Protea is the name of a genus of flowering plants. Protea is the botanical name as well as the English name of the genus. Proteas first captured the attention of botanists during the Europeans' exploration of South Africa in the 17th Century. Protea belongs to the larger family of Proteaceae that is supposed to have existed in the ancient landmass of Gondwanaland.
Facts about Protea
- Although there are members of the family proteacea in both South Africa and Australia, there is no particular genus that is seen in both the regions.
- In the United States, they are commercially grown in San Diego and Santa Barbara in California and Hawaii.
- This genus was named by Carl Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy, in 1735. It was named after Proteus, a Greek god.
- Beautiful flower arrangements can be made using protea.
How to grow ProteaThe ideal time
The ideal time to plant protea seeds is in fall or spring because that is the time of the year in which the difference between the day and night temperatures is about 12 degrees Celsius.Make the soil ready for protea
For best results, plant the seeds in a plastic seedling bag which is filled with slightly acidic soil mixture (pH=5.5). The mixture made by combining river sand, decomposed pine needles, and perlite in the ratio 2:2:1. Use boiling water and a fungicidal solution (Jeyes fluid) to destroy the fungus, eggs, and larvae that might be harmful for the seeds.Prepare the seeds
The seeds should be treated with a smoke primer and a fungicide solution in order to make sure that the seeds germinate without getting destroyed by fungal infections.Watering
Make sure that the water is not alkaline or salty. Also ensure that the water is fungus free. The time needed for germination varies between 1 and 3 months.Planting out
When you take the plant out of the bag and plant it outside, see to it that the roots are not disturbed. Nurture the young plants with decomposed organic material (compost). Protective covering (mulching) with compost holds the weeds in check, preserves moisture, keeps the roots cool, and provides the plant with nutrients.Feeding the plant
As far as possible, feed the plant with organic nutrients. Give a small amount of ammonium sulphate at times to make sure that the soil remains acidic. Don't water the plants in the evening in order to avoid fungal infections.