Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Protea
Protea 'Pink Ice'

Family: Proteaceae (pro-tee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Protea (PROH-tee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Pink Ice


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Flowers are good for cutting

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 26 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sandiegojames On Mar 7, 2008, sandiegojames from San Diego, CA wrote:

While not the showiest of proteas, this is certainly a tough and attractive plant. Mine is now a large shrub, ca. 10 x 8 feet, and has been blooming non-stop since the fall (now into March). It gets virtually no supplemental summer water here near the coast, and the plant stays green and attractive.

Neutral htop On Feb 3, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. 'Pink Ice' can be grown in sun or shade.

Neutral Kell On Nov 16, 2007, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Protea Pink Ice was developed by Proteaflora, a nursery in Australia. According to Proteaflora, it is a from a cross between Protea neriifolia x Susannae. It is drought tolerant and can withstand more frost than most protea. This one also can grow on the coast and withstand heavier soil without rotting.

I have also seen it listed on other websites as a hybrid created by P Matthews with its parents being P. compacta x P. Susannae. I have several emails out asking for clarification. In all places, it is listed as a hardy protea. Follow up: I just heard from David Mathews of
Proteaflora Nursery who has informed me it is from a cross between Protea neriifolia x Susannae.

In general:
The genus Protea was named after the Greek God Proteus who could assume many shapes because like him, Proteas come in so many different forms. The king protea, Protea cynaroides is the national flower of South Africa where most originate from the mountainous coastal land of Cape Flora region. They are now grown in New Zealand, Australia, California and Hawaii

Proteas will attract bees and birds to your garden. They are full of nectar and often are called sugarbushes. Some are so sticky from nectar, insects actually get trapped in them. They grow best in full sun where the days are warm and the nights cool. Generally protea like acidic, well draining soil. You can add peat moss and bark to a good soil mix or use a soil less mixture. Add perlite or pumice to increase drainage which is most important to have. Water moderately until well established then they are somewhat drought tolerant, needing only occasional deep watering. Most can tolerate temps down to 25 if established though prefer no frost.

Protea are not heavy feeders. According to the protea expert, Dennis Perry, they need much less fertilizer, about 1/8th to 1/4th of other plants. Proteas like to have sulfur, magnesium and iron available to them in higher amounts than you would ordinarily use on other plants. However, phosphorus and calcium is harmful to them, so select fertilizers that are very low in these 2 nutrients. Mr. Perry suggests using Epsom Salts and Iron sulfate as soil amendments. A slow release, low phosphate fertilizer in late winter and mid summer is best. You do not want to encourage rapid growth as this may weaken the plant.

Unfortunately, seedlings from species can be difficult to keep alive due to fungal diseases. Vegetative propagation may be easier. To propagate hybrids you need to take cuttings of semi hardwood in late summer and autumn. Many root easily.

Prune after your protea flowers, removing old blooms and shaping plant. Do not prune stems that have not bloomed for these are next years blooming wood.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Carlsbad, California
Mission Viejo, California
San Diego, California
San Leandro, California

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