Plant proteas this summer
The best of proteas and pincushions have been bred into a range of hybrid varieties especially designed for local gardens.
Planning on adding ecologically indigenous water wise plants to your garden this summer? Now is the time to choose the celebrity’ plants of our fynbos region, proteas and pincushions (Leucospermum spp.). All thrive in the poor and acidic soils and their blooms will attract a variety of nectar-loving birds into your garden. Proteas and pincushions are also suitable for low maintenance, low water gardens and there are now hybrids that flower at different times of the year.
What is the key to success when planting proteas and pincushions?
- Plant in a sunny position and make sure air circulates freely around the plant - they thrive in a windy location.
- They thrive in sandy, acidic, well drained and rocky soils.
- Plant in a hole twice the size of the container.
- Organic fertilisers are recommended, as chemical fertilisers with a phosphorous content will damage the plant. In richer soils all fertilisers should be avoided.
- Water the plants deeply every week during the first two years of growth. Once well established they tolerate drought.
- Apply a coarse mulch such as bark or wood chips over the roots. This will prevent weed growth, protect the soil and provide slow fertilisation. Pine bark and pine needles will also help to acidify the soil
- Never disturb the soil around protea or pincushion roots by digging.
New generation hybrids
Over the past few years, local growers have developed a host of outstanding hybrid proteas and leucospermums- all of which have been chosen for cross breeding to make superbly shaped, floriforous garden plants. Many flower at different times of the year, which is useful when painting with colour’ in your garden across the seasons.
Look out for these beautiful hybrids for your garden this summer.
- Mandala (Protea cynoides variety) bears large red blooms from August to October. Grows to a height of 1m with a similar spread. Stunning in the garden, on the patio and in flower arrangements.
- Pink Ice (Protea compacta x susannae) bears spectacular pink flowers from January to April. Grows to a height of 2m with a similar spread
- Red Repens (Protea repens variety). Red blooms are borne from December to February. This dense 2m tall shrub makes an excellent display plant or screening plant.
- Susara (Protea magnifica x susannae) bears salmon-coloured flowers from March to May. This compact growing 2m x 2m protea is ideal for small areas, rockeries and containers.
- Sylvia (Protea eximia x susannae). The rose-red flowers appear twice a year - from January to March and again from August to November. This dense 2m tall shrub is an excellent display plant or boundary screening shrub.
- Goldie (Leucospermum cuneiforme variety) bears brilliant yellow blooms in November and December. This 1m tall shrub grows well in a container.
- High Gold (Leucospermum cordifolium x L. patersonii) bears bright yellow flowers in September and October. With a height of 1,5m tall it is ideal for screening or hedging.
- Rigoletto (Leucospermum cordifolium x L. glabrum). In August and September this 1m tall shrub bears masses of red flowers. It will thrive in a container in a sunny spot.
- Soleil (Leucospermum cordifolium x L. glabrum). This 1,5m tall shrub bears apricot-yellow flowers in August and September. It is ideal for screening or hedging.
- Succession (Leucospermum lineare x L. cordifolium). In August and September this 1,5m tall hybrid bears masses of dark orange-red flowers. It can be grown in a container.
- Tango (Leucospermum lineare x L. glabrum). This 1,5m tall shrub bears bright orange flowers in September and October. It is ideal for screening or hedging.
- Veldfire (Leucospermum glabrum x L. conocarpodendron). Masses of apricot-yellow flowers with red ribbons’ appear in August and September. This 1m tall shrub has a spread of 1,5m, and performs well in a container.
Bird sitting on Leucospermum cordifolium