Protea scolymocephala / Thistle Protea / Seeds

(Code: SIL_056)
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Protea scolymocephala / Thistle Protea / Seeds

One of the smaller and hardier South African Proteas, forming a neat upright plant with cream and pale green flower-heads in late spring and early summer.  Plants have long narrow leaves and a well branched habit.  They quickly reach a height of about 1m, and are excellent conservatory and garden plants.  They make good cut flowers, each 30-40cm in size.  

Proteas are quite particular about their germination and growing conditions.  They need a well-drained sandy and acid soil with low phosphate levels.  A sunny spot is best, which is sheltered against frost.  Thistle Proteas can be grown outdoors in a sheltered spot in the warmest parts of the UK, but otherwise best in large pots that are overwintered in a well-ventilated conservatory or greenhouse.

Pack of 8 seeds.  Sow in autumn or spring.  Seeds need to be soaked for 24hrs before sowing.  Flowering starts in the second season.  Sowing instructions and a colour photo are printed on the packet.

See how your seeds are packed.

Hardiness Half hardy evergreen shrub
Flowers Early to mid summer
Height 1m
Spread 1m
Conditions  Sun and nutrient-poor acidic well drained soil

Sow in spring or autumn.  Soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water.  After soaking, sow the seeds in a tray of moist well drained seed compost.  Cover with 1cm of dry clean sand and keep at 15-18C.  Let temperatures drop at night.  Germination takes 4-6 weeks, and up to 3 months in cooler conditions.  Practice good sowing hygiene and this will prevent attack from fungal and other diseases.  Move the seedlings to pots when they are big enough to handle and grow on.


Small plants can be grown on in pots, which should be kept moist and protected from the hottest sun.  Plant out in nutrient poor acidic sandy soil.  Protect from hard frosts.  Plants grow well in large pots in a well ventilated conservatory.  Feed occasionally with phosphate-free organic fertilizer.  Cut back dead flower stems after flowering.  Otherwise this evergreen plant does not need regular pruning.  

See Growing Advice on more information about growing Proteas.