Hailing from South Africa, leucadendron encompasses a large group of plants ranging from 4-foot-tall shrubs to 30-foot-tall trees. They are commonly grown in Zones 9-10 and admired for their colorful flowers and attractive foliage. They’re also low-maintenance plants once established.
Leucadendron Care Must-Knows
Give leucadendron a site in full sun with fast-draining, acidic soil. (It suffers in heavy clay or high pH conditions.) To be safe, test your soil's pH with an inexpensive soil test kit. A pH of 6 or lower is best, but higher pH soils can be acidified with peat moss and sulfur. This shrub is not a heavy feeder and generally doesn't require fertilizing. If you do fertilize, use a plant food that is low in nitrogen and phosphorus (the first two numbers on a fertilizer package) and higher in potassium (the third number on a fertilizer package).
Leucadendron likes humidity and good air circulation, so plant it in the open and avoid crowding plants together. To avoid foliar diseases, water plants at the base. If overhead watering is the only option, irrigate earlier in the day so foliage can dry before nightfall. Leucadendron is drought-tolerant once the roots have established themselves, but does benefit from a regular, deep watering. Allow the soil to dry somewhat between waterings. Mulch once a year to control weeds and conserve moisture. Deadhead this shrub to keep it tidy. Prune after flowering is done for the season.
Leucadendron plants look attractive in groups; larger specimens hold their own as feature plants. This plant's stems are often used in floral arrangements—either fresh or dried. Pair this plant with dwarf conifers, pines, ornamental grasses, and succulents such as ice plant, senecio, euphorbia, and echeveria.
More Varieties of Leucadendron
'Red Gem' Leucadendron
Leucadendron 'Red Gem' is a bushy shrub with red-tipped green leaves that take on a bronze look in late fall. Striking red and yellow flowers decorate the tops of stems in winter and spring. It reaches 5 to 6 feet in height and width. Zones 9-10