Flower Fireworks; Leucospermum Steals the Show

Spectacular,  intricate and colorful. Yes, these adjectives are often used to describe a firework display but they also apply to the flowers of plants in the genus Leucospermum. Commonly known as Pincushions or Spiders, which they also resemble, these sturdy flowers come from plants in the Protea family, native to South Africa. Albright-Souza Leucospermum Flower 7003

Of all the cut flowers I brought as examples for my recent presentation on growing African plants in California gardens, these flowers generated the most interest. The plants are best suited to larger gardens, to give them plenty of space to develop their generous dome shapes.
Albright-Souza Leucospermum Plant 7001

They prefer climates that are neither too hot or too cold, they require excellent drainage and don’t react well to traditional fertilization. Because of this they can be considered  difficult in some garden settings so I don’t often include them in Planting Plans for my clients.  However, their low water use and interesting flowers make them worthwhile, in gardens that can meet their preference for climate and size.

Albright-Souza Leucospermum flower 4790

Most people want to grow them for their flowers, which can last for weeks, even in a vase. But, in addition, they seem to be quite deer resistant, which is a welcome trait in many rural  gardens.

Albright-Souza Leucospermum mixed flowers 7009

There’s no doubt that whether they are added to a generous garden border or enjoyed in their native, coastal habitat, the Leucospermum’s firework-like flower is sure to add a spectacular element of interesting beauty. For more information on growing conditions and varieties available in California, visit The California Protea Association website.

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Categories: Native Plants

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