All Things Gardening forum: Has anyone cared for a Protea

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Sep 30, 2011 12:40 PM CST
Hello to all! I am wondering, if anyone has ever cared for a Protea. I bought this Protea in 2008, too bad I did not take a photo of the amazing flowers it has, thinking it will come back. From then on I only got leaves, at least it was alive. While I was away recently for 2.5 months, my dear hubby decided to uproot and replant in a different pot, and when I returned all the leaves died, had to remove them all, and was left with just the stem. Seems alive I think, but not really sure if I should just give up on it and just get another one later on..any thoughts please?

The Protea is the one in the blue glazed pot..
Thumb of 2011-09-30/tarev/46edee

The very sad stem..
Thumb of 2011-09-30/tarev/99b067
Name: Ferenc
Wouw, Netherlands
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Europe Dog Lover Cat Lover Bulbs Tropicals
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Ferenc
Oct 1, 2011 4:39 AM CST
Proteaceae are well-adapted to windy conditions, and like to have free air circulation around them. Mulching with well-rotted compost or wood chips helps keep down the weeds, retain moisture, cool the roots and supply some nutrients.

If you need to keep the proteas in a pot, you must make up your own potting medium

2 parts coarse river sand,
2 parts peat or decomposed pine needles, and
1 part vermiculite or perlite.

It is important that the soil mixture drains well. Water should run right through the filled tray, but the soil mixture should be such that it retains moisture and remains damp between waterings. The seeds/seedlings should never be allowed to dry out. The vermiculite helps retain moisture.

Since the proteaceae are adapted to nutrient-poor conditions, chemical fertilizer or manure will burn their sensitive root system. Use an organic plant food such as a fish or seaweed emulsion. Occasionally, a small amount of Ammonium Sulphate sprinkled on the soil and well-watered helps keep the soil acidic and provides nitrogen to the plants.

To avoid: Dig or cultivate around the plants - proteas may die if their fine root system is disturbed.

Name: Ferenc
Wouw, Netherlands
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Europe Dog Lover Cat Lover Bulbs Tropicals
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Ferenc
Oct 1, 2011 4:47 AM CST
Sometimes tap (faucet;-) or borehole water can be a problem and using rainwater can make a big difference to germination and later growth. Having the pH of your water tested is a good idea. Also test for chlorine and other chemicals. Usually your local Department of Agriculture is a good place to go.

The Proteaceae are adversely affected by brackish or alkaline water and water with a high salt content. Some dam or lake water may also contain spores of the cinnamon fungus (Phytophthora cinnamomi), which is deadly to proteas. This is usually the case if it drains from an area that naturally carries this soil-borne fungus.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Oct 1, 2011 11:43 AM CST
Hmm. maybe that's why it did a die off...uprooted,moved to a media it does not like...thanks for the info and pointers Smiling
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Oct 15, 2011 8:21 PM CST
tarev............where did you purchase your protea? I think they are just way cool..........and I have a greenhouse................are they expensive?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
Oct 15, 2011 8:27 PM CST
Hi Anna! I bought a couple of these plants in 2008 from Lowe's, however, only 1 survived for about 2+ years, did not flower at all. Hmm let me think, I think the price at that time was around 8 to 10 bucks.
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Oct 15, 2011 9:15 PM CST
Lowes???? No kidding..................probably none up this way. Oh, there are Lowe's but I don't suppose they carry anything like that up here in 4a. LOL
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Oct 20, 2011 4:19 PM CST
tarev, Go to the Tropical forum and ask this question. Carol, in Hawaii, grows many tropical plants. She has been a great source of knowledge and encouragement when dealing with "exotic" plants. Just copy your original question and post over there.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
Oct 21, 2011 12:02 PM CST
Hi Sandi, thanks..I will do that and get more feedback..I really want to revive this plant if at all possible!
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Oct 21, 2011 12:53 PM CST
Oh good! It would be a shame to lose it after so many years.
Name: Liz
SF Bay Area, California
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Liz
Oct 24, 2011 9:59 AM CST
I know Ferenc already mentioned about them being easily burned by fertilizer, but phosphorus in particular is bad for them so if you ever do fertilize make sure you avoid ones that contain phosphorus (and if your hubby fertilized it with Miracle Gro or something like that when he transplanted, that could definitely contribute to the problems you're seeing).

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