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Leucospermum praecox 4" pot

Large Tufted Pincushion. Mossel Bay Pincushion. This rare, very showy pincushion is listed as Threatened on the Red Data List due to farming and development that are destroying habitat. The flowers start as a bright, lemon yellow and age darker to red creating a stunning, multi-colored effect on the shrub. It produces many flower and often has four flowers per branch tip. An excellent cut flower commercially and in the garden, the blooms last for weeks in water. The Large Tufted Pincushion is pollinated by sunbirds in South Africa and is very attractive to hummingbirds everywhere else! A fast grower, it benefits from pruning and pinching to keep it bushy and compact. Blooms fall through spring.

(Proteaceae) Leucospermum=white seed, praecox=early or premature, because the bush flowers so early.


Light: Full sun.

Water: Moderate. It is important to water in the summer when it is very dry particularly when grown in a container. Pincushions send down long tap roots when growing in the wild to reach deep water, so they are not particularly drought tolerant.

Soil: Fast draining and nutrient poor. Prefers an acid pH, but will tolerate more alkaline soils. Be careful not to disturb the roots and never cultivate around the base of the plants. Mulching helps to conserve moisture and keep down weeds.

Fertilizer: Use a very low phosphorus (or no phosphorus), slow-release fertilizer, or a mild organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion. Like all Proteaceae, it will not tolerate phosphorus. In areas with more alkaline soil, they benefit from an application of aluminum sulfate to lower the soil pH.

Hardiness: USDA Zone 9

Second photo courtesy of Derek Keats

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