Wild protea plants grow abundantly in many mountainous regions. Wild protea plants have adapted themselves sufficiently to rugged growing conditions that include winter rains, summer winds and even drought conditions. When growing protea in a home landscape, provide an acidic soil that drains well for optimal protea health. Plant a protea in the soil if year-round temperatures will not fall below freezing. If your winters are cold, plant a protea in a container and move the container inside during the winter.
Fill the small cup with warm water and add the protea seeds to the container. Soak the protea seeds for 24 hours. Drain after the 24 hours has elapsed.
Combine one part compost with one part loam and two parts sand. Mix this soil mixture well in a bucket and then fill the seed-starting tray almost to the top with the mixture.
Place the drained protea seeds over the top of the soil in the seed-starting tray. Cover the seeds with sand. Spray the newly planted seeds lightly with the spray bottle to dampen the soil.
Place the seed-starting tray in a sunny location with constant temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees. Keep the soil surface evenly moist during the germination period by spraying often with the spray bottle. Protea seeds may take up to 3 months to germinate.
Decrease the watering frequency after the seedlings germinate. Water the seedlings lightly when the soil is dry.
"Harden-off" the protea seedlings if you will be transplanting them outside. To do so, place the seed-starting tray outside in a sheltered location for three hours in the middle of the afternoon and bring the seedlings back inside after the time elapses. Gradually keep the seedlings outside for longer periods and move the seedlings to a location that receives some sunlight over a one-week period.
Transplant the protea seedlings when they are approximately 4 inches tall. Either plant them into a permanent container (one plant per container) filled with the same soil mixture or prepare a sunny growing location outside with the same soil mixture as you made in the seed-starting tray. Place the protea containers in a sunny location outside, if possible.
Fertilize protea plants with the fertilizer once per month. Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations and apply the fertilizer to the roots of the protea plants.
Move the containers to a sunny indoor location prior to any freezing weather