April 26, 2023
The Searles Gardening Team
Leucadendron, also known as conebush or cone flower, are often confused with Protea due to their similar appearance. However, Leucadendron are characterised by their magnificent coloured foliage and petite, yet striking flowers.
They are native to South Africa and are drought hardy when mature, but require adequate water when young to ensure proper bud development.
When it comes to watering, it is recommended to treat Leucadendron like young succulents. Avoid leaving a saucer of water under pots and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. In the garden, follow a pattern of watering similar to succulents or cacti, keeping in mind that garden soil holds onto moisture better than pots. Leucadendron prefer well-drained soil and are not suitable for heavy clay soils. If you do have clay soil, it is advisable to keep them in pots. As the plants mature and during cooler months, decrease the amount of water provided.
Pruning Leucadendron is done after the flowering season to maintain shape and form, and to prevent the plant from looking scruffy. Use a fertiliser suitable for native plants, such as Searles Native Food or Robust Controlled Release Fertiliser - Native Plants, as Leucadendron are members of the Proteaceae family and are sensitive to phosphorus. When planting new Leucadendron in the garden, it is best to do so in autumn or winter to allow the plant to settle before the heat of summer. Root rot from overwatering is a common issue with new plants, so finding the right balance between watering and under watering is crucial for their success.
Leucadendron are relatively pest-free, but proper care and watering practices are essential to ensure their colour and hardiness flourish. With their striking foliage and flowers, Leucadendron can be a beautiful addition to any garden, providing a unique and exotic touch.