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Products > Templetonia retusa
Templetonia retusa - Coral Bush
Image of Templetonia retusa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Templetonia retusa (Coral Bush) A dense rounded shrub to 6 feet tall and wide with 1 to 1 1/2-inch-long oblong gray-green leaves with a blunt tip. In winter into spring appear the 1 1/2-inch-long rich red colored pea flowers at the branch tips with the wings and keel petals held upright and the large standard flared downwards. The flowers are followed in late summer by flattened dark brown pea pods.

Plant in full sun to partial shade in a well-drained soil. Cold hardy to temperatures down to 20-22 F. It tolerates both alkaline soil and wind and salty coastal conditions. An interesting, durable and attractive shrub that should be planted more often.

Coral Bush comes from areas with limestone soils and is generally tolerant of higher pH soils than many Australian plants and it also is resistant to salt spray near the beach. Prune or shear lightly after flowering to promote a more compact growth habit. An attractive and hardy plant in the California Garden. It is found growing naturally in coastal woodlands in South Australia and Western Australia. The name for the genus honors John Templeton (17661825), who is often referred to as the "Father of Irish Botany". The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'retusus' which means "dull" or "blunt" in reference to the blunt and often notched tips of the leaves. Other common names include "Cockies Tongues" and "Cocky's Tongues" though this reference is lost on us. Cocky was a somewhat derogatory slang name for a farmer that was an abbreviation of "cockatoo farmer". We first saw this plant growing at < href= target="_blank">Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria, California in the the Australian plant garden at this nursery that was designed and installed by Jo O'Connell of < href= target="_blank">Australian Native Plant Nursery. 

This information about Templetonia retusa displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.