Origins of the protea
The proteaceae are a widespread genus in Africa and Australia, in memory of the ancient proximity between the two territories; proteas in particular come from southern Africa, where they were imported into Europe as early as 1700; in fact many plants originating from South Africa and Australia are having great success among European plant growers, as these plants are well suited to the European climate, and they give us particular flowers, with an exotic look, perfect for those who wish amaze your neighbors or those who like to have something strange and unusual in the garden.
The South African climate is not so different from the Italian climate; the only difference lies in the lower temperature range between day and night and between the different seasons; the proteas find a place in the garden, in a very sunny place.They can withstand short frosts, but they do not adapt to snow and intense frost that lasts for weeks; for this reason, in the regions of northern Italy, it is advisable to place our protea in a sheltered place, such as a flower-bed attached to the house and exposed to the south, or more simply we can cover the plant at the end of autumn with the woven fabric, which will avoid in the air around the plant to remain very cold for prolonged periods of time.They tend to adapt to any soil, preferring soft and fairly rich, very well drained soils.From April to September-October we water the plant regularly, always waiting for the soil to dry well between one watering and another; excess watering or heavy water stagnation can cause the onset of rot, which leads to the drying up of whole branches.In the vegetative period we add to the water of the watering fertilizer for flowering plants, every 12-15 days.Pruning generally consists of the simple removal of the inflorescences; so we want to get a compact shrub after flowering we shorten all the branches by at least a quarter.Protea - Protea: How it spreads
Also in Italy the plants bloom and bear fruit, giving rise to numerous seeds, generally fertile; the seeds of the plant are made to germinate in a compound consisting of universal soil and sand, which must be kept moist to allow the seeds to germinate.
Many proteas on the market are hybrids or cultivars, and not always propagating them by seed we will obtain a plant identical to the mother plant; for this reason, if we want to get flowers identical to those of the protea that we already have, we will have to produce cuttings. In late summer we remove the top of the stems that have not produced flowers, using strong and well sharpened shears; we produce 8-10 cm long portions of stem, we remove most of the basal leaves and bury the cuttings in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts; let's keep the cuttings moist, in a bright but not excessively sunny place.
The plants obtained by cuttings often flower already the year following rooting; the plants obtained from seed instead take up to 4-6 years before flowering.