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The wonder of wild flowers

Mar 15, 2017

The wonder of wild flowers

Proteas and pincushions are popular fynbos species, bringing colour to the garden and attracting birds, bees and butterflies.

By Kay Montgomery

if you want to create a beautiful garden, full of colour and a haven for bees, birds and butterflies, than look no further than fynbos.

Fynbos in your garden

popular fynbos families include ericas, restios, proteas and leucospermums (pincushions).

proteass are a very popular and the king protea (protea cynaroides) in our national flower.

The Proteaceae family, which includes pincushions, comprises a diverse range of plants found in southern hemisphere countries like South Africa, Australia, new Zealand, Madagascar and South Ameria. In South Africa the family contains around 360 species.

Proteaceae are beautfiul and diverse plants to include in the suburban garden. They are fantastic living gifts that can be enjoyed year after year.

you will not only be adding colour to your garden but inviting a variety of birds, butterflies and bees to enjoy the garden too.

Proteas are perfect candidates for a mountain slope or rockery. plants need to be watered regularly until established. thereafter, they are a delight to have in the water-wise garden. Pincushions provide stunning colour from late winter through early summer.

both proteas and pincushions are perfectly adapted to local conditions and thrive in a winter -rainfall area. always remember fynbos does best in full sun, the more sun the more flowers

Guidelines for growing Proteaceae

To be successful with fynbos in the suburban garden, you need to consider how plants grow in the wild.

  • Fynbos grows naturally in a slightly acidic, sandy soil that drains well. when planting shrubs, do not add compost bone meal or any other form of phosphorus to the planting hole.
  • Choose a sunny position, with good air circulation for your plant.
  • Proteaceae are best planted in autum or early winter. However, if you want include some pincushions in your garden you can plant them now. Proteas will be availble in nurseries from November in onwards and may be planted then, but plants would need adequate watering to cope with the summer heat.
  • After planting add a match layer of wood chips, aged pine bark, crushed rock or gravel around the base of plants.

Mulch helps to

  • prevent weed growth and will help to keep the soil cool and moist in summer. Apply a layer of 5cm to 8cm, but keep away from the stem.
  • Use the following watering recommendations for newly planted shrubs – water if there has been no rain for a couple of days.
  • This is also dependent on your soil type. Sandy soil drains faster and would need more frequent irrigation. In summer, newly planted shrubs must be watered daily or every second day for the first one or two years.
  • Never dig around the base of your shrubs – Proteaceae don’t like their roots disturbed.
  • when fertilizing established shrubs, do not use fertilizers high in phophates and avoid adding compost to the soil as it can be high in phosphorus and nitrigen which can be toxic to Proteaceae.

The following fertilizers are recommended:

  • Seagro fish emulsion can be added according to lowest recommended application rate. Apply twice a year – once after pruning in summer and once in the late autumn.
  • Bio Ganic and Bio Ocean 150g – 200g per square metre can be applied twice to three times per year. Spread on the soil surface around the plant. Apply after pruning in late autumn and in the late winter to spring.

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