Thursday, May 26, 2022

Quick Tips to Improve Protea Life

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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Majestic Vibes: Protea King

It’s May and we're definitely feeling majestic vibes! It is safe to say our spring King harvest has been bountiful. These chic beauties offer an enchanting world filled with color, texture, and sizes to try. Captivated by the King? We figured if you love them as we do, you’d want to know a few interesting facts about this stunning Protea.

The artichoke-like appearance of the blooms nod to the name ‘cynaroides’, which means ‘like cynara’… the artichoke. The term does no justice to these beautiful blooms as they are the largest in the genus. Some eighty variants of Kings have been depicted, and they're divided into groups according to their leaf type. The leathery leaves vary from large and rounded to small and narrow and their huge flowers can be wide open, almost like a 12” dinner plate or a narrow funnel shape. These flower heads consist of numerous small, tubular-shaped blooms or also called an inflorescence. Their color can range from greenish white to soft silvery pink and deep red, with each kind having its own flowering time.

King Protea are perennial plants that can survive many years in the wild. They also tolerate fires thanks to their thick underground stem filled with numerous dormant buds which starts to sprout shortly after a fire. Fires also assist with drying the cones and releasing seed, while the wind helps spread the seed and seasonal rain triggers germination.

Kings have evolved to survive in the harsh climates, while attracting pollinators at the same time. Obviously, a very compatible combination as these Protea are some of the most ancient flowers, evolving more than one hundred million years ago.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Visualizing Your Next of Work of Art

If a flower field is a living, sprouting, and evolving creative display, then a floral arrangement is a three-dimensional, interactive art installation. There’s no doubt, I find that I am most inspired when I'm in the field or my garden surrounded by lots of gorgeous blooms. My imagination simply takes over and I start visualizing what I'll use in my next arrangement. So, if you’re contemplating about your next work of art, I’ve got a few suggestions to help you get those creative juices flowing.

Leucospermum, like the Erubescens pictured above, are exquisite and incredibly long-lasting cut flowers, with vibrant, colorful blooms. Then, adding some textural varieties of Banksia and Grevillea take an arrangement from being ordinary to extraordinary.

If you'd like even more variety, mix in blooms like alstroemeria, ranunculus and snapdragons. Sturdy stem flowers are a big benefit, as they will stand up better in the container. Don’t forget to use some lush foliage like Grevillea Ivanhoe as a filler which, by the way, will add even more texture to the design. Most importantly, you're the artist so select colors and blooms that inspire your creativity. Flower arranging is a practice of resourcefulness, which requires experimentation and imagination. If you like what you've made, then you've accomplished the goal!