Protea Plant Care
Protea flowers have a long vase life, a characteristic that makes them a popular choice for floral arrangements. Once the plant is established in your garden, you may enjoy the flowers for years.
- Protea, which grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, needs full sun exposure. Once it is established, a light frost will not harm the plant. It requires growing room to provide good air circulation, which will discourage fungal disease.
- Pruning during and after blooming—cutting back the stems so as to leave four or five leaves below the cut—keeps the plant full. Removal of dead flowers promotes new growth. The plant should be watered at its base—to avoid getting the leaves wet—once a week. A liquid fertilizer with a maximum of 4 percent phosphorous is recommended.
- A layer of mulch helps the soil retain moisture, keep the roots cool and prevents weed growth.
- Horticulturist Howard Asper began propagating protea—in San Diego and Santa Barbara, California—in the 1960s. Soon, the flower was grown in Maui with just as much success due to the similar climates.