Protea cynaroides is a shrub with reddish stems and large rounded green leaves to 3 to 5 feet tall and wide with huge 5-10 inch flowers. The flowers ranging from white through pink to red, form a roundish central peak of flowers surrounded by rays of darker pink bracts. Flowers cover the shrub from autumn to spring with some scattered bloom throughout the year.
Protea cynaroides is the national flower of South Africa and has a wide distribution through the fynbos, an area subject to wildfires for which Protea cynaroides is well adapted with its thick underground stems that have dormant buds that sprout up after a fire.
Pronunciation: PROH-tee-uh sin-ar-OY-deez
Species Meaning: cynaroides means like plants in the genus Cynara, the Artichoke, in reference to the like appearance of the flower buds.
Protea cynaroides is native to South Africa.
Plant in full sun in a well-drained, preferably acid, soil. Requires little irrigation and tolerates coastal conditions. Protect from frost and temperatures below 28° F. Cut flowering stems back to base after flowering.
While they are meant to be deer resistant, our deer don’t know that and have been nibbling on their fleshy leaves. Grrr.
Protea cynaroides can be propagated from seed or cuttings.
Cuttings: semi-hardwood, 6-10 cm long from the current season’s growth. The cuttings are dipped in a rooting hormone solution and placed in a greenhouse with bottom heat (25ºC) and intermittent mist. The rooted cuttings are potted up when the roots are well developed. So far I have only had some subpar stems in which to try cuttings and all but one quickly died.
Seeds: best sown when temperatures start to drop in Fall. Seeds have been soaked in smoke water for 24hrs and then sown in a mix of peat moss or coir and perlite. Had reasonable success with these and two of them are currently planted out in the garden a 2 year olds. No indication if bottom heat helps with germination, but I suspect not. They probably like the larger temperature swings.
In Our Garden
Plant ID: P19087 | Seed ID: S1803
There are two planted in Gondwana. One is close to the main path towards the end of the 3rd terrace. The second one is on the left of the second terrace.
We acquired this plant from Fine Bush.