Kelways Guide to Proteas
How to Grow Proteas Successfully
How to cultivate Proteas in the garden
Drainage: Their original soil is sandy, therefore it is very important to guarantee a good drainage that allows a good oxygenation of the roots. Avoid growing them in clay soil or where water stagnates.
Soil Fertility: Proteas prefer an acid soil reaction (pH 5.5-6.5). Where the pH is higher than 6.5 before transplanting, add peat and iron sulphate. Proteas are extremely efficient plants in their use of fertilisers, meaning over abundant use of plant food may not only be useless but actually quite damaging to the plant.. void placing them in flower beds which are too rich in nutritive elements and feed them seldomly.
Water: During the first year, Proteas need more water as the roots need to develop and occupy the surrounding soil. From their decond year, a weekly irrigation during dry periods is sufficient.
Sun: Proteas love full sun. The more sun, the more flowers they will produce. Avoid a wall or any other plant shading them, particularly from the south.
Temperature: These plants can survive a few degrees below freezing, expecially if the cold doesn't arrive too suddenly and the humidity in the air and soil isn't too high.
How to cultivate Proteas in pots
For those who don't have a garden or live in areas with cold winters, you can, with little extra care, grow Proteas in pots.
Substrate: Proteas need good drainage which can be obtained by mixing with normal soil, 30% perlite. The soil must have a pH range of 5.5-6.5 and no added fertiliser.
Irrigation: Once you are sure that the soil allows good drainage, never forget to water the plants. During summer, water abundantly once-a-day.
Feeding: During the summer apply once a week a solution of 0.25g per litre phosphorous-free fertiliser and 0.25g per litre of Iron chelate. During the autumn, reduce the feeding to fortnightly.
Sun & Temperatures: Make sure the plants can benefit from the sun during the middle of the day, avoiding any shaded areas. If the temperature is likely to fall below freezing, find a sheltered area to store them overnight. Proteas cannot be kept indoors for prolonged periods of time owing to their need for sunlight.