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PROTEA neriifolia

Image of Protea neriifolia

Melburnian, Wikimedia Commons Contributor

Family

Proteaceae

Botanical Name

PROTEA neriifolia

Plant Common Name

Mink Protea, Oleanderleaf Protea, Protea

General Description

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.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Light Pink, Rose, Black

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Rose

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Double, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No