King protea (Protea cynaroides) is an evergreen flowering shrub, the blooms of which are the national flower of South Africa. The shrub is compact at 3 to 4 feet in height but the flowers can reach 10 to 12 inches in width. Hardy to USDA zone 9, king protea thrives in regions with warm summers and wet winters.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Pruning shears
- Soil pH testing kit
Water the king protea only during dry periods. Moisten the soil to a depth of 4 inches and allow the soil to completely dry prior to watering again.
Prune away any vegetation that is within a 3-foot radius of the king protea. The plant needs good air circulation and plants grown too close will block the air.
Test the pH of your soil. King protea grow best in light, sandy soils with a pH no higher than 6.5. Your county cooperative extension office can offer advice as to how to amend the soil to bring it to the proper pH.
Cut off the stems of dead flowers, using the pruning shears, to ground level. This encourages the king protea to develop new growth.
Prune older king protea plants that have become too woody by cutting them back to the ground. They will regrow.
Tips and warnings
- The king protea does not generally require fertiliser. Should you choose to fertilise the plant, choose a formula that is low in phosphorous.
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