Sunday, March 31, 2024

Here Come the Leucospermum

Are you ready for the excitement of Leucospermum? It’s time to breathe more life into your spring arrangements with these fanciful blooms.

These fanciful Leucospermum plants bring so much pleasure to our hearts during this time of the year. The vibrant red, orange, peach, yellow and bi-colored blooms are formed mainly with long, sprout-like structures that end in a round knob called a pollen presenter. Together, the mass of styles looks a lot like pins bristling from a “pincushion”, a similarity that has given rise to the popular name for this genus.

Leucospermum include some forty-eight species, of which all but three are endemic to South Africa’s Cape Province. Unlike flowers of the genus Protea, which rely on their showy bracts for visual appeal, Leucospermum put all their art into the colors of the flowers themselves as well as the flowing shape of each curving component.

Leucospermum are considered Mediterranean plants, which is good news for anyone living in central and southern California. These stunning plants provide drama and stature in the fields and in designs. They’re gorgeous when flaunted on their own, however, when mingled with other proteas… they make for a breathtaking display!

Saturday, March 30, 2024


What could be more magical than seeing winter turn to spring? Isopogon celebrates the transition with us. This member of the Australia Proteaceae family consists of over 34 species plus, three varieties. In Western Australia Isopogon are often referred to as cone flowers, while in the eastern states they’re known as drumsticks.

These unique looking spring flowers, born as a solid cone with the blooms spiraling from and surrounding the central cone, look like petite pinwheels. Like many proteas, Isopogon flowers are made up of many flowers that open from the outside in. Its stems are woody, and leaves are green, pointed and surround the flowers at their base.

What to look for

  • Buy when the outer flowers in each flower head are opening. 
  • Avoid bunches with brown tips on the flowers and with yellow leaves.

Flower Care

  1. Keep cool. 
  2. Strip leaves from the bottom half of each stem. 
  3. Re-cut at least 1/4” off each stem and place in cold water. 
  4. Use a preservative as this will help keep open flowers looking fresh. 
  5. Replace water frequently.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Easter Inspiration: Proteaceae

Spring is here and Easter is just days away! Out of all the holidays, Easter has the most vibrant seasonal proteas to choose from. There's just something about this stunning family of flowers that makes my heart swoon and skip a beat.

So, get ready! After filling Easter baskets and planning the ultimate egg hunt, you'll want to create a festive protea centerpiece of your own. And springtime offers the most abundant array of proteaceae like Leucospermum, Leucadendron, Banksia, Isopogon, Protea and textural Grevillea flowers + foliage. Some of my favorite designs don't require fancy containers, utilizing a galvanized bucket, wicker basket, ceramic bowl or wooden box will suffice when you have such eye-catching blooms to showcase. And you can use your centerpiece as inspiration for your table settings and other floral arrangements on display around your home.

The best part? Proteas make great ‘leftovers’ as they will last for weeks after the celebration, and many will dry beautifully... so they can be enjoyed for years. To fully round out your Easter decor, get inspired by these arrangements.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Spring Protea Pairings

Ready to add allure to your day and seasonal decor? You're in luck. With Leucospermum ‘pincushions’ turning a centerpiece into mesmerizing display is a breeze. Especially right now as they’re zooming into bloom, and there's so many amazing varieties to choose from. This arrangement features Sunrise that flaunts two lovely shades of orange, and Tango that boasts a bend of red and orange. Both pincushions pair perfectly with protea Nitida and Grandicolor, the textural banksia and vibrant flowering Leucadendron. And, for a playful touch, a few stems of yellow Grevillea flowers and Ivanhoe are mingled into the fushion.

The results make for a vivacious centerpiece with a tropical-feel and put a spring-ready twist on these amazing proteas. The orange and neutral shade palette adds a sense of softness that resonates with springtime and the new beginnings.

  • Leucospermum ‘pincushion’ Sunrise and Tango 
  • Banksia Candles and Integrifolia 
  • Protea Grandicolor 
  • Protea Nitida 
  • Grevillea flowers 
  • Grevillea Ivanhoe 
  • Leucadendron Maui Sunset and Red Devil 
  • Eucalyptus Pavifolia 
  • Round ceramic container 
  • Clippers 
  • Waterproof floral tape
  1. Create a tape grid across the top of your vase using waterproof floral tape. 
  2. Begin designing your arrangement by creating a base of the eucalyptus Parvifolia foliage. 
  3. Continue to build the base by adding Grevillea Ivanhoe. 
  4. Once you have a nice base and shape, insert the pincushions. Make sure to cut the stems at an angle to allow maximum water absorption. 
  5. Next, insert the protea and banksia randomly around the arrangement. 
  6. Add color and a new texture with the yellow Grevillea flowers and Leucadendron.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Protea Nitida – Waboom

Add some interesting color and texture to your winter designs with this beautiful and unusual protea, Nitida or also called arborea and waboom. This diverse South African shrub, with its lengthy history and unique appearance is a jewel in the fynbos world. It’s the only protea plant that’s large enough to produce usable timber. The name waboom, which is Afrikaans for wagon tree, originates from the wood’s use for wheel rims and brake blocks on wagons. Plus, it’s ideal for creating decorative furniture and it makes excellent firewood. In addition, the leaves were boiled to make a blue-black ink for dyeing.

This awesome protea not only produces useful timber, but its flowers and foliage are prominent and captivating when used in floral designs. Nitida has long, oval leaves that are leathery and fully evergreen. They emerge opaque magenta but mature to a light bluish 'sea-green' or silver. Large, white flowers bloom during the winter and early spring. Each blossom opens from a tidy bud to an impressive flower with creamy-white spike-like stamens with brown tips and surrounded by bronze colored bracts.

Once the flowers dry, textural wooden pods remain to be enjoyed.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Banksia Candles

Banksia fans, brace yourselves! Love the classic shape and texture of these awesome flowers?

Did you know, there are certain things that exemplify Australia, that are true icons of the amazing Land Down Under and the Banksia is one of them? Banksia have earned a place on this list as they can be found all over the country. Many varieties have names that describe a certain physical characteristic, like the Banksia Candles… or also known as banksia ericifolia, heath-leaved banksia and lantern banksia. This stunning variety is native to a range of habitats across two separate regions of Central and Northern New South Wales east of the Great Dividing Range.

These bronzy-orange candle-like blooms illustrate the signature qualities of this protea genus, a barrel-shape spikes or inflorescence up to 14 inches long with hundreds of tiny flowers mounted on a woody cone in corn-cob-like rows. These flowers appear during autumn and winter, sometimes lasting through to early spring. The leaves are small, pine-like, and alternately arranged on the branches.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Berzelia Berries

Looking for stems of beautiful berries for cut flower bouquets, arrangements or even wreaths? How about using Berzelia or often referred to as Buttonbush? Clusters of round-shaped flowers adorn these lush evergreen plants, complemented by soft, fern-like foliage that surrounds the entire stem from top to bottom in a spiral-like design.

Berzelia lanuginosa

Berzelia Red Jelly

These ‘other-worldly’ botanicals flower from early winter and last well into spring. The berries are often massed in spherical heads and range in color from several shades of green, yellow, creamy-white and some varieties are even two-toned. Berzelia’s unique texture not only appeals to your sense of sight, but also to your tactile senses. Whether it is the lanuginosa or Red Jelly variety, these berries are certainly engaging, making you want to just reach out and touch them. It’s easy to see why this amazing botanical has become popular among designers around the world for its exotic appearance and fabulous texture that complements a range of stylist moods.

Berzelia, is one of approximately eight species found in the Bruniaceae family, one of the few families that is endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom. It grows naturally in the wild from the northwestern to the southwestern parts of the Western Cape.