Thistle protea - 5 seeds

Thistle protea - 5 seeds


Protea scolymocephala is a small, neat, upright, well-branched shrub from a single main stem, 0.5-1.5 m tall. The leaves are long and narrow, shaped like an elongated, flattened spoon, 35-90 x 3-6 mm , hairless, with a pointed tip.

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Protea scolymocephala is a rewarding and tough garden shrub, eye-catching when in flower and ideally suited to gardens on the sandy flats in and around Cape Town . It is an easy protea to grow, adapting to most soils but best in well-drained, acidic, sandy soils in full sun. It is quick-growing, flowering in its second year from seed and forming a dense, bushy, floriferous shrub about a metre in diameter within four years. When established it will tolerate drought, wind, and frost. Bushes are best replaced every 8-10 years.

Protea scolymocephala looks good as a single specimen or in small groups of 3-5 plants in the shrubbery or mixed border. If you have the space, allow them to grow in large dense groups like they used to on the Cape Flats . It is an excellent low-maintenance plant for a water-wise garden in the Western Cape , particularly if you live on the sandy flats.

Seed germinates freely and easily in 30-40 days. Sow in autumn in well-drained soil, cover lightly with clean sand or fine-milled bark and keep moist but not wet. Treating the seed with a fungicide increases the number of surviving seedlings. Transplant into individual containers as soon as the first pair of true leaves have developed. The first flowers can be expected in the second year. Seed can also be broadcast directly in the garden in autumn.

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 a bottom heat of 25 °C.