Proteas Growing Cuttings Pruning
Proteas Often Sold as Dried Cut Flowers
You cannot take your eyes off the Proteas shrubs. These plants originated from South Africa and are commonly known as the Pink Ice. The Proteas belong to the family Proteaceae and are related to Australian plants like the Banksia and the Waratah. They are quite adaptable to the Australian climate. Its size varies from small shrubs to small trees. The colour of the flower is pink and they need full exposure of the sun to bloom. They flower during the winter to spring time and are drought resistant plants. These plants can easily fit any Australian landscape garden styles from courtyards to huge properties. It is considered to be one of the native flowers of Australia.
How to Grow Proteas?
There are a few ground basics that need to be followed to grow the Proteas into great flowering shrubs.
Proteas will thrive in open soil or a nice sandy soil. They can also grow on heavier soil, but will never survive when planted in heavy clay soil. Proteas will grow well in acidic soils and the ideal pH levels are between 5.6 and 6.5. They might tolerate neutral to alkaline soils, but better to plant in acidic soils. It is best to grow these shrubs away from plants that need regular feeding. If you have clay soil, then plant the shrub on a raised bed or a slope and add gypsum to the soil.
If you are planting in the garden, then dig a hole that is twice the width of a normal pot. You need to plant the Protea just as deep as it was in the pot. Tighten up the soil around the plant. If you are looking to raise it in pots, then use a pot that is double the size of the present plant. Keep the plant off the ground so that the water drains off completely. Make sure to use a potting mixture that is suitable for native Australian plants with slow release fertiliser.
Growing Proteas from Softwood Cuttings
You can plant the protea cuttings from an established plant you got from the nursery either in pots, plastic bags or in the ground.
- If you are planting in the ground, then plant in a semi shady spot where the soil is moist. Ensure that the soil is firm enough to hold the cutting in an upright position after it is planted.
- You need to use sterile soil when you plant the cuttings in containers or pots. This will prevent the cuttings from getting rot. You can also use sterilised potting soil mix.
- You can prepare your own potting soil for Proteas by mixing two parts of washed and coarse river sand with one part of good quality peat moss.
Other Planting Tips
- Proteas thrive in full sun and will produce more flowers. They can handle frosts up to minus 2º.
- You can use natural mulch like bark, leaves to protect the surface roots of the shrub from retaining moisture. They will help in keeping weeds away.
- Water twice a week during its first summer. As the plant establishes, you can reduce the watering.
- Proteas can be used indoors as dried flowers, hang them upside down for two weeks till dry then arrange them into a vase to you liking.
- Protea seed can be sown into seed trays, when plants have germinated and are small seedlings separate them into propagation tubes.
Prune off the flowers after their bright colour fades. This will help the plant to look compact. Young bushes can be pruned during late summer and spring. Non flowering stems can also be trimmed to even sizes.