Farm-based methods for control of flowering in Waratahs

The University of Sydney

  • Project code: PRJ-006160

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, June 24, 2011

  • Project completion date: Friday, May 30, 2014

  • National Priority: NEPI-Industry building and connectivity


Extending the commercial waratah flowering season outside the current 5-6 week range has long been a major goal for development of the waratah industry. However precise information on the environmental cues which initiate and control flowering are unknown, resulting in unpredictable yields and profitability. This project aims to provide an understanding of the mechanisms that control flowering and use the information to extend the timing of anthesis to meet peak demand periods, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, when premium prices are be paid for red inflorescences. By understanding the phenology of flowering, the potential impacts of climate change on natural and commercial stands of waratah can be better understood and managed.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney

Objective Summary

Aim: The aim of this project is to understand the environmental cues which initiate and control flowering in waratahs and to use that information to improve profitability through better prediction of yield and extension of flowering season.

Objectives: The project will examine the contribution of temperature (growing degree hours), day length, age, size and nutritional status of stems to flower induction, initiation and development in six waratah cultivars. Based on that information, we will investigate the influence of growth regulators and canopy management in manipulating timing of anthesis.

Specifically the expected outcomes are:
• understanding environmental cues that control flowering in waratah cultivars
• increased profitability through ability to predict and manage flowering more precisely
• recommendations for pruning and canopy management to produce high quality blooms for target markets
• an understanding of the effect of growth regulators to manipulate timing of flowering
• improved ability to match selected cultivar performance to specific growing regions
• reduction of oversupply in Spring and ability to capitalise on early and late season prices
• new understanding of environmental influences on waratah flowering and the potential impacts of climate change.