Can I collect viable seed from Protea?
Yes, however this is difficult and not always successful. Flower heads must be left on the plant for 9-12 months after flowering for seed to develop. Cut and then dry the flower head after this time. Seeds may be found in the base of the flower head. Plant out seeds as soon as possible in a coarse propagation mix. Seeds from the Protea genus germinate in 6-10 weeks.
Can I grow a Protea in an old flower bed?
Only if no phosphorus fertiliser has been previously used. Proteas are best grown away from plants requiring regular feeding. See section on Growing Proteas for more detail.
Can I grow any Protea in clay soils?
Certain varieties tolerate "heavy soil". These are noted as such in our full variety listing. When planting, prepare the soil by digging in gypsum and homemade compost (no added fertilisers). Mound planting site to aid drainage. Use mulch and do not overwater after the first year of establishment.
How long will my Protea live for?
The average life span of Proteas, Leucadendrons and Leucospermums is 15 to 20 years. Whilst King Proteas can live up to 100 years!!!
I have an established Protea plant. Can I move it?
No, Proteas do not have a dormant period and dislike root disturbance. If you still want to try, here are some pointers to improve your chances of success:
- move the plant during winter.
- prune the plant, reducing it by about one third.
- take as large a rootball as possible.
- water well into new position. Keep soil damp and use mulch.
I live in a frosty area, when is the best time of year to plant?
Plant in Spring after you would expect the last moderate frost (September or October). Be sure to select varieties noted as frost tolerant on the Our Plants page.
In the Southern Hemisphere will Proteas grow on a Southern facing fence?
No, there is not enough sun to produce flowers and Leucadendrons will not get any colour.
Is pruning necessary? When do I prune?
Yes. Proteas can become untidy if let go. Cut the flowers each year and give the plant a good tidy up. It's easy, check out how on Growing Proteas page.
My King Protea has red spots on the leaves.
There are many causes of this, here are some possible solutions:
- feed the plant with slow release fertiliser for "natives" in Spring.
- ensure the plant is watered during summer.
- the plant should be exposed to sunlight all day.
- avoid clay soils / add gypsum to break up the soil and improve drainage.
My Protea is getting too big, how can I contain it?
Large proteas can be cut back in stages. Prune back one third of the plant to the desired size. Let the plant recover for 6 months before pruning the second third. Waiting another 6 months before completing the final third. This staged process reduces the stress on the plant.
My Waratah (Telopea) has damaged leaves, showing signs of blistering and trails over the leaves.
This is most probably leaf miner. Ask you nursery to recommend a systemic (absorbed into the plant) insecticide.
My Waratah (Telopea) is not growing.
Waratahs prefer some protection from the wind and sun, and need watering during summer. Feed during early Spring with slow release native fertiliser. If your soil is clay you will need to add gypsum to break it up and improve drainage.
Should I feed my Protea?
In most cases Protea don’t need feeding. Please refer to Growing your Proteaflora Plant.
Should I water my Protea?
All varieties should be watered well during their first 2 summers. After that, those shown on the label as drought resistant can be watered much less e.g. monthly during dry periods. If Proteas are being grown in tubs water daily. See section on Growing Proteas for detail on watering.
What if my nursery doesn’t have the product I want?
Our products are seasonal so not all varieties are available at all time. However please speak to your local nursery. They can enquire with us as to availability of varieties that are not in stock.
Why does my Protea not flower/ buds develop but don’t open?
There are a number of possible causes. The most common ones are:
- The plant is not receiving enough sun light.
- The plant has been pruned too frequently or at the wrong time.
- There has been a stress event (drying out, heavy frost etc.).
- There is a nutrient problem.
For more information relating to these and answers please refer to the Growing your Proteaflora plant page.
Will any Protea grow in semi shade?
Some Proteaflora plants will tolerate semi shade. See Our Plants section to find out which varieties can be grown in these areas.
Will proteas grow in clay soils?
Clay soils are not ideal for any Protea. Some will tolerate heavy soils quite well. Always try to break up heavy soils with gypsum and organic matter. Please see the Our Plants page for more details.