of the month
protea, leucadendron, leucospermum
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Protea spp.: King Protea, Queen Protea, Prince Protea, Princess
Protea, Duchess Protea, Jester Protea, Mink Protea,
Ray-flowered Protea, Spoon Protea, Sugarbush Protea
Leucadendron spp.: Conebush, Silver balls, Silver tree, Spinning
Leucospermum spp.: Pincushion, Pin-cushion flower
Proteas have numerous flowers in cone-or dome-shaped heads that
are surrounded by stiff, colorful bracts. They are available in
hues of red, white, pink, fuchsia, green and bicolors.
Leucadendrons grow as showy trees and shrubs. Like Proteas, they
have stiff, colorful bracts that surround conelike flower heads.
They are available in hues of red, burgundy, green, yellow and
Leucospermums look like pincushions filled with pins. Their
colors include red, orange, yellow and bicolors.
Each bloom cycle will last for several weeks. The plants may
bloom several times a year with proper care and favorable
conditions. The plants can survive for years, depending on the
Some varieties are available year-round, but supplies will vary.
Order in advance to ensure availability.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright, indirect light
is best for plants displayed indoors. Full sun is tolerated
outdoors. The best flowering will be exhibited on plants grown
in full sun.
WATER Water the plants well,
and allow them to dry between watering. Avoid irregular
watering, overhead watering and standing water on the foliage
and flowers. Overwatering can cause root or crown rot.
TEMPERATURE Warm areas (65 F
to 75 F) are best for displaying these plants.
HUMIDITY Moderate humidity
FERTILIZER The plants
shouldn’t need fertilizer. If you do use fertilizer, do not
apply one that has phosphorous or ammonium nitrates. Small
amounts of ammonium sulphate dissolved in water is a better
SOIL These plants thrive in
well-drained, sandy potting mixes. Soil that contains decomposed
granite is ideal.
GROOMING Remove faded
flowers and leaves. These plants naturally stay fairly compact
WHAT'S IN A NAME Carl
Linnaeus, the famous Swedish botanist, named Proteas after the
Greek sea god Proteus, who had the ability to assume many
different forms, in reference to the genus’ diversity of flowers
“Leucadendron” comes from the Greek words “leukos” for “white”
and “dendron” for “tree,” referring to the silvery-colored
foliage on some species.
“Leucospermum” comes from the Greek “leukos” for “white” and
“sperma” for “seed.”
Leucadendrons and Leucospermums are members of the Proteaceae
family. Relatives include Banksias and Grevillea (spider flower,
silky oak). There are more than 1,400 naturally occurring
species of this plant family.
HOME SWEET HOME Proteas,
Leucadendrons and Leucospermums are native to South Africa.
Today, they are commercially grown in Australia, New Zealand,
Israel, Portugal and the United States.
Some information provided by:
Ben Gill, California Protea Management,
California Protea Association,
Chain of Life Network®,
The Flower Expert,
Hawaii Tropical Flower Council,
International Protea Association,
San Marcos Growers,
Photos courtesy of Nurserymen’s Exchange, Inc.
You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2008
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.