Protea burchellii - 5 seeds

Protea burchellii - 5 seeds

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Propagation can be done via cuttings or seed. Seed is recommended as the easiest. Sow seeds in May. Seeds require warm day and cold night temperatures to germinate. Prepare seed trays containing a well-drained fynbos mix of bark, silica sand and loam (25:50:25 mix). Scatter seeds on top and lightly cover with river sand. Water in well and use a fungicide treatment. Keep seed tray moist, not wet.

Seed germination varies and will sometimes only germinate the following year. As the first true leaves appear, transplant the seedlings into pots in a well-drained, sandy fynbos mix. Grow on for a year before transplanting into the garden. Take tip cuttings from December to March. Use a rooting hormone and place in a well-drained mix of bark and polyurethane. Cuttings must be kept moist, but not wet. Rooting occurs in approximately five weeks. Harden off rooted cuttings for three weeks and then transplant into pots as for seedlings.

In the garden, P. burchellii can be used as filler shrub or specimen stand. With its average height, it makes a good mid-layer planting. Used in conjunction with other fynbos species such as Restio, Buchu and Erica, it makes a lovely display. It can be used in rockeries and open bed plantings.

A root pathogen, Phytophtera, is detrimental to Proteaceae. Symptoms include the plant looking wilted and dry followed by yellowing and death. As these symptoms are only seen once the fungus has damaged the plant, the best course of action is to remove the infected plant and burn it, thereafter sterilizing the affected soil with a contact fungicide and refraining from replanting Proteaceae in that area.

Good general plant hygiene and healthy vigorous mother stock will increase the potential of younger plants to remain healthy.