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STARTING OUT: Growing tips for your Protea

by Elizabeth Peters April 18, 2013 1 Comment





(including Leucospermum, Leucadendron, Protea, Banksia, Telopea, Serruruia)
Here are some general "Growing 101" tips to help with growing your new Protea plants.
For more reference, please see Lewis Matthews' Protea Book: A Guide to Cultivated Proteaceae. Click here for more information.

To view our collection of Proteas, please click here.


Important: Your plants have been growing in a climate-controlled greenhouse and then shipped in a dark box. DO NOT put them outside in full sun immediately after unpacking. They will need time to adjust to outdoor light levels. Put the plants in the shade under a dense tree or other protected area for a 5-7 days before moving them into full sun.


Soil: In habitat, Proteas are found in soil that is very nutrient poor and do not tolerate a lot of fertilizer. Proteas are particularly sensitive to phosphorus (the second number in the three number formula on fertilizer labels). It is a good idea to only use very weak, organic fertilizer (fish emulsion, for example) or none at all. Proteas will overdose on too much fertilizer and die. It might be a good idea to amend the potting mix with aluminum sulphate to lower the pH. Proteas like very well-drained soils with a pH of 3.5-6.5. A good mix would be 1 part bark, 1 part pumice, 1 part sand.


Water: They cannot tolerate sitting in water. They like plenty of water, but the planting mix must be VERY well-drained. It is important not to forget to water during dry spells.


Sun: Proteas like full sun and prefer not to be crowded. They are large shrubs and tend to grow straggly and unkempt when crowded in a planting bed.


Never cultivate under Proteas that are growing in the garden. They have many sensitive roots very close to the soil surface. It could seriously set the plant back if the roots were damaged. Any weeds should be pulled or cut.

Elizabeth Peters
Elizabeth Peters


1 Response


April 13, 2015

I am trying my hand at starting a protea garden here in Charleston SC. Will the hot, humid climate allow these to thrive or am I delusional? I have a number of varieties started from seed and they are doing well in pots – I want to put them into a raised garden. Thoughts?

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