A picture of a King Protea

King Protea

Protea cynaroides

Also known as

Koningprotea, Reuse Protea, Grootsuikerkan, Grootsuikerroos, Bergsuikerkan (Afr.), Isiqwane Esincinci, Protea

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Half-hardy

10a

USDA zone

-1°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1.5m

Max

3m

1m

Min

2m

7 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of King Protea

A photo of King Protea
A photo of King Protea
Protea cynaroides
Protea cynaroides, growing in Kirstenbosch NBG.
Protea cynaroides, flowers open from the outside inwards.

King Protea Overview

Protea cynaroides is the national flower of South Africa. It is an evergreen perennial in the Proteaceae family with a sparsely branching habit. Rather a leggy shrub that can be added to garden beds in non-frost-prone climates. It has many forms and varieties and is an adaptable plant under cultivation. Foliage is oval in shape and leathery in texture. It is grown worldwide for the cut flower industry, makes a striking addition to a large garden and is commonly known by the names King Protea and Cape Artichoke Flower, amongst others. It produces beautiful, big, showy blooms in both soft and vibrant shades of pink and creamy-white. The terminal flowerhead is comprised of dense clusters of tiny 4-petalled and bowl-shaped flowers. The flowerhead measures between 15-30cm in diameter. Flowers are surrounded by showy modified leaf structures, which resemble petals, these are termed bracts. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Western Cape.

Common problems with King Protea

How to harvest King Protea

Pick flowers as they benefit from a light prune or allow seedheads to dry on plants to remove and collect seeds.

How to propagate King Protea

Cuttings

Cuttings are made from semi-hardwood, 6-10cm long, of the current season's growth. To accelerate rooting, cuttings could be dipped in a rooting hormone solution and placed in a warm moist growing environment.

Seed

Best sowing time is in autumn, plant at a depth of between 1cm and 1.5 times the depth of the hard seed. Germination time is 3-4 weeks. Smoke treatment can help germination.

Budding

By grafting or budding.

Grafting

Special features of King Protea

Attracts birds

Attracts nectar-loving birds like sunbirds.

Attracts useful insects

Attracts Scarab Beetles and Protea Beetles.

Attractive flowers

Drought resistant

Pot plant

Attracts bees

Other uses of King Protea

Grown for their colourful bracted flower heads.

Cut flower

Vigorous plants produce six to ten flower heads in a season.

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