Protea, also known as sugarbushes, are tropical wildflowers known for their large, spiky blossoms. They're most commonly grown in warm, tropical climates like Hawaii and the Canary Islands. If you live in such a climate, you can start your own protea collection from seed instead of buying started plants in a nursery or garden store.
Collect protea seeds from a mature plant by shaking out the pods from a dead flower head on an existing protea plant. Such seeds are ready for harvesting when the next set of flowers appears on the plant. Protea seed remains viable for approximately three years after harvesting.
Fill the bottom third of a gallon-sized garden pot with gravel. This allows for proper drainage.
Top off the rest of the garden pot with a homemade potting soil mixture. For optimal protea seed germination, the University of Hawaii recommends mixing equal parts vermiculite, sand, and peat, aged compost or similar organic matter.
Sprinkle four to five protea seeds on the surface of the potting soil, spacing them equal distances apart.
Cover the protea seeds with a 1/4-inch layer of vermiculite or perlite.
Place the pot in an area that receives at least eight hours of full sun.
Water the pot twice a day to keep the soil surface consistently moist. Seeds will germinate within 90 days.
Because the seeds will be kept moist and take so long to germinate, they may fall susceptible to mould or fungal growth that can hamper germination.You may wish to dust the seeds with a damping-off fungicide, available in most garden stores. Apply the fungicide to the seed before planting in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines, as application rules vary by product.