Protea flowers on young plants
I was given a small protea (the tag says LSP Spyder) last fall. It is essentially one straight trunk/branch (I assume it was a cutting) about 15 inches long with one small side branch about 2 inches long. It is still in its original plastic 1 gallon pot. Flowers are developing at the ends of both branches and I want to know whether to let them grow, or cut them off to allow the plant to put more energy into growing. There is one small bud (maybe 1/4 inch) on the small side branch and at least 4 at the top of the main trunk. 2 of those are about an inch long and then there are several much smaller ones. DO I leave any or all of these on, or remove them? In case it matters: The weather is fairly warm and sunny (San Francisco peninsula) with temps between 55 and 75 in the day and 45-50 at night. Second less urgent question: I was planning on planting it later it in a bigger pot, since although my soil is rocky, underneath it is clay and I am not sure about the drainage. I was also thinking about making a raised (bottomless) bed on top of the rocky soil if that would work. Do you think that a raised bed would work? It leaving it in a container long term possible? Thank you for your help.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Leucosperum is in the Family-Protea and cultivator-Spider.
They are grown in zones 9-11 and are a tropical shrub.
The plant can be planted in the ground and can grow to 4-6 feet.
They are generally drought tolerant.
Pruning will help you shape the plant.
Removing flower stems will help keep the bush more compact.
Tip pruning can be done in spring and late summer.
Mature plants can be pruned more aggressive. Immediately after flowering the stems should be cut down to about 4 " in height.
Trim the non-flowering stems to the same height.
Do not cut more then 50% of the plant away.
Use a sharp and clean tool to prune with.
After pruning the cut stems should produce 2 to 3 flowering stems for next season flowers.
As the plant matures, the number of stems increases and the stem length will shorten.
To repot the plant you can likely double the pot size. You will need to use a nice sandy/loamy potting soil. Look for a soil that is mixed for Protea. The ph should be between 5.6 and 6.5.
The pot should be raised off the ground to help with drainage. Adding a slow release fertilizer to pots will give you the nutrients you need.
Do not over-fertilize.