Tuesday, April 30, 2024

In Celebration of Earth Month - The Hummingbird

Despite being stunning cut flowers, proteas not only add color and texture to floral designs, but they also attract a symphony of nature's nectar-seeking guests like birds, bees, and butterflies. Once you've had the pleasure of observing these pollinators in action, it's only natural to want to see them more often, like my favorite... the hummingbird.

Hummingbirds love proteas thanks to the flower's abundance of both pollen and nectar, especially over the long winter months. The small size, rapid wingbeats, mid-air acrobatics, and hovering flight are fascinating to witness. During courtship dives a hummingbird can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour and can average speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour. It can rotate its wings in a circle and it's the only bird that can fly forward, backward, up, down, and sideways. Such high-energy movement requires that these birds feed every ten to fifteen minutes, and proteas certainly satisfy that hunger. These amazing pollinators bring so much excitement and wonder to the field.

Our top 3 Hummingbird-Friendly proteas….

Grevillea Flowers

Leucospermum – Pincushions


Monday, April 29, 2024

Proteas: Think Twice Before You Fertilize

Did you know California is one of five Mediterranean-climate regions on the earth where proteas are grown? It’s true! And since springtime is a popular planting time… I have an important growing tip for you.

These amazing plants are cherished for their exotic flowers and foliage that symbolize diversity and resilience. Thanks to their wide variety and low maintenance, proteas can easily be grown in California and bring long-lasting color year after year.

When it comes to resilience, proteas are notorious for thriving in poor, infertile soils. Why? They have ‘cluster’ roots that benefit from nutrients released from decomposing leaves. What’s intriguing is their ability to access enough phosphorus when there is very little available. It’s due to the citrate acid that is released by their roots and is bound to the soil. The citrate frees the phosphorus allowing it to be taken up by the roots. Proteas are very sensitive to phosphorus, and so phosphorus fertilizers can be deadly. Most plants stop absorbing phosphorus when they have their fill, but proteas don’t know when to stop. They take it all… making them sick to the point of dying.