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King Protea, Giant Protea

Protea cynaroides

Family: Proteaceae (pro-tee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Protea (PROH-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: cynaroides (sin-nar-OY-deez) (Info) (sin-ar-OY-deez) (Info)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

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 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

over 6"

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Alicia, Arkansas

Aliso Viejo, California

Hayward, California

Hidden Meadows, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Mission Viejo, California

San Leandro, California

Vista, California(9 reports)

Boca Raton, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 28, 2017, Anna_Z from Monroe, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I have no experience, but I do have a question about them..........since I'm zone 5a, how would these plants tolerate my summers outside and then in the greenhouse if planted in a large pot? They would be in a pot all the time, not in the ground in the summer, then dug and potted for winter. I saw where they do not like having their roots disturbed, but I wouldn't have considered "in-ground" for summer even if that was not a consideration.



On Sep 25, 2017, mayarao from New Delhi,
India wrote:

It is a lovely flower, but grows into quite a huge bush and therefore requires a lot of space, and also it hates transplantation or change of location, so any shifting of this plant should be done very very carefully without touching its roots, and the root-balls should remain intact. I have tried to get these plants from South Africa (Cape Town), but unfortunately none of them survived the shipment in which their rootes had got disturbed.


On Jun 17, 2017, shnbwmn from Cape Town,
South Africa (Zone 10a) wrote:

Needs regular watering for the first 2 years (particularly the summers) for establishment.


On Feb 21, 2017, KimmieA from Alicia, AR wrote:

When I lived in Northern California I used to grow these at my house in Oroville.. Very pretty..

I now live in NEA..Northeast Arkansas and was wondering has anyone ever grown any here.. By Jonesboro Ar


On Dec 17, 2015, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I'm growing it and its not nearly as dry tolerant as I expected. After a year it still needs summer watering.
2017:I've also since read that they take up to 5 years after planting to bloom. 2 more to go!


On Oct 24, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant.

The king protea is the national flower of South Africa and is commercially grown in Australia and Hawaii. Bracts vary in color. Naturally occuring hybrids may have bracts that are silvery pink, deep clear pink or sometimes a deep crimson. When cut, the blooms last for weeks. When visiting Maui, I bought four buds from 2 nice young men on the side of the road while traveling to Hana for 50 cents each. They were not fully open when I had to leave after an 8 day visit. Too bad I could not bring them with me ... they cost a fortune here.


On Oct 9, 2006, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Protea cynaroides have flower heads that have the flowers in the center with colorful bracts surrounding them. The flowerheads vary in size from 5 inches to 12 inches. The colorful outside bracts vary in color from creamy white to a deep pink, though the paler pinks with a silver sheen are the most sought after. This is a woody shrub which grows to about 6 feet that has thick stems and large shiny green leaves.

The flowerheads are prized as a cut flower and add lots of drama to a bouquet.