What could cause a pincushion to not flower?
Low light levels – vegetative growth continues.
Pruning during summer months. Only prune in spring during or directly after flowering.
Vigorous vegetative growth from high nitrogen levels in the soil.
Mild growing conditions with overwatering.
Day length – the plant needs to experience long days and then shorter days with lower temperatures to act as the signal for flower initiation.
I planted a Pincushion in a container. The leaves are becoming dry and browning, what could be causing this?
Pincushions are sensitive to water shortage especially when in flower.
Daily watering is recommended when planted in a container as the plant is unable to locate its own water source..
Use pine bark as a mulch to help prevent soil from drying out.
What mulch can I use for my Proteaceae?
Mulch reduces weed growth; helps preserve soil moisture and keep soil temperature constant.
Mulch can also add a little nutrition to and lower the pH of the soil. Pine bark, Eucalyptus mulch, stone and newspaper can be used.
Allow a small area around the stem to breath as the stem shouldn’t stay damp.
How often should I water my proteas?
Planted in a container:
You do not want the medium to dry out completely.
In a container the plant has a restricted root zone in which to take up water.
Water once a day in windy dry conditions.
Be careful of over watering a medium which does not drain well.
Planted in a garden:
It takes a protea up to two years to properly establish itself, thus becoming “drought tolerant”.
During this period the plant will need to be watered well. If conditions become very hot and windy increase the amount of water you apply, as well as when it is flowering.
My Fynbos died within 6 months after planting. What could have gone wrong?
Mortality within 6 months of planting can be as a result of one of the following:
My protea does not produce flowers or buds develop but do not open, what is wrong?
With Proteait is not unusual for them to take a year or two before they begin to flower. The reason being the flowers are so large the plant requires a strong “woody” branch to support the weight of the flower.
When a protea is flowering it is at a very vulnerable stage and very sensitive to water stress. Water at least every second/ third day until it is a well-established plant for at least the first two summers.
The best time of year to plant is autumn.
Plant may have been pruned at the wrong time or to frequently. Prune after flowering.
I have an established pincushion can I move it or prune it?
Proteaceae do not like root disturbance, the plant would not survive the transplant.
Prune established plants back in stages give a week or two in between to reduce shock, seal it with wound sealer. Insure that there is at least 5 to 7 healthy leaves left on the branch before you cut it.
I live in Johannesburg if I plant out Fynbos in my garden will it be able to handle the frost?
Fynbos does not handle harsh frost well, is best to cover them with a frost cloth at times when they are vulnerable to prevent damage or stress to the plant.
When buying the plant also select varieties which indicate on the back of the label that they are frost tolerant.
What can I use to feed my Proteaceae?
Proteas generally are adapted to finding their own nutrition and over feeding will cause more harm than good.
If they do require feeding use a slow release, organic food such as Bounce-Back or Sea Grow.
Always use the smallest recommended dosage.
Do not apply any Bone-meal or fertilizer as this will have a negative effect on the plant.
Should one prune Fynbos and when is the best time to prune?
Pruning is definitely advisable as it has many benefits:
The best time to Prune differs between certain varieties: