It's the optimum time
to be planting proteas. One protea grower shares her tips on growing
this revered plant.
Sharon McNabb traded
in a life of bright lights, late nights and Auckland's hustle and
bustle for the good life in Northland's Matakana, growing proteas.
Proteas had always been
a favourite with Sharon's family, although when growing up she didn't
know too much about the revered flower.
"I didn't know much about
protea at all. I'd spent a long time in horticulture, but not actually
come across protea before."
Sharon started by planting
10 different varieties of the protea plant to see which ones lasted.
Following winter, she then planted 1200 bushes.
Starting out, Sharon
found the weather a challenge, particularly wet summers.
"And then just getting
your head around the market what to do, when to send, when
"We were a bit like the
tortoise and the hare we plodded along, did things on a small
scale. Made mistakes on a small quantity, which was better than
mistakes on a big quantity."
One of the most common
proteas in New Zealand is neriifolia.
"This is neri Pink (above
right). Everybody's grandma had one of those."
Limelight is another
favourite (right), as is the New Zealand-bred protea Clark's Red
A particular favourite
of Sharon's is the red-stemmed roupelliae.
"It's a beautiful protea
called roupelliae. It'll handle slightly more tropical conditions
than the average protea. Flowering about November/December."
Leucadendron Safari Sunset
is another old favourite with its beautiful rich colouring.
Choosing Your Protea
As proteas are coming
into flower now, it's a great time to see what new varieties are
available as it's the optimum time to be planting proteas.
Choose something that's
really bushy, as they flower on the current season's wood
the flower head will come there.
Planting Your Protea
- Dig a hole for your
plant in an open, well-drained, sunny position proteas
like wind because the wind keeps the humidity down which they
- Take your plant and
cut of the plastic bag.
- Place in the hole
without disturbing the roots. Proteas dislike root disturbance.
- Stake your plant.
Proteas are shallow-rooted and top-heavy and will suffer from
root rock from the wind.
- Fill the hole with
soil DO NOT fertilise. Proteas dislike fertiliser.
For Your Protea