Protea compacta

Bot River sugarbush
Round, sparsely branched shrub. Warm pink feathered flowers held at branch tips make long lasting floral displays. Prune to shape once flowers are done. No phosphorus.
Protea compacta
height 5–10ft
width 5–10ft
tolerates Coast, Drought, Salt, Wind
Proteas are well adapted to our Mediterranean climate, making them carefree plants with bountiful rewards. After a few years, when your protea is established, it will want deep watering every couple weeks, though it will tolerate more if the drainage is excellent.

In general protea respond poorly to clay soils, especially if they are overwatered. In habitat this protea grows in sandy flats and as such is not recommended for heavy soil with poor drainage.
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing Bloodmeal, Fish Emulsion, Low Needs, No Phosphorus
origin SW South Africa
16, 17, 19–24

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Fast growing, often blooming in five years from seed, or (as with our plants) a couple years from a cutting grown plant.
The Bot River sugarbush has a lanky nature, sometimes causing mature plants to fall over; this can be avoided by doing some early pruning and tip pinching or by pruning back bloomed branches. Don’t prune back to more than two years of growth where there are no leaves and the branches are woody; this plant may not bud back from such a hard pruning.
Proteas have evolved to live in very poor soils, and so they should never have phosphorus fertilizer, which many a grower has learned the hard way. If you give your protea all-purpose fertilizer, it’ll likely be completely dead within a couple weeks. They do respond well to light acidic fertilizer, such as cotton seed meal, or nitrogen fertilizers such as blood meal and fish emulsion. Generally its better to sit back and see how the plant grows without fertilzier, which is typically not needed.

More Info

There is also a white flower form of this plant.