PROTEACEAE

The Protea family is an exciting and diverse group of plants, some of which are certainly hardy enough for western Washington, while many more remain untried so far. Please note that for all plants in this family, fertilizers containing Phosphorus should be avoided, as this may kill the plants. See Proteas in Seattle for further information.


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Banksia

Banksia is an intriguing genus that has fascinated me for a long time. Native to Australia, this genus was named after Sir Joseph Banks who accompanied Captain Cook on his famous voyages and did much to promote the cultivation of exotic plants in Britain. They are characterized by (in most species) stout to tall flowers stalks that are said to resemble candles (or, perhaps, ears of corn) and interesting leaves which are often saw-like and sometimes silvery underneath. While most Banksias may not catch on in cultivation in colder climates, we intend to keep trying them until we get to know them all really well. We believe some of them may be hardier than most people think (we usually offer at least a couple that are worth a shot outdoors in Seattle), while others make excellent container plants. So far growing in containers seems an excellent way to keep them, as many will bloom in a 5 gallon pot or even smaller in some cases. Containers should be kept moist and not left indoors under artificial light for more than a few days at a time. We have found them to be quite easy to grow provided they are given enough light and phosphorous fertilizers are avoided: the same care as most Proteaceae.
Banksia blechnifolia
New Spring 2013!
$24
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 (6?) · Hardy to at least 18°F

Fascinating! This is one of several Banksia species that actually creeps along the ground, producing large leaves that stick straight up while the stems are completely prostrate. In the case of this species, the leaves recall with remarkable resemblance those of some species of the fern genus Blechnum, though they are much tougher, and may exceed 12" long. Cylindrical orange or orange-red flower spikes are produced on quite young plants: these arise directly from ground level resulting in a very curious looking plant! And to top it all off, it has brilliant pink new growth! Being from summer-dry Western Australia, it will appreciate a hot site, perhaps with reflected heat, and NO summer water. Although we're not sure how hardy this is yet, it's certainly hardier than might be expected. So far it has survived temperatures in the upper teens F unharmed. It can also be grown in a container in a sandy soil mix, where it is sure to make an interesting conversation piece, and yes, it does bloom in a pot!

 
Banksia [seedling of 'Giant Candles']
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to 22°F or below

Little candles? No, not really - just because it's a seedling doesn't mean the candles will be smaller than the parent. It will probably be quite similar or perhaps even better, but we have not seen them yet. 'Giant Candles' is a B. ericifolia x B. spinulosa cross with exceptionally long, golden "candles" or flower stalks often exceeding 1' long. Its narrow, small leaves are a little bit larger than those of B. ericifolia, and it is a vigorous grower.

Banksia grandis - BULL BANKSIA
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 24°F

From the south coast of Western Australia comes this robust and vigorous species. Its immediately striking feature is the foliage, which is coarse and irregularly cut with serrations that go all the way back to the stem but in an asymmetrical fashion. This appearance has been described as "like something a child would draw" by one gardener I know. Mature plants may reach 10' tall and produce "candles" of yellow flowers up to 18" long, the longest of any Banksia. It is easily grown and will last a long time in a container where its size will of course be restricted.

Banksia integrifolia subsp.
integrifolia - COAST BANKSIA
$14 (standard)
$20 (1 gallon)
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 18 - 20°F

Probably the most common large Banksia in cultivation, this vigorous and very easily grown species develops rapidly into an irregularly shaped tree to 20' or more. Its showy, tall spikes of yellow flowers appear sporadically throughout the year but particularly in spring and fall, and it is also a popular species for the cut foliage industry as it has beautiful silver-backed leaves and coppices well. Subspecies integrifolia, the coastal form of this species, is often promoted as one of the hardiest Banksias: we're not quite sure why, since it is not as hardy as some other Banksias such as B. marginata; but it is still a useful ornamental. It can be grown in a large container for many years where it will make a most impressive specimen. It is hardy to about 18 - 20°F, but new growth may be injured at higher temperatures.

 
Banksia integrifolia subsp. monticola
- WHITE MOUNTAIN BANKSIA
$18
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to 15 - 20°F or below

Probably the most common large Banksia in cultivation, this vigorous and very easily grown species develops rapidly into an irregularly shaped tree to 20' or more. Its showy, tall spikes of yellow flowers appear sporadically throughout the year but particularly in spring and fall, and it is also a popular species for the cut foliage industry as it has beautiful silver-backed leaves and coppices well. The subsp. monticola is an exciting, recently described taxon that requires some introduction, as we may be (as far as I can tell) the first in the United States to offer it. While the typical subsp. marginata is strictly coastal, this form is a disjunct inland population found in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, where it grows at altitudes above 2,000'. It differs slightly from B. marginata in that the leaves are longer with more serrations, and it grows larger and decidedly tree-like (in the wild it may reach 110' tall, the tallest Banksia known). We think this is an exciting new plant combining the exceptional vigor, beauty, and ease of growth of B. integrifolia with vastly improved hardiness and much better promise for colder gardens. A Banksia grower in Canberra uses this plant as a rootstock to graft all other Banksia species onto because of its exceptional hardiness, vigor, adaptability, disease resistance, and general ease of cultivation. Since this is a new plant for us, we don't have any exact numbers for hardiness; but it certainly ought to be hardier than the coastal form, and I'll be surprised if it can't handle at least 15 - 20°F.

Banksia marginata [ex. Vashon, small lvs] - SILVER BANKSIA
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to 15 - 18°F or below

I guarantee this Banksia is made of pure silver! Well, not quite, but it's almost as good. This species is usually a shrub to about 5 - 8' tall, but it may attain the stature of a small tree. The green leaves are comparatively small (under 3") with light serrations, and silvery underneath. Yellow flowers may appear on tall cylindrical "cones" in winter. Silver Banksia is very easy to grow. It will be happiest in full sun on sandy or silty soil, and does not like clay or very rich soils. It is quite drought tolerant but will also not object to moderate summer irrigation. It can also be grown in a large container for many years. This form comes to us from a garden on Vashon Island where it had been misidentified as B. cuneata. It has smaller leaves than usual and, while we haven't yet seen a mature specimen, we suspect it may develop into a nice miniature form of this species. It should be hardy to at least 15 - 18°F and perhaps lower. In one garden near Sequim, Banksia marginata weathered 12°F with little harm in the November 2010 freeze!

 
Banksia marginata [pink new foliage, suckers] - SILVER BANKSIA
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5

I guarantee this Banksia is made of pure silver! Well, not quite, but it's almost as good. This species is usually a shrub to about 5 - 8' tall, but it may attain the stature of a small tree. The green leaves are comparatively small (under 3") with light serrations, and silvery underneath. Yellow flowers may appear on tall cylindrical "cones" in winter. Silver Banksia is very easy to grow. It will be happiest in full sun on sandy or silty soil, and does not like clay or very rich soils. It is quite drought tolerant but will also not object to moderate summer irrigation. It can also be grown in a large container for many years. This is a selection from South Australia that has pink new foliage and tends to sucker profusely at the roots once established. For gardeners who have always wanted a Banksia thicket. Based on the origin of this form, we think it ought to be better suited to hot and dry conditions than the other forms of B. marginata we offer; but we don't know yet how its hardiness compares to the others. In one garden near Sequim, Banksia marginata weathered 12°F with little harm in the November 2010 freeze!

 
Banksia marginata [very tall flowers, Tas.] - SILVER BANKSIA
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 3 · Hardy to 15°F or below

I guarantee this Banksia is made of pure silver! Well, not quite, but it's almost as good. This species is usually a shrub to about 5 - 8' tall, but it may attain the stature of a small tree. The green leaves are comparatively small (under 3") with light serrations, and silvery underneath. Yellow flowers may appear on tall cylindrical "cones" in winter. Silver Banksia is very easy to grow. It will be happiest in full sun on sandy or silty soil, and does not like clay or very rich soils. It is quite drought tolerant but will also not object to moderate summer irrigation. It can also be grown in a large container for many years. This form from Tasmania is expected to have very tall flowers, although we haven't yet seen it bloom. It is also very vigorous with slightly broader, darker green, and more serrated leaves than the other forms. It ought to be quite cold-hardy, perhaps to 12 - 15°F. In one garden near Sequim, Banksia marginata weathered 12°F with little harm in the November 2010 freeze!

Banksia repens - CREEPING BANKSIA
New Spring 2013!
$24
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to 18°F or below

Just when you thought plants couldn't get any weirder, along comes this very odd ground-covering plant; which, when established, looks like a mass of tough, irregularly-lobed foliage sticking out of the ground covering a square yard or two. Actually, the stems creep along just at or below ground level, remaining unseen. Just to be consistent with the "weirdness" theme, the bizarre, cone-like flowers appear right out of the ground outside the periphery of the foliage. In the Northwest we suggest growing it in a pot, where it will require a somewhat gritty growing media, and flower at quite a young age! However, it is also hardier than commonly realized: certainly below 20°F; in fact, we have a report that it survived 12°F unharmed during the December 2009 freeze in a garden near Grants Pass, Oregon with only an upturned pot over it for protection! So, who knows, it might be worth a shot in a really sheltered spot in the Northwest, in full sun with excellent drainage.

 
Banksia spinulosa 'Schnapper Point'
$16
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to at least 20°F

This very cool plant differs primarily from other forms of B. spinulosa by its dwarf habit: it grows slowly into a dense mound of fine, needle-like leaves to an eventual 2' tall and 3 - 4' across. At bloom time (most likely fall, but perhaps also spring in the Northwest) it is covered with large flower spikes to 6" tall that protrude well above the foliage! We think it would be a great container specimen, although probably at least a 7 gallon size (or so) would be necessary for flower production. It is quite easy to grow in a mostly sunny position and reasonably good to excellent drainage. At 19°F in a pot (oops), it took a moderate amount of damage for us but was not set back very much.

Embothrium coccineum - CHILEAN FIRE-TREE
$16
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 2 · Hardy to about 5°F

We are excited to be able to offer this (dare we say) legendary and spectacularly showy tree once again, after not having it for many years. Lending an entirely new meaning to the term "forest fire," it puts on a brilliant show of crimson for a long period in the spring! It tends to be upright in habit, though it often spreads with age, and may reach 25 - 30' or greater after many years (in fact, it has reached 50' in Seattle). Deep green leaves are generally evergreen to start with but older trees may assume a semi-deciduous or even completely deciduous habit, usually with a brief period of bright yellow fall color. It prefers cool, moist, acidic soils, and responds well to heavy applications of organic sources of nitrogen. Like all members of the Proteaceae family, it should not be fed with phosphorus except in the smallest quantities. It is at its best in cool, coastal climates; and tends to be challenging in climates with hot, humid summers. Our seed comes from Northwest sourced trees that have proven completely winter-hardy over the years. Hardy to about 5°F.


Grevillea

Grevillea is one of our favorite plant genera and, we think, one of the most exciting and underrated groups of garden plants. Native mostly to Australia, it is the largest genus in the Proteaceae family with around 300 species and at least as many hybrids and cultivars, including some from tropical, subtropical, temperate and even alpine temperate habitats. Many of the hardier species can handle more cold than commonly believed, and will grow under just about any conditions, tolerating heat, drought, most well drained soils, and competition from other plants. They are evergreen, and the flowers are usually produced over a long period - some varieties are in flower more than not. The flowers are rich in nectar and attract hummingbirds and nectar feeding insects better than any other plants I know. Sadly, most of these fabulous species and varieties are unavailable in cultivation, but I am working on changing that!

In general, Grevilleas exhibit great versatility and potential in the Pacific Northwest, particularly on drier sites and those with poor soil. Most of them should be sited in a sunny or mostly sunny position for best results. Many of them will thrive as container plants for a long time, where they appreciate regular water. As with all members of the Protea family, fertilizers containing phosphorus should not be used. Cold-hardiness decreases with more water and fertilizer: don't pamper these plants!

Grevillea 'Austraflora Canterbury Gold'
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to 12°F or below

Recent references shorten the name of this plant to just 'Canterbury Gold' which thankfully is a bit less of a mouthful, but we feel like keeping the original name just for fun. A low, mounding shrub with grey-green leaves, it can be thought of as a groundcover that shoots up the occasional semi-upright branch to a foot or two high and may eventually mound up a little bit. Rather large, sulfur yellow flowers appear sporadically throughout the year, but most frequently in winter and spring. Like its parents G. juniperina and G. parvula, it is quite vigorous, hardy, and undemanding; tolerating drought and heavier soils with ease. It is somewhat shade tolerant but will not bloom as well in the shade. Hardy to about 12°F, but probably lower in climates with hot summers.

 
Grevillea australis
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 3? · Hardy to 5°F or below

If you've found other Grevilleas to be less than sufficiently hardy for you, try this species from high and remote alpine habitats of Southeast Australia: it might just be the hardiest one! It is also the only Grevillea native to Tasmania. With little cream colored flowers it is not as showy as many of the other Grevilleas we offer, yet it more than compensates for this by producing a pleasing fragrance when in bloom, a feature uncommon to the genus. Its leaves appear needle-like but are soft (our form anyways), and are a deep olive-green tinged with bronze. Although it does not grow as fast as some Grevilleas, it can eventually reach 5' tall and wide and gets more attractive the larger it gets. So far it seems good to at least 5°F; try it out and perhaps you’ll find out it can handle 0°F or lower.

Grevillea juniperina var. sulphurea
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to 5°F or below

Growing vigorously into a sizeable shrub (to about 6' tall and wide) with prickly leaves and sulfur yellow flowers, this plant will tolerate the toughest of conditions, including drought and heavier soils. Indeed it does look like a juniper when out of bloom, but your non-plant-geeky neighbor will be astounded when the brightly colored flowers appear! Grevillea juniperina is certainly one of the hardiest Grevillea species to cold, though certain forms are hardier than others: we have never had damage on this particular plant and we think it is probably hardy to around 5°F if grown tough; perhaps lower in hot-summer climates.

 
Grevillea miqueliana subsp. moroka
[ex. Heronswood]
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to 10°F or below

This appealing plant was formerly classified as a form of G. victoriae, to which it is closely related. Having rounded, felty green leaves and a naturally dense growth habit, it is sturdy, vigorous, and easy to grow, with varying flower colors in shades of yellow and pink/red. Like many Grevilleas, it will produce flowers over a long period and always looks great, tolerating drought and poor soil with ease. Initial results in the ground suggest it may be somewhat less tolerant of heavy clay soil and shade than G. victoriae. The subspecies moroka may reach 5 - 6' tall or so and a little wider over time, with beautiful multi-colored flowers in shades of salmon and yellow. It is the same form of G. miqueliana we have been offering all along, but only just lately did we manage to figure out that this subspecies name from the Flora of Australia (2000) applies to our plants, and probably all G. miqueliana in North American cultivation. It is hardy to around 10°F, probably lower in climates with hot summers.

 
Grevillea 'Neil Bell'
New Fall 2013!
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to 10°F or below

We are pleased to offer this relatively recent introduction shared with us by Paul Bonine at Xera Plants, where it occurred as a chance seedling. Showing an excellent combination of cold-hardiness, vigor, and floral display, it looks a bit like G. victoriae 'Marshall Olbrich' with linear leaves to about 2", but the flowers are larger. We expect this to grow at least 6 or 7' tall with probably greater spread.

 
Grevillea 'Poorinda Elegance'
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to around 12 - 15°F

Another hybrid that deserves wider use, this shrub to 5' or more is somewhat similar in habit to 'Poorinda Constance' but a little bit denser, with greener leaves. The outstanding feature is the flowers, which have a bright yellow perianth (that's the outer part) and bright red stamens, a unique combination that has to be seen to be appreciated! Plant it where in can be viewed up close. A moderate grower, it will appreciate full sun and tolerates drought or difficult sites, and the occasional haircut to keep it dense.

Grevillea 'Poorinda Leane'
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to 5°F or below

This hybrid of G. juniperina x G. victoriae has been incorrectly sold by nurseries for many years as 'Poorinda Queen': the real 'Poorinda Queen' has salmon colored flowers; I haven't seen it in the USA. It is truly one of the easiest, most rewarding, and least demanding plants in the whole Proteaceae family and we highly recommend it for a number of virtues. A vigorous grower to about 5' tall and 7' wide, it has small, silver-backed leaves and produces showy, tawny yellow-orange flowers for much of the year, peaking in early spring. It is suitable for sun or part shade and will even tolerate heavy clay soil as long as drainage isn't too bad. It also tolerates heat, and cold down to at least 5°F, perhaps lower for brief periods (we have never had damage on it in the ground). Actually, it seems pretty much indestructible: the only time we've seen people go wrong with it in the Pacific Northwest is by giving them too much water in late summer, which can result in failure to harden off. In hot climates though, I wouldn't worry about it!

Grevillea rosmarinifolia - ROSEMARY GREVILLEA
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 10 - 12°F

Grevillea rosmarinifolia is a highly variable plant represented by numerous leaf sizes, flower colors and climate tolerances. Here we have one of the hardiest forms which also has attractive soft grey leaves. Although the leaves look like rosemary, the resemblance is only superficial: everyone who sees it rubs the foliage expecting it to smell like rosemary, but it has no scent. The attractive flowers are dark pink, contrasting well with the foliage. It grows to about 4' tall and wide for us, and should be placed in a mostly sunny to full sun position for the best possible dense growth habit.

Grevillea 'Ruby Clusters'
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 2

This Grevillea may be considered a more subtle plant than many of them, having deep green leaves and large, dark, ruby-red flowers produced in winter and then again in the summer. Because the flowers are so dark they get a bit lost among the foliage, so the plant is not really eye-catching from a distance, but it is still very attractive. We suggest planting it where the flowers can be viewed up close, so that their deep color can be appreciated. This cultivar might not be the best for hot, dry areas, though it still grows well without supplemental water for us on clay soil. Hardiness considerations aside, it is very easy to grow, doesn't mind summer water, and tolerates more shade than most Grevilleas. We have a lot of experience with this one through cold winters: in the ground it is safe to 20°F. Expect trouble below that, though it has bounced back from 16°F. In a container, protect it from temperatures below 25°F.

Grevillea victoriae subsp. victoriae - ROYAL GREVILLEA
$10
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to about 0 - 5°F

This Grevillea may have the longest history of cultivation in the Pacific Northwest of any of them, and remains very popular. An attractive shrub in any season, its felty, silvery, upward pointing leaves provide the perfect backdrop for the numerous racemes of rusty orange flower buds. These appear in fall and open sporadically into vermillion-red spider-like flowers throughout the fall and winter, so that the plant is seldom out of bloom when hummingbirds get voraciously thirsty. It has a naturally dense habit and may reach 10' or more over time with equal spread. Though it comes from high mountain areas of the Australian Alps, where it is buried in snow much of the year; it is adaptable to any well-drained site in the garden, handling moderate irrigation or drought with ease. It will tolerate some shade, but performs best in sun. This form, which we call the "typical form" or just the species G. victoriae appears to be the same clone that was originally introduced at UBC Botanic Gardens back in the early 1980's (earlier?). It has a proven track record the Seattle area and is always attractive and trouble free. Most Northwest gardeners who have discovered this plant cannot imagine their garden without it once they have tried it. It has also proven adaptable to hot summer climates, being successful at Plant Delights Nursery in Raliegh, NC. As for hardiness, I've heard of them occasionally freezing out back in the 1980's and in colder Northwest gardens, but it seems adequately hardy for most of us west of the Cascades, especially on drier sites - to around 0 to 5°F.

Grevillea victoriae 'Marshall Olbrich'
$12
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to about 5 - 10°F

This outstanding and hardy plant originated as a chance seedling at the former Western Hills Nursery in Occidental, California and was later named by Sean Hogan; who assures us beyond any doubt that the name 'Marshall's Seedling', under which this plant is commonly sold, is quite incorrect. It is listed as a form of G. victoriae but is likely a hybrid of this species and something with narrower leaves, perhaps G. rosmarinifolia. A vigorous shrub, it grows to 8' or more eventually (though it can easily be pruned to shape as desired) with red-orange flowers that appear over a long period, and narrow grey leaves to about 2" long. It has the general aspect of Grevillea 'Audrey' but with larger flowers and leaves. Very hardy and adaptable, it endures 5 - 10°F without harm, and will tolerate most soils and even a little shade.

Grevillea victoriae subsp. nivalis
'Murray Valley Queen'
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to about 5°F

This very showy cultivar is one of the most popular plants we grow, and deserves every bit of this popularity! It is an outstanding plant and clearly a superior selection of the species, owing to its durability combined with exceptionally long bloom period and exotic appearance. It differs from the basic form of this species in having rusty orange flowers in more prolific, large, compound racemes; which cover the plant much more thoroughly than the typical form. Also, the leaves are rounder, and a little bit less silvery; and the plant has a slightly more open, spreading habit to about 6' tall by 9' wide. More flowers mean more nectar for the hummingbirds: it blooms continuously from November through April for us, and sometimes longer! Like the regular form, it has done well for us for many years with no care. It can also handle quite a bit of shade, and will still bloom well though it assumes a much more open growth habit. Try one in your garden; we are confident you will like it!

 
Hakea microcarpa
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to 8°F or below

A hardy Hakea! Not all members of this rather exotic Australian genus are frost tender: this one originates in subalpine forest margins in southeast Australia and Tasmania. Very narrow evergreen leaves are like small needles that cover the whole plant; and small, cream colored, vanilla scented flowers are produced after several years. Eventually it may reach about 5 x 7' wide. It can grow on most any average to well-drained soil in sun or part shade, and is quite drought tolerant. It endures at least 8°F with no damage, and perhaps lower.

 
Hakea sericea - PRICKLY HAKEA
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 12 - 15°F

What could be cooler than a plant covered in leaves that are like tough, green spines? Anyway, it's from Australia, so it has to be cool. Growing to about 5' tall and wide, its prickly presence contrasts well in the garden with anything that has larger, non-green leaves. The flowers put on a moderately good show; though they are quite small, they are produced in great numbers along the stems in each leaf axil. It is easily grown in any average to well-drained soil, including clay, in full sun to partial shade.

Leucadendron galpinii - HAIRLESS CONEBUSH
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 22°F

This upright shrub has exquisite fine, soft foliage. Flowers may look different depending on whether you get a male or female - our plants are unsexed (like in MacBeth). Yet contrary to the common name, our plants have hairs - well go figure. (We won't speculate on any connection between this observation and the preceding sentence.) Despite originating at rather low elevations, this species seems to be able to handle temperatures around 22°F.

Leucadendron 'Jester'
New Fall 2013!
$20
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 22°F

What's more exciting than a Leucadendron, you ask? How about a variegated Leucadendron! With variegated pink, white, and green foliage - that's right, three colors - you almost don't need the showy red bracts that Leucadendrons produce when the flower. Like 'Safari Sunset', from which 'Jester' originated as a sport, this plant is easy to grow and unfussy, and can doesn't mind a little frost. It does not grow as fast or as large as some Leucadendrons and can be kept in a pot for many years, where you can cut it back annually to harvest and use the foliage if desired. Where hardy its maximum size is about 5' x 5'.

 
Leucadendron 'Maui Sunset'
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 20 - 22°F

Vigorous and robust, this shrub (to 6' tall in the ground, but easily kept smaller) has beautiful sea-green foliage with strongly red-tinged stems and tips, and an upright growth habit. One of the hardier cultivars, it seems to be able to handle around 20 - 22°F once established, perhaps a little lower in hot climates and/or with superior drainage.

 
Leucadendron meridianum 'More Silver'
$16
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 24°F

If you're looking for something smaller and less easy to kill than L. argenteum, but with fabulous silver color, this is the Leucadendron for you. Its leaves are quite a bit smaller than those of L. argenteum (to around 1") but show excellent silver color particularly if sited in full sun. The plant itself is much more compact with a rounded shape, easily kept at 2 - 3' tall in a container (in the ground, where hardy, it might reach 4 - 5'). You'll want to mix a little grit into the soil; it seems to appreciate good drainage a bit more than some of the easiest 'Sunset' hybrids and the like.

 
Leucadendron rubrum - SPINNINGTOP CONEBUSH
New Fall 2013!
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 20°F or below

This shrub to 6' sports very closely-spaced, grayish, small leaves which are softly hairy when young. As it originates at higher altitudes (up to 6,000') in the Cape Region of South Africa, we think it is one of the more promising species for cold-hardiness in the Northwest, despite its delicate appearance. We expect it to be safe to at least 20°F once established, and possibly lower. In time it produces "cones" shaped like upturned little tops, which are very cool. As with all South African Proteaceae it should be grown in full sun.

Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 22°F

Wow! Start your own florist shop by harvesting the beautiful red bracts of this plant, which persist all through late fall, winter and spring. Even without the bracts, the new growth is an attractive silvery-red. This large shrub may reach 8' tall by 10' wide or more in the ground, and benefits from occasional light pruning to make it more dense and reduce long, rangy stems. One of the oldest Leucadendron cultivars, as well as one of the easiest to grow, 'Safari Sunset' is also one of the most widely produced members of the Proteaceae for use in floral arrangements. It needs good drainage and sun, but fortunately it is one of the least fussy South African Proteas. Established plants can endure temperatures down to around 22°F.

Leucadendron salignum hybrid
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 5 · Hardy to about 20°F

This appears to be a cultivar of L. salignum that we have not managed to put a name on. We may not know exactly what it is, but it is certainly one of the fastest growing Leucadendrons we have found. Having finer leaves than many, its soft foliage turns red when the plant is under stress and it to some degree in winter regardless. The bracts appear in late winter and are yellow. It is also super easy to grow, tolerating sun or part shade. An outstanding cut foliage plant, it easily tolerates hard pruning; and it is quite hardy to cold, to around 20°F once established.

 
Lomatia fraseri
$16
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 3 · Hardy to 12°F

Here's a way cool, hardy Protea that seems to have 'flown under the radar' for a long time. With large, undivided, toothed leaves it strongly resembles some of the subtropical Australian Proteaceae and is very exotic looking. Terminal racemes of conspicuous, curiously shaped white flowers appear in summer on mature plants. In the wild it is quite variable in many aspects; hence, it seems easy to grow in any exposure in the garden from shade to full sun, though you will probably get more flowers with at least half sun. It would appreciate a little water if placed in a sunny position but can certainly handle quite dry conditions in shade or part shade. Our form (originally introduced by Cistus Nursery) is moderately vigorous, eventually reaching 6 - 8' tall, and is hardy to 12°F.

Lomatia tinctoria - GUITAR PLANT
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 2 · Hardy to 10°F or below

Who draws the crowd and plays so loud, baby? It's the guitar plant! Actually, the soft, fernlike, evergreen foliage alone, which consists of deep green, very finely dissected leaves with bronze new growth, could draw a crowd. But you get more: it also produces showy spikes of white or cream flowers in summer, which someone apparently thinks look like little guitars up close (but much quieter). This Tasmanian endemic has been in cultivation for a while, though still very rare, and it's much hardier and easier to grow than given credit for, thriving easily on any reasonably well-drained soil in sun or part shade. This is really a great plant for the Pacific Northwest, posing no real challenges, though it does not grow very quickly. Hardy to about 5 - 10°F.

 
Protea cyanaroides [summer flowering] - KING PROTEA
$14
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4 · Hardy to about 25°F

King Protea is the floral emblem of South Africa, bearing huge, intricately shaped pink and white flowers in late summer (or perhaps fall in the Northwest). The spoon shaped leaves are pretty cool too, even when it's out of bloom. It is best grown in full sun, and can be pruned heavily or cut back hard to reduce its size or rejuvenate it. This plant loves water. Water water water! And don't forget to water. It can handle dry conditions in the ground once it is well established, but it grows faster with some water. Hardy to around 25°F, it is best suited to a large container in the Pacific Northwest.

Protea punctata - WATER SUGARBUSH
New Fall 2013!
$16
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4

This species from the Cape Region ought to be one of the better ones for cooler gardens with a Mediterranean climate. Not only does it occur at rather high altitudes from about 4,000 to 6,200', it also prefers moister sites on south-facing slopes (which, of course, in the Southern Hemisphere, are the cooler and shadier spots). To me this suggests adaptability to the Northwest's climate, though we don't know just how hardy it is yet. In one West Seattle garden it has shown very vigorous growth. You can also keep this as a container pet for its beautiful lilac flowers which are produced in late summer through fall. We have had it bloom in a 2 gallon pot but something larger might be ideal for long-term container culture: in the wild this species may reach 12' tall.

 
Protea subvestita - WATERLILY SUGARBUSH
$16
Proteaceae · Drought resistance code 4

Here's one we have been after for a while and now finally have enough to sell. This Protea is one of several that occurs high in the Drakensberg (to 7,000') enduring very cold temperatures. Its grey-green leaves look great all the time and are covered in downy hairs on young plants. The flowers are generally white to cream in color and look a bit like small waterlilies but are more tubular. Hardiness is likely to vary somewhat depending on the origin of the plants, and since we don't know the provenance of our plants, it's hard to guess accurately. We do know that this species endured several winters in the ground in the alpine garden at UBC Botanic Gardens in Vancouver. Although it was probably done in by a cold winter, we don't know the provenance of that plant either. As it comes from a winter-dry climate, this may be one of those plants that can handle 0°F if it's dry but gets hurt at higher temperatures where winters are wet. This may mean it's worth trying under a protected south-facing overhang or a raised bed of grit to improve drainage. Try it and let us know what happens!