Protea cynaroides (L.) L.
King Protea, Giant Protea, Honeypot, King Sugar Bush
Color: Creamy white, crimson, and pale pink
Bloom Time: Summer to winter
Protea cynaroides is a woody shrub with thick stems and large glossy dark green leaves. It grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. The "flowers" are actually composite flower heads with a collection of flowers in the center, surrounded by large colorful bracts. The flower heads are up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The color of the bracts varies from a creamy white to a deep crimson, but the soft pale pink bracts with a silvery sheen are the most prized.
How to Grow and Care
Proteas are often seen as temperamental and difficult plants to grow, but the truth is that they are relatively easy as long as you follow a few simple rules.
Most Proteas prefer well-drained and acidic soils, and we suggest avoiding heavy clay soils, as they need good drainage for healthy root growth. However, if you have a garden with heavy or clay soil, consider improving the drainage using a free-draining garden mix and either creating a raised garden bed (minimum height 12 to 18 inches / 30 to 45 cm) or installing underground drainage pipes.
We recommended planting in autumn or spring, allowing the Proteas to absorb as much sun as possible. For best results, allow plenty of space between plants for air to circulate and avoid planting any Proteas deeper than the surface level in the pot.
We suggest avoiding any use of fertilizer when planting out Proteas. They have a specially adapted system of fine roots (called proteoid roots), which will naturally seek out available nutrients in the soil. See more at How to Grow and Care for Proteas.
Native to the southwestern and southern parts of South Africa.
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