Templetonia retusa (Cocky’s Tongue)

Templetonia Retusa

Templetonia Retusa

This lovely shrub is very hardy and well worth a place in a shrubbery. It can grow to 2m high  and 3 m wide although I have never seen this size in garden conditions. It can be pruned and this will keep it to a reasonable size.

There are large, red pea shaped flowers very attractive to birds and butterflies, during winter and spring. This is a hardy plant suitable for front line coast and inland situations. It is moderately frost tolerant and requires good drainage. This can be achieved by creating a planting mound at least 5-10cm higher than the surrounding soil, if drainage is a problem. Templetonia retusa is found in South Australia and Western Australia. More information can be found here and here.


8 Responses to “Templetonia retusa (Cocky’s Tongue)”

  1. Trish says:

    I live on a north west facing hill in Sydney & have little frost. Also have a lot of gums to provide protection & the steep hill provides good drainage. Liked your article think I will give it a go.

  2. fergus says:

    Where can I find a book with native Aust plants to show my gardening customers,
    needs to be easy to read?



  3. Glenda Robertson says:


    I have a cockys tongue growing in my garden (near Melbourne airport) which has been in drought and very windy. It would be over three feet tall and was grown from a seed. Be aware that grubs love it and strip all the foliage but it comes back again in spring.

  4. joan says:

    I have one of these plants, this year it has been covered in flowers what a beautiful sight, thinking of getting another one. [South Australia,] I had caterpillars in it last year and sprayed it with fly spray, and to my surprise it came back with a lovely show. I recommend this for native garden does not need to be watered often.

  5. Jeff says:

    I have it growing in Canberra. SUrvives the winter but early flowers can be burnt by frost. IT will strike from cuttings

  6. Dianna Franke says:

    i have this plant would like to grow some from seed, do you have to do anything in particular to the seed before sowing?

  7. Sandra Shorne says:

    6 weeks ago I planted one of these but I fear it is not growing at all. The leaves are folding inward. Is there something I should do to encourage growth or is it just a matter of time . Appreciate any suggestions I don’t want it to die.

  8. I live in the wheatbelt in Western Australia and it can get very cold in winter. I have 5 Cocky’s Tongue in a pot and wondering when will be the best time to put them in the ground, end winter/spring or now, thank you.

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