Leucadendrons in the Valley--any experience?

grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)November 25, 2009

Hi everyone,

Have you grown, or know someone who has grown, Leucadedron plants in the Valley? Any long-term information on success or failure?

I did another leap-before-I-look and purchased two different Leucadendrons a couple of weeks ago (protea relatives) and have planted them in my garden here in Scottsdale. So far so good, but of course it's very, very early. :)

One is a hybrid and one is L. salignum and both are listed as hardy enough to at least trial here (heat tolerance data is harder to find), so I'd love to hear if anyone has tried them or has experience with them in the warm-winter areas of AZ. I do know they cannot tolerate fertilizers with high levels of phosphorous, so I'll keep that in mind for sure.

If you have, or know of, personal experiences with them (good or bad) in AZ, please don't be shy. I do grow tons of reliably excellent performers for our area, but it's also fun to test-drive some fringe cases now and then too.

In the meantime, wish mine luck, LOL.

Happy gardening,


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Ask the DBG.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 8:40PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Good luck with this, but I doubt that they are going to be successful. There are few growers of Proteas/Leucadendrons/Leucospermums here in California away from the coastal influenced areas. High summer heat is one problem, freezing winters is another,(although as you say, some Leucadendrons are tolerant down to low 20'sF), and water quality issues can also be a concern. All that being said, good air circulation, well drained soil with an inorganic mulch to keep the soil surface as cool as possible, and no irrigation when the soil temperatures are conducive to phytophthera infection is your best bet. I would suspect that growing them in bright shade or under the protection of Mesquite or Palo Verde trees is your best bet, similar to how you would grow heat sensitive Aloe species or summer-sun intolerant Agaves. There aren't any Leucadendron species that I can think of that grow well outside of the Fynbos vegetation belts and extend into more desert-like areas to the north of the Cape Region. Certainly not L. salignum varieties, which are always more coastal or at elevation in coastal mountain ranges within the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape.

While parts of the Western Cape can get quite hot and dry on occasion, it doesn't last for weeks/months in succession, nor do the nights stay so hot as they can/do in subtropical Colorado desert climates.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 5:35PM
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I tried growing some kind of Leucadendron--they weren't labeled--about 20 years ago. From their reputation, I planted them in a very sandy spot with afternoon shade. They managed to squeak by the first summer, but the second summer did for them, and they never really looked healthy. Since I have learned a few things in the interval, I might do better today, but my impression is that they are more trouble than they are worth. Right now I am checking out the Hakeas, which the Western Garden Book says will grow here, but I have never seen any here. Anyone got a notion of how those do here?

Kevin : )

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 2:56PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate them. Good information, suggestions, and experiences. Loved hearing them.

It sounds like I should enjoy them while I can, LOL. I've sited them where I thought they had their best chances: dappled shade on slighly sloped ground that's fairly well-draining (for my soil, anyway). Like I said, the bulk of my garden is made up of workhorse plants that love it here, but these were interesting experiments so we'll see what we see. I'll definitely keep an eye on watering and fertilizers.

I've had great luck with several Callistemons (who in the Valley hasn't, LOL?), Eremophila, Dwarf Eucalyptus, Melaleucas, Grevilleas (not the silk oak type) etc so I thought these were the natural progression, heh heh.

Below is a pic of one of the Leucadendrons in bloom, it's the smaller L. salignum (the hybrid L. 'Safari Sunset' is much larger in scale). I'm glad I resisted the variegated form, sheesh!

Thanks again for the tips, tricks and suggestions. I'll post some updates, even if it's to say they were lovely, short-term in-ground bouquets!

Take care,

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 9:04PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

Why is it so hard to find this plant for sale online? All I find are seeds.

I'm very interested in growing this plant as well. Especially the King Protea.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 8:45PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I wish I knew. I bought mine at Roger's gardens in Orange County, California.

By the way, the L. 'Safari Sunset' has done GREAT in my garden now almost 2 years later. It's in almost full sun, and gets water once a week or so and seems very happy. It came through the cold winter uncovered perfectly fine and doesn't seem very bothered by our summers either. I think it may even be getting ready to bloom. I really like it and wish I had bought more, like, um, six more!

Let us know if you find an online source.
Take care,

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

oh I'll definitely let you guys know if I find a source online LOL

What type of soil do you have yours growing in?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:54AM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

looks like I found the mother load!


scroll down towards the middle of the page. :D

the mail order plants are a bit pricey though

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 2:09AM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ
    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:39PM
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