Protea Seed Growing Guide

Our comprehensive Protea Seed Growing Guide is your key to a flourishing garden filled with vibrant variations in flower colours and shapes. Learn the art of nurturing Protea seeds, from proper storage techniques to the crucial pre-treatments that enhance germination rates. Cultivate your botanical haven with confidence, starting from the seed and witnessing the beauty of Proteas unfold over time.


Store your seeds in the fridge once you have received them, away from direct light, until you are ready to sow them.

Sowing Time

The Best Time to Sow is generally in autumn. During winter in Southern Australia the temperatures are too cold for plants to grow. In summer temperatures can be too warm and can scorch young seedlings. Protea cynaroides seeds must be sown in autumn, as the fluctuation between warm days and cool nights is essential for good germination.

Propagation Media

Propagation Media for raising seeds needs to be well draining so that the seed doesn’t dry out, but hold some moisture so that the seed doesn’t dry out. Coir peat, also called coconut fibre, is an ideal component because it is very effective at retaining moisture. Perlite is a lightweight material that allows air and water to move through the media. To make a seed raising mix, combine 1 part coir and 4 parts of perlite and mix thoroughly. You will not need to add any compost or fertilisers to this seed raising mix. This can be stored in an airtight container until it is ready to use.

These materials can produce fine, airborne particles, so a dust mask should be worn when handling.


Pre-Treatments are essential for most seeds as many species have certain cues that significantly increases germination.

For most Proteas, Banksias, and Waratahs, a heat treatment prior to sowing will help increase germination rates. This treatment will also help reduce the spread of fungal pathogens, which can be carried on the surface of seeds. Place seeds inside a small cloth bag, or wrap in hessian and tie to secure so that no seeds fall out. Using a thermometer, heat a pot of water to 55°C. Immerse the seeds in the pot for 20 minutes. Watch the temperature of the water and do not allow it to get hotter than 55°C as it could kill the seeds.

For Leucospermums and Leucadendrons with large seeds, such as Leucadendron Silver Tree, a hydrogen peroxide treatment is also required to help break down the seed coat. Immerse the seeds in a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution for 24hr, then rinse and perform the heat treatment described above to help reduce the risk of any fungal pathogens spreading through the seeds. Hydrogen peroxide is available from pharmacies, however it is important to check the concentration. If you cannot purchase a 1% solution you can dilute the hydrogen peroxide with water to get the correct concentration. For example, if you can only find a 3% solution, take 1 part of the 3% solution and add 2 parts water to make a 1% solution.


Sowing can occur immediately after you have completed the pre-treatments. Place a thick layer of seed raising mix in a propagation tray, ensuring it is well-watered so that all the mix is moist. Keep a little bit of the mix aside. Evenly spread the seeds over the mix. Evenly sprinkle a light layer of mix over the seeds so that they are just covered. Water in well. If you notice any of the seeds are uncovered once you have watered the tray, sprinkle a bit more seed raising mix over them to ensure they are just covered.

Once sown, keep your seeds in a warm, protected location where they will not be exposed to wind and rain. Ensure the seed raising mix is kept evenly moist. You may need to water it about once a week, depending on how quickly the mix dries out.

Pricking Out 

Pricking Out can occur once the seedlings are roughly 5cm tall. If you sow your seeds in autumn, they will generally be ready to prick out by spring. Gently remove your plants from the seed raising mix, taking car to avoid damaging the roots as much as possible. You can use a fork to help pry the seedlings from the seed raising mix. These can now be potted into individual pots, using a potting mix that is suitable for natives with a low phosphorus fertiliser. It is best to pot them up into a pot that is no larger than 10cm in diameter while your seedlings are small.

Growing On

Growing On can be a long process with seedling grown plants but is well worth it. They will be slow to grow at first, but once you notice the trunk of the plant thickening you can prune it back to about 10cm from the base of the trunk. If you leave your plant unpruned, it could risk becoming top heavy and collapsing. Once it has started to reshoot, you can pot it up to a larger pot size or consider planting it out in the garden.

Because it will take several years for your plant to reach maturity and flower, it is best to prune it back annually to help control the height. You can refer to our pruning guides for more information on how to prune different varieties.

Be proud of your plant babies! You can tag us on Instagram @proteaflora, or send pictures to to show off all your hard work. If you have any further questions about growing Proteas from seed, you can submit a plant enquiry form from the Growing Advice tab on our website.