Sunday, March 19, 2017
What’s Blooming: Leucadendron
The rumors are true, it’s ‘Leucadendron Season’. Often one of the first hints of spring in our fields, leucadendron serve as a welcoming committee for warmer and longer days. These barometers of the season begin to emerge as winter winds down, blooming from the cold days of February all the way through May. Though often known as "conebush" due to their colorful nuts, leucadendron are considered the foliage side of the protea family. Most leucadendron are indigenous to South Africa, though some varieties have been found in Australia as well. Around 80 known species exist and all share the same emphasis: the beauty of their foliage. The colorful petals of the leucadendron are called bracts (modified leaves), and the true flower is the cone nestled among their bracts.
Leucadendron includes evergreen shrubs and small trees which have green, often waxy, leaves which are arranged in spirals on the stem. They are dioeceous plants. That is, the male and female plant parts are produced in separate flowers on separate plant species of all species in this genus. Leucadendron thrive in freely-draining soil. They require sunlight most of the day and can be propagated by cuttings or seed.
With so many fabulous varieties to choose from, it's hard to play favorites with leucadendron, but we've gathered a few outstanding varieties for you here.