On my list of South African treasures, somewhere between the Springboks and Table Mountain, lies the crown jewel of the Cape Floral Kingdom – the Protea. Not only the national flower, a Protea bush makes a fantastic – and patriotic – addition to any South African garden. However, many Proteas need a little extra attention to detail or they may not be in your bed of blomme for long!
One of the first and arguably the most crucial elements to Protea planting is soil selection. I spent months wondering why my Albertinia pincushions weren’t growing in my KZN nutrient-rich garden. Well that was exactly it; many Proteas prefer poor nutrient soil and broadly prefer soils with a good mix of minerals. That’s how you start choosing your Proteas, you must first determine what mineral your soil predominantly comprises of: sand, lime, clay, or peat.