Protea cynaroides - L.
Common Name King Protea
Family Proteaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist areas in poor sandy soils at elevations of 100 - 1,000 metres[260]. Plants have also been found growing in rock crevices at elevations up to 1,500 metres[260].
Range S. Africa - Cape Province.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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Protea cynaroides King Protea
Protea cynaroides King Protea
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Protea cynaroides is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


 South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Nectar.
Edible Uses:

The sweet nectar from the flowers is consumed directly[183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Requires a very well-drained light soil[1, 124], preferably on the poor side[200], with plenty of humus and sand[1]. Requires a pH of 6.5 or lower[200]. Plants are very difficult to grow[188], they are sensitive to nitrates and phosphates in the soil, these can prove toxic even at moderate levels[200]. Plants require reasonable potassium levels[260] and may also suffer from magnesium deficiency[200]. Requires a position with good air circulation[1, 124], but sheltered from cold winds[200]. Dislikes warm sultry or windless days[1, 124]. Requires full exposure to the sun[200]. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, but they can be grown outdoors in selected areas. They tolerate slight short-lived frosts once they are established. Plants at Tresco on the Scilly Islands tolerated temperatures down to -9°c over a period of 10 days[200]. Plants generally tolerate temperatures down to about -6°c, although prolonged frosts, or frosts combined with cold dry winds will cause damage[124]. They are best grown in a cool greenhouse, but plants can be placed outdoors in the summer[1]. A very ornamental plant[1]. A good bee plant, providing an abundance of nectar[46]. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and should be grown in pots until they are planted into their final positions[1].
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in individual pots in a greenhouse. See notes above on soil requirements. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood. July/August in a frame[200].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Readers comment
Alan Roche   Mon May 31 18:34:32 2004
RHS Member No : 13965933 I am a grower of Proteaceae living in Kinsale, Co Cork Ireland. Kinsale is situated on the South coast of Ireland. I have just completed a 1yr full time course in horticulture. Currently I have 5 Dryandra nobilis, produced from seed. I would be gratful for information concerning future care of these plants.
Nikki Davis   Wed Feb 20 2008
Would I be able to grow a protea in a large pot if I use the correct growing medium?
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Subject : Protea cynaroides  

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