It is our hope that, together with the growing awareness of being water-wise and that of an organic approach to gardening, more and more gardeners will begin to show interest in all aspects of growing proteas . There are still many incorrect opinions about growing proteas which need to be challenged. Yes, they are slow growers. And yes, they do not live forever. And Yes, they cannot easily be transplanted.
And for this reason alone, if for no other, they should not be taken out of the roadside or mountainside or ANYWHERE that you see them growing. It’s a death sentence for the plant as proteas, like most Fynbos, cannot tolerate having their roots disturbed.
On the other hand, if you follow a few basic steps you are guaranteed to grow proteas very successfully.
Find a sunny place in your garden where the plant may enjoy Full Sun, if possible. The soil needs to be sandy and well drained and needs to be Nutrient Poor. You should NOT add any Bonemeal, Fertilizer or Compost when planting. And the root base of the plant must not be disturbed when planting – do not loosen the roots!
The hole in which you intend planting should be no larger than the container in which you have acquired the plant.
Water well and do not push the plant into position. Rather hose the sand in around your new plant. Then acquire the habit of giving it a litre of water per week. Proteas cannot be planted and just left to the ‘weather‘ or the climate. They will appreciate the watering provided that the soil drains well and that their ’feet’ are not permanently wet.
Proteas will need a litre of water per week per year of age of plant. So, in their first year they will reward you if you provide them with a litre of water per week. In their second year they will need Two litres of water per week and in the third year, Three litres of water per week ……
Proteas are Not Frost Hardy and you will need to offer some protection to your plants if your locality is at risk of periodic Frost.
NEVER fiddle around their roots. Don’t be tempted to aerate the soil!
Well composted bark or old pine needles make an excellent mulch around the plant and keeps in a little moisture whilst providing the acidity which the plants need. Place these as a mulch but NOT in the hole with the roots directly in contact with the additive.
We cannot over-emphasize that you should AVOID Bonemeal.
If you have any concerns about your plant, please contact us for advice. Similarly, when the time for pruning arrives, we will expect your call. If you harvest your blooms it is usually enough pruning in a garden situation but please check by calling us.
Protea plants do not perform well in a potted environment. They may look great for a couple of years but then begins the downward trend…… they want to be free and in contact with other plants. They are Social plants and enjoy the company of other plants. They do not have competitive root systems.
Be brave,creative and courageous. You will be overjoyed at what your plant will deliver. The flowering and display is well worth the wait!
Plant different varieties which flower at different times of the year so that you always have some proteas, leucospermums or leucadendrons in flower. You should be able to have flowers throughout the year with November and December being the two months with the least availability.