Friday, April 29, 2022

Growing Leucospermum – Pincushions

The fanciful Leucospermum plant brings so much pleasure to our hearts during this time of the year. The vibrant red, orange, peach, yellow and bi-colored flowers in bloom (generally mid-winter through spring) 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 gardens as well.

Leucospermum flowers are gorgeous in a vase on their own, but when accompanied with other proteas or other more traditional flowers like roses, anemones, dahlias or snapdragons they can make spectacular arrangements.

Growing Leucospermum:
  • Leucospermum flourish in full-sun exposure with good air movement around the plants. 
  • When transplanting Leucospermum, set plants into the soil at the same level that they were in the container. 
  • Plant on a mound or slope to promote excellent drainage in soil that is slightly acidic. 
  • Mulch to conserve water but keep mulch free of the crown of the plant. 
  • Water regularly until plants are established. 
  • Protect from frost.

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