Luminous green and masses of very red flowers. Can grow to 8ft x 8ft after 10 years but clips well for shaggy topiary or hedges. Easy plant.
Native to Australia. Propagated by us by cuttings.
On a botanic note : this is a member of the Protea family – all from the southern hemisphere – Australia, South Africa and South America. Members of the Protea family have all evolved in poor, acid soil with the result that they don’t like chalky soil and they don’t like phosphate. Poor sandy or peaty soil is ideal. When I say they don’t like phosphate – it’s actually toxic to them. Give a member of this family a good top dressing of horse manure in the summer and expect the plant to be dead in 2 weeks flat. The answer is to neglect them – never feed them, leave them alone. You’ll find an amazing collection of this family growing near the main house at Wakehurst Place. Many were planted by the curator in the 1980s and early 1990s (Tony Schilling) who seems to have been one of the first people to make the connection with the phosphate problem. Interestingly, it was later discovered that the area around the house where they’re planted is notably low in phosphate.
N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.
As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.
Hardiness level Amber