Kings of the floral world, proteas are dramatic, textural flowers that bring bold style to any arrangement. Here’s how to grow and care for them
Why proteas are the most stylish way to make a floral statement
These woody stemmed blooms are the sculptural stars of the floral world. Here we have used pink king proteas to anchor the arrangement at the base of the vase, then layered lighter blooms and foliage – snapdragon, roses, Queen Anne’s lace and anemone – around them to soften the spiky shape of the flowers. With daily fresh water and a stem trim every few days to prevent rot, fresh proteas should last for at least a fortnight.
+ Proteas are ideal for hot, rocky banks or west-facing raised beds.
+ From midwinter to spring these South African shrubs produce dramatic flowers, up to 30cm across, that are great for picking.
+ They are tolerant of dry and windy conditions but drainage must be ideal.
+ Protect young plants from frost and resist the temptation to feed proteas as they do best in poor soil.
+ Prune after flowering to keep plants bushy.
+ Grevillea, banksia, leucospermum and leucadendron are relatives and enjoy similar conditions.
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Angie Humphreys. Floral arrangement by: The Botanist.