Protea neriifolia

Scientific name: Protea neriifolia

Author: Robert Brown 1773-1858

Common name: Oleanderleaf Protea, Baardsuikerbos, Baardsuikerkan, Blousuikerkan

Family: Proteaceae 


Protea neriifolia   


Head for the road that runs through the middle of the Rock Garden. As you near the Brunet Meadow you will pass the lower portion of the African section. Here, surrounded by many other forms and colours of Proteas, you will find Protea neriifolia.

Our featured plant is a cream flowered form of a species with flower colours ranging from deep pink through to creamy-green and the black fringes you see here may intergrade to pure white within the species. The leaves may be just as variable so that even within this one species the reason for invoking the name of Proteus, the Greek sea-god so capable of changing form when captured, seems well-suited. Added to this, Protea neriifolia is one of the easiest Proteas to grow and rewards gardeners with an abundance of blooms. 

In general these plants survive in low nutrient soil and a climate that provides two distinct seasons, one wet and one dry. Conveniently, this can be a wet winter and dry summer or the reverse. Also, the plants from the west of the natural range flower from February to July and those from the east display from August to November. Cut-flower growers take advantage of this feature to extend their supply. Gardeners may prolong a display this way too.

As the air has definitely changed for winter and as we pass the shortest day, most of the Proteas and related Leucadendrons and Leucospermums have enhanced foliage colour. Variety and change then are everywhere at present and the Garden has plenty of colour.