Protea speciosa, also named Protea barbata or Brown-beard Sugarbush is native of South African. They grow as an evergreen low shrub to 3-4 feet in height, usually in mountain slopes. They have a robust and erect steem. Protea speciosa makes a spectacular focal point for contemporary arrangements.
The foliage is green in colour. It produces numerous flowers in dome-shaped heads. The large flower heads are whitish-pink, white fringe on margins, thick brown apical tufts on inner involucral bracts. The flowers are hermaphrodite, have both male and female organs and are pollinated by bees. Flowering all year round, the period is depending on the locality.
Bushes need to be pruned regularly to maintain their shape and promote flowers with long stems. When the shrub has finished flowering it is essential to cut off the old flowers. This will allow energy to be used for the growth of new stems at the end of which will be new flowers. It is best to cut the flowering stem back to about 10-12 cm from the preceeding branch.
Hardiness Zone 9, (-5C/25øF) in Winter. This cultivar will survive frost. This species grows in very harsh conditions, mostly high on mountain slopes where it is colder and more windy. Not well suited to very dry areas or regions with very severe frost or to hot humid conditions. Likes a sunny and airy position. Must grow in well-drained, slightly acid, gravely soil. It may tolerate slightly alkaline soil.
Those plants are very sensitive to nitrates and phosphates in the soil, these can prove toxic even at moderate levels. When fertilizing, use a product which contains no phosphorus. Plants may also suffer from magnesium deficiency. Grow with a pH of 5.0 - 5.5.