Cold hardiness and beautiful pink and black flowers are the hallmarks of the hybrid Protea, 'Pink Ice.' A cross between the South African natives, mink protea (Protea neriifolia) and stink-leaf sugarbush (P. susannae), this evergreen is an upright to loosely rounded shrub that blooms in Autumn and Winter.
Its stellar blooms are beautiful when cut and last for two to three weeks in a vase. The narrow, oval foliage of this shrub is medium green with a leathery, hard texture. When Autumn and Winter days shorten and temperatures grow cooler, the leaf edges blush rosy pink. Each blossom resembles a torch with hundreds of magenta-rose bracts. The tips of the bracts are edged with feathery burgundy black hairs.
This Protea is among the easiest to grow. It tolerates slightly acid and 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 alkaline 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 fertilise, especially with phosphorus which causes proteas to falter.
Plant this showy shrub in a prominent location to show off its magnificent flowers. All proteas are short-lived surviving 10 to 15 years at most. Take stem cuttings from older plants to replace older, failing specimens. Trim spent flowers off in spring to encourage fuller growth and more blooms by early winter.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.