How to grow
Part sun is best as only a few waratahs tolerate full or afternoon sun. Protect from wind. To ensure good airflow around plants, avoid crowding.
Waratahs thrive in free-draining, preferably slightly acid soil, with material such as a leaf compost blended in. Don't plant into clay soil as they won't tolerate wet feet. Instead, create a raised planting mound with a suitable soil, or grow in a large pot.
Waratahs enjoy a sunny spot in the garden away from wind.
Keep waratahs moist but not wet during hot or dry periods. Mulch well with an organic material such as a leaf litter. Waratah's can be know to rot without proper drainage, be sure to also avoid root disturbance.
Keep your eyes out for pests, specifically the macadamia nut borer which appears in autumn to eat its leaves.
After flowering, trim the canes back by half their length or three quarters. Established plants can be trimmed back to the swollen base of their trunks, called a lignotuber, to bring on new growth.
Once your plant reaches 10 years old cut back the canes completely to the lignotuber (swollen base).
Start watering waratahs in spring and stop in late autumn making sure to avoid watering in winter when the shrub is dormant. To reach their full potential waratahs need plenty of water during their growing people (spring and summer) paired with low phosphorus native plant food.
Waratahs need room to strech out their roots and with the right care, waratahs can grow up to the towering height of four metres and three meters wide.
Rather than digging a large hole and filling it with plating mix or your waratah (which will slowly drown it) be sure to thoroughly dig over the soil and add leaf mulch over the are and in the hole instead.
There are several magnificent varieties of waratahs including Brimstone Starfire which can only be propagated by stem cuttings. Another is a yellow form of the Tasmanian waratah crossed with a New South Wales type. The hybrid varieties are more adaptable.
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