Protea is the botanical name as well as the English name of the genus. Proteas first captured the attention of botanists during the Europeans’ exploration of South Africa in the 17th Century. Protea belongs to the larger family of Proteaceae
Each Protea flower is made up of petals in four segments. Three of them are fused together to form a sheath. When the flower opens the fourth segment exposes the style. The anthers are located in a slight depression near the tip of the petal segments. The inner series of flowers are usually creamy white or pink and they are shaped oblong to linear depending on the species.
How to grow Protea
The ideal time
The ideal time to plant protea seeds is in autum or spring because that is the time of the year in which the difference between the day and night temperatures is about 12 degrees Celsius.
Make the soil ready for protea
For best results, plant the seeds in a plastic seedling bag which is filled with slightly acidic soil mixture .The mixture made by combining river sand, decomposed pine needles, and perlite in the ratio 2:2:1. Use boiling water and a fungicidal solution (Jeyes fluid) to destroy the fungus, eggs, and larvae that might be harmful for the seeds.
Prepare the seeds
The seeds should be treated with a smoke primer and a fungicide solution in order to make sure that the seeds germinate without getting destroyed by fungal infections.
Make sure that the water is not alkaline or salty. Also ensure that the water is fungus free. The time needed for germination varies between 1 and 3 months.
When you take the plant out of the bag and plant it outside, see to it that the roots are not disturbed. Nurture the young plants with decomposed organic material (compost). Protective covering (mulching) with compost holds the weeds in check, preserves moisture, keeps the roots cool, and provides the plant with nutrients.
Feeding the plant
As far as possible, feed the plant with organic nutrients. Give a small amount of ammonium sulphate at times to make sure that the soil remains acidic. Don’t water the plants in the evening in order to avoid fungal infections.