How to propagate Protea
Protea seeds are serotinous, meaning the mature seeds are stored in the living plant canopy and are only released when triggered by an environmental stimuli - fire. When the canopy is burnt, the mature seeds are released. The seeds require low temperatures for germination as this coincides with the first wet winter season. The seed coating is soft and splits open as the first root emerges.
Seed must be sown in well-draining, sandy soil. Seeds must never sit in waterlogged soil. Dust seeds lightly with a fungicide to avoid seedling infection.
Cuttings can be taken in early summer to mid-autumn to root well before planting out early spring. Select a healthy, disease-free host plant that has not yet flowered. From the host tree, select a firm shoot that has just completed its growth period - either an erect terminal shoot or an upright growing lateral shoot. Shoots can be between 200-250 mm long. Ensure that there are enough leaves with buds remaining on the shoot after removing the basal third of the cutting. Dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone. Place the cutting in suitable rooting medium. It is beneficial to keep a regular spraying programme to control fungi. Rooting happens between 8 - 16 weeks.
It can also be grafted or budded.