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A picture of a Pincushion


Leucospermum spp.

Also known as

Pincushion Protea, Speldekussing, Speldekussing Protea, Luisiesbos (Afr.)

Ribbon pincushion, Leucospermum tottum at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa (16955545582) by Derek Keats (CC BY 2.0)

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A photo of Pincushion
Leucospermum cordifolium
Leucospermum cordifolium
Leucospermum cordifolium 3
Leucospermum cultivar gradual decrease of quality


Leucospermum is a genus of 48 accepted species of evergreen upright or prostrate shrubs or trees in the Proteaceae family. Members of this genus are characterised by their spirals of leathery, sometimes hairy leaves and striking large pincushion-like flowers in a range of colours and forms. The long-lasting flower heads with their stiff protruding pollen-presenters have earned them the common name 'pincushion protea'. Native to South Africa, pincushion proteas grow on mountain slopes and scrublands. They are often cultivated by florists as cut flower plants and there are many cultivars and hybrids available. Pincushion proteas need a sunny position and very well-draining, slightly acidic soil. In their natural habitat pincushion proteas grow in sandy nutrient-poor soils with a pH between 5 and 6. This also means that they do not require any feeding or fertiliser. Although drought tolerant once established, it does thrive with regular watering, especially during dry spells. When watering, keep the foliage dry and water the base of the plant. Also, add a layer of mulch to the base to keep moisture in and to discourage weeds from germinating. Although pincushion proteas naturally occur in the winter rainfall areas, with a few adjustments to your soil and watering schedule, you will be able to grow them in other provinces. Pincushion proteas flower from July to November, attracting a large array of sunbirds and other pollinators.

Special Features

Attractive flowers

Attracts bees

Attracts birds

Attracts useful insects