The demand for Protea has reached fever pitch as their sturdy stems and long-lasting blooms make them the perfect cut flowers. The family tree originates in South Africa and these blooms love sun and sugar, especially Eximia, Latifolia, and Dutchess varieties.
Contrary to popular belief, Protea are not tropical flowers… they are actually Mediterranean flowers, and they can be stored in a floral cooler, especially during warm summer days. Here are some quick tips to improve protea life:
- Unpack the flowers immediately.
- Cut up to 1/2 inch off the stems and remove leaves that will end up in the water.
- Store flowers in a well-lit floral (protea prefer to rest with the light on) cooler or refrigerator between 43-50 Fn.
- Removing a few leaves around the flower head will enhance the flower display. Note, some Protea are prone to leaf blackening and even with the best post-harvest care, it can still happen. So, if the flower looks fresh and healthy to you, just remove those leaves as well.
- Use a flower preservative or a teaspoon of sugar for added longevity.
- Check water levels frequently as protea get very thirsty.
- Keep then out of direct sunlight whenever possible.
- With proper care, blooms can last weeks in a vase. Then, they don’t die… they dry beautifully! Many Proteas retain their structural design and to some extent their color. When used in dried flower arrangements or wreaths, they are as permanent as almost anything the botanical world provides.