertilize your Waratah by using low phosphorous. This will protect the plant during winter and early spring.
- Once your Waratah already grows, you need to prune it. In this way, you will be able to see more flowers as it will grow more.
Other Things To Remember
- You need a lignotuber to grow Waratah. It should be put at the level of the soil. The lignotuber will be used so that the soil and the stem will meet. This contains the dormant buds and adaptation to bushfire. In this way, the plant will surely survive.
- You need to make sure that your Waratah has enough space for its roots to grow.
- Do not do overwatering because it will cause fungal infection. During the late autumn and winter, don’t water them because the shrub at this time is dormant. You can begin watering when the weather becomes warm at spring time.
- The soil should be covered with sandstones, rocks, and gravel so that the roots will become cooler. You should protect it from wind especially during its flower season so that you will prevent it from bract burn.
Other 4 Species or Telopea
The Monga Waratah – Telopea mongaensis
The Victorian Waratah – Telopea oreades
The Tasmanian Waratah – Telopea truncata
‘The most magnificent plant which the prolific soil of New Holland affords is, by common consent, both of Europeans and Natives, the Waratah. It is moreover a favourite with the latter, upon account of a rich honeyed juice which they sip from its flowers’. Sir James Smith (1759-1828)