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Spring 2022

Leucadendron

Leucadendron

Leucadendron, aka conebush, are evergreen, drought-tolerant shrubs that bloom in winter and spring. There are over 80 species of Leucadendron, each exhibiting striking shades, from burgundy and black to green, red, and yellow. These plants are known for being low maintenance, low water, and deer resistant. They range from four-foot shrubs to 30-foot trees, with many species ideal for hedges and screens. Interestingly, Leucadendron "flowers" aren't flowers at all. They are actually woody, brightly colored bracts that may surround a small cone or flower. Floral designers adore them for adding texture and punch to arrangements. As a bonus, these snipped branches have a long vase life.

Popular Leucadendron include 'Safari Sunset,' 'Jester,' 'Ebony,' and 'Safari Goldstrike.' Learn more about these and other Leucadendron.

Leucadendron are easy to grow in sunny gardens. Though they grow well in coastal areas, they also perform in warm weather locales. In warmer areas, water deeply once a week and avoid getting the foliage wet. They prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil and do not need fertilizer. Maintain adequate distance between plants to avoid disease. Remove spent blooms or pinch to encourage dense growth. If you wish to cut a Leucadendron back, wait until it is done blooming, then cut green stems back to four leaves, remembering to leave some leafy growth intact. 

Although Leucadendron are native to South Africa, new hybrids in a wide array of shapes and colors are being bred in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and California. All these areas have a Mediterranean climate like ours, with long dry summers and (we hope) wet winters.