King proteas – they must rank as amongst the most beautiful and easily recognised of all our South African indigenous flowers. They grow into bushy, evergreen shrubs topped with huge blooms. Usually pink in colour, natural selection and plant breeding have added extra shades to the range of Kings on offer. All plants are propagated from cuttings and will bloom sooner than seedlings.
This season Protea cynaroides selection includes ‘Madiba’ with dark pink, almost red outer petals and a white centre. Large growing and free flowering. ‘Little Prince’ is of compact growth habit and with smaller blooms of pink and white. Ideal for smaller gardens and pots. ‘Pink King’ and ‘White King’ are normal forms, with a vigorous growth habit and very large blooms. All four of these Protea cynaroides forms are impressive garden plants that adapt well to local growing conditions.
Grow proteas in well drained acid soils. They enjoy grassy slopes and rocky conditions. Mulch after planting with pine bark or pine needles. Never fertilise any of the protea family as they are all phosphate intolerant. Water plants well for the first 1 to 2 years after planting to allow them to establish. Thereafter, they require little attention. Pick all flowers or prune off spent flowers to maintain healthy, shapely bushes. Water plants in pots daily if there is no rainfall.