Propagate Your Favorite Proteas

What You'll Need
Plastic seedling bag
Acidic soil mixture (pH 5.5) made up of river sand, decomposed pine needles, and perlite in the ratio 2:2:1.
Fungicidal solution
Boiling water
A smoke primer

Proteas are plant with an unusual and beautiful flower. Although they are difficult to propagate, once the plant is established, it is easy to maintain. There are two ways to propagate these flowers: from seeds and from cuttings.

From Seeds

The best time of the year to grow proteas from seeds is in the spring or fall, when the day to night temperature has a difference of about 50 degrees.

Preparation of the Seeds

The seed dormancy is broken when the seeds are subjected to water, cold temperatures and have been exposed to smoke. The addition of the fungicide is to destroy any fungus attached to the seed that can harm the seedling.

  • First dip the seeds in the fungicide solution to kill and fungus or larvae attached.
  • Dissolve one smoke primer disk in 50ml of water.
  • Soak the seed in this solution for 24 hours.
  • Mix the seeds in the soil mixture and place in the seedling bag.
  • Germination can take from one to three months. During this time the bag should be put in a cool area and kept damp with water. The bag should be on a rack so and any excess water can drain.  
  • Once the seeds have germinated, the seedling should be planted in a similar soil mixture approximately one inch of depth. The plant should be fed organic material compost. Do not water the plant in the evenings to reduce the chance of fungus infections.

From Cuttings

Propagating protea is possible, but timing is critical. There are five steps to successfully propagating this plant:

  • Selecting the mother stock
  • Taking the cutting
  • Rooting compounds
  • Growing medium
  • Taking care of your cuttings

These steps will help you grow a healthy plant from a cutting:

Take your cuttings from the best semi-hardened plant materials from the previous season’s new growth. These should be taken in early autumn before the cooler winter months. The best cuttings are from the semi-hardened side shoots from just below a forming bud or flower.

Take your cuttings in the early mornings when it is cool and the plant is still moist. The cutting should be kept moist and best sprayed with water and placed in a plastic bag before planting.

Prepare the cutting by removing any leaves from the bottom two thirds of the stem.Treat the stem with plant hormones and plant the cutting in the soil, leaving one third exposed.

The soil should be a mixture of two parts coarse river sand and one part quality peat moss. The cuttings will grow best in a warm, moist environment. Mist watering is the best way to water the plant. Adequate ventilation will protect the plant from fungal infections.