Melburnian, Wikimedia Commons Contributor
Plant Common Name
Mink Protea, Oleanderleaf Protea, Protea
The spectacularly large flowers of the mink protea are both alluring and provocative with their papery pink bracts edged in feathery black. Native to South Africa, this upright evergreen shrub blooms in fall and winter. When cut, flowers last in bouquets for about three weeks.
The medium green leaves of this shrub are elongated and elliptical with smooth edges and a leathery, hard surface texture. As the days shorten and temperatures cool in fall and winter, the leaf edges blush red or rosy pink. This is also the time when the flowers bloom, occurring just along the branch tips. Each blossom resembles a torch with hundreds of pink bracts. The tips of the bracts have feathery edges of black or dark burgundy. The shade may vary, ranging from pale creamy pink to golden salmon or carmine-rose.
Mink protea is among the easiest to grow. It tolerates alkaline soils as well as climates that are wet in winter and dry in summer, or dry in winter and wet in summer. For best performance, plant it in full sun and neutral soil that is moderately infertile. Soil must be fast-draining and porous; moist soils encourage fungal diseases. Amend loam and clay soils with grit and coarse organic matter to improve aeration and drainage. Do not fertilize, especially with phosphorus which causes protea to falter. Plant mink protea on a sunny berm or rocky hillside as an accent shrub.
All proteas are short-lived surviving 10 to 15 years at most. The nut-like seeds may be sown or stem cuttings rooted as replacements. Mink protea benefits from having old flowers trimmed off in spring. This encourages fuller growth and more blooms by early winter.
AHS Heat Zone
10 - 8
USDA Hardiness Zone
9 - 10
H1, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24
6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m
6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m
Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter