Plantshed Blog

Flower Feature: Protea

Flower Feature: Protea

Author: C. W.

Proteas are popular tropical flowers that are highly coveted by florists who love to use them in arrangements to add a bold focal point to their bouquets. These exotic and multi-dimensional blooms are some of the world’s most royal flowers.

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With some kinds of proteas having large flower heads ranging from 6-12 inches in diameter, they are truly a sight to behold. The flower heads are technically composite flowers, meaning they are comprised of multiple smaller flowers arranged in the center surrounded by large colorful bracts on the outside. Protea flowers have cone-like heads or clusters of long, tubular flowers that are dense and dramatic in shades of pink, orange, yellow, and multi-colored florets against glossy dark green foliage. With a slight resemblance to artichokes, these distinctive big blooms have an unmistakable presence wherever they are.

Truly unlike any other flower, proteas have a unique and striking beauty that feels almost prehistoric. This is probably because proteas are approximately 300 million years old, making them one of the oldest flowering plants on earth. Believed to be native to the Southern Hemisphere, proteas can be found in the wild in places like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. While native to the southern parts of the globe, cultivars in the Northern Hemisphere have great success growing these sub-tropical blooms.

These flowering shrubs offer drama and stature in residential gardens and the hillsides of southern California alike. While many associate proteas with South Africa and Australia, some of the best proteas in the world are cultivated on flower farms in places like California and Hawaii. Horticulturists around the world grow proteas for their desirability to florists. Known for their resilience and ability to grow in harsh climates, proteas have thick stems which extend deep into the soil, which is a part of their highly evolved survival mechanisms and allows them to easily grow back into new plants after a wildfire. Renowned for their beauty and huge flowery heads, they’re used in floral arrangements just about everywhere.

With looks that are divine and out of this world, it makes perfect sense that proteas are named for the Greek god Proteus. Proteus was known in Greek mythology for his ability to change into many forms. Like Proteus, the protea flower also presents itself in an amazing array of shapes, hues, textures, and sizes to make up more than 1,400 varieties of known protea. With mythological meanings around change and transformation, it’s no surprise that as a flower proteas symbolize courage, diversity, and transformation.

In floral arrangements, proteas offer an exotic burst of color, texture, and dimension to any bouquet or arrangement. This popular tropical bloom is loved by florists for the unique brilliance proteas bring to a bouquet.

Proteas look beautiful in arrangements with other proteas or add a distinctive flair of drama when used in multi-floral bouquets. From the star-shaped giant King Protea to the delicate Pincushion Protea, to the whimsical Blushing Bride Protea, these diverse blooms fit into almost any bouquet for nearly any occasion. Perfect for any style of arrangement such as boho chic, rustic, classic, or contemporary, proteas make a striking flower statement that looks good just about everywhere.

Curious to learn a little more and to experience these majestic blooms? Stop by any of our Plantshed locations to check out these beauties in person and perhaps bring some home with you to add an exotic touch to your home.