Green protea - 5 seeds
Green protea - 5 seeds
Protea coronata has bright apple-green inflorescences hidden amongst its silvery foliage; it's not a showy garden shrub but the very attractive and most unusual flower heads are wonderful in floristry. It is also one of those species that remains relatively unknown to gardeners because its camouflaged green flower heads often go unnoticed.
The green protea is an interesting addition to the fynbos garden, but is equally at home in gardens outside of the winter rainfall area as it tolerates a wider range of soils than most proteas. It is not the showiest specimen shrub, but its silvery foliage is useful for providing contrast, and its fast growth will quickly provide height as a backdrop. It is a very unusual and attractive cut flower. Protea coronata is easy to grow in most garden soils, including heavy clay soils, provided they are acidic (pH7) and well drained. It can be planted in full sun or in a situation that is shaded for part of the day, but needs free circulation of air. The more shaded and sheltered its position, the more likely fungal infections will afflict the foliage and flowers. Water well throughout the year but particularly in autumn-winter-spring. Keep root disturbance to a minimum; protea roots are very susceptible to infection so try not to break them by digging around their base inside their drip-line, rather put down a thick layer of mulch once or twice a year and leave them undisturbed. Proteas are very light feeders with sensitive root systems that are adapted to very nutrient-poor soils and will be killed by strong fertilizers and manure. Proteas don't like phosphates (P), so choose a fertilizer that has little or no P in its formula, and give them small doses more frequently, or use a slow-release fertilizer. Protea coronata is fast-growing and vigorous, flowering in its second year from seed and reaching 2 m in four years. It is also relatively short-lived and is best replaced after about 8 years. This species is tolerant of light frost and a winter minimum of -1° C (30° F), and is not suited to very cold gardens. Protea coronata is easily raised from seed sown in autumn, in well-drained soil, lightly covered with clean sand or fine-milled bark and kept moist but not wet. Germination occurs after about 20-30 days. Treating the seeds with a fungicide increases the number of surviving seedlings. Transplant into individual containers as soon as the first pair of true leaves have developed. Seedlings are vigorous and fast-growing, and the first flowers can be expected in their second year. It can also be propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings taken from the current season’s growth, in autumn or spring. Remove the leaves from the basal third of the cutting, treat with a rooting hormone, and place in a well-drained rooting medium under intermittent mist with bottom heat of 25° C.