Your bouquet selection this month is the Mink Protea.

The Protea for these bouquets are grown on the cool windswept

slopes of Mount Haleakala on the Island of Maui in Hawaii.

The flowers used in this month’s bouquet are an assortment of

Pink Minks, Pink Ice and other varieties that share the family lineage.

Native to South Africa, the habitat on Maui replicates the cool conditions of the Proteas’ homeland. (However, they bloom in the opposite time of year due to being located in the Northern Hemisphere.) One of the most important factors in the ecology of the Protea is a well-drained soil with adequate drainage. This plant needs not only a well aerated soil, but a cool root system. Somewhat difficult to grow, they are susceptible to root rot. They are a “social” plant, meaning that in their natural habitat they are found growing very close to one another, providing shelter from harsh winds and preventing evaporation.

Successful breeding programs in Australia, South Africa and Hawaii have resulted in some extraordinarily beautiful examples of this unique flower. Actually a family of shrubs having unusually beautiful and hardy flowers, the extended Protea family encompasses many different members.

Protea is a large genus with more than 90 species, all with roots in South Africa. Most Protea flowers are large and do not have petals, which explains their rather tough exterior. The colorful parts of these flowers are bracts, not petals, which surround the tiny fluffy true flowers in the center of each flower head.

The Protea flowers used in your selection are known for a very good shelf life and you can expect your bouquet to remain vibrant and beautiful for an extended time. The flowers are supported by Protea foliage which nicely complements the flowers.

Being hardy flowers from a cool climate, they also travel well in the winter months, making them an ideal bouquet for this time of the year in the United States, and a favorite for gifting.

Planning to visit Hawaii, South Africa or Australia? Be sure to pack your camera and binoculars!  Ideal for attracting birds, areas where Proteas grow are meccas for bird-watchers and botanical observers alike. Nectar feeders such as Sunbirds, Sugarbirds, White-Eyes, Weavers and even the common Starling


1)  Your favorite Flower of the Month Club highly recommends immersing your Proteas in room temperature water for a few minutes when you first unwrap them.

2)  When arranging, remove all foliate that will fall below the water line of the vase. Cut off one-quarter to one-half inch from each stem, being careful to avoid damage. Use a very sharp knife, with the angle-cut made under running water or submerged in water. Immediately place the stems in the water-filled container.

3)  In all cases, the water should be just barely warm, a slightly higher temperature than your own body temperature. For longest vase life, replace the water every two to three days, and re-cut all stems.

4)  If a stem appears to need a little lift, revive it by recutting the stem (again, at an angle, under warm water), and then laying the entire flower in that same warm water. When refreshed (about thirty minutes), you can return it to your arrangement.

5)  Keep flowers away from drafts and sources of heat. Do not refrigerate. These flowers prefer a cool, dark environment at night.

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Tracie Burket
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