Protea cynaroides
Common Name: king protea 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Proteaceae
Native Range: South Africa
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Red to pink to creamy white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-10 where it is typically grown in acidic, poor to average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Best with moderate amounts of water once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Protea cynaroides, commonly called king protea, is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that is native to South Africa. It typically matures to 3-4' (less frequently to 6') tall. It is best known for its huge goblet or bowl-shaped flower heads from 5" to 12" in diameter. Each flower head consists of a large, domed, central mass of tepaled inner flowers subtended and surrounded by stiff, pointed, showy bracts ranging in color from red, to pink to creamy white. In its native habitat, flower heads will bloom sporadically throughout the year, but primarily in the warmer months. Somewhat leathery, rounded to elliptic, glossy, dark green leaves grow to 5 1/2" long.

Genus name honors the Greek sea-god, Proteus, with the power of assuming a diversity of shapes a reference to the diversity within the genus.

Specific epithet means "like Cynara" (artichoke genus) in reference to the artichoke-like appearance of the flower heads.

King protea is the national flower of South Africa.


No known serious insect or disease problems.


Ornamental flowering shrub or garden specimen in frost free areas. Produces magnificent fresh cut or dried flowers. Greenhouse plant in colder areas.