Proteas for winter


I do love proteas, even if some find them a little old-fashioned. I think they’re fascinating, with their enormous heads, fluffy petals (actually bracts) and soft hues. They’re a great winter bloomer, typically flowering from autumn to spring, and most are cold hardy – although young plants do require protection from heavy frosts. Plant them in full sun in free-draining soil. If your soil is on the heavy side, plant on a mound or slope. Don’t feed them – they don’t like phosphates or nitrates. They do best in an acid soil with a very low nutrient value. If mature plants look like they need a pick-me-up, you can give them some sheep pellets that are low in NPK.

The top image is a simple but gorgeous wedding display (via Style Me Pretty).

The following image showcases the very pretty Protea serruria (arrangement by Floriea Design). Also known as blushing bride, its papery bracts, which are surrounded by feathery tufts of white to pinkish flowers, appear from June to September (in the southern hemisphere). But it’s not just its blushing nature that makes the serrurias so irresistible. Its flowers and buds last for weeks in a vase. And once dried they’re everlasting.

The third image from the top is Protea neriifolia ‘Alba’, which I snapped at a garden centre somewhere. It’s an upright rounded shrub with medium-size, yellowy-cream flowers from autumn to spring.

The red protea, fifth from the top, is ‘Tasman Ruby’; it has deep red bracts lower down and a silvery tinge at the top. This protea flowers from winter to spring.

Protea cynaroides ‘Arctic Ice’ (second from bottom) is a white selection of the massive king protea (you can see the king protea in the image above and the image below).

Single protea images by me; the three bouquet images from Martha Stewart Weddings.