All About the Protea and How to Dry Them

Proteas are native to South Africa and are also known as Sugarbushes.

The Proteaceae family is also home to Australia's native Banksias and Waratahs.

With over 1,600 species, it is a significant plant group in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Proteaceae family was one of the earliest flowering plants, expanding throughout Gondwana before the supercontinent broke up.

We love incorporating dried proteas in our large dried flower arrangements. We are particularly fond of the striking King Protea flower.

You can buy king protea flowers from us at Milla Rose. 

Can Protea be dried?

Yes, Protea can be dried. And they look gorgeous once they have been!

How do you dry Protea?

There are a few ways to dry protea:

Air Drying

Dry with Silica Gel

Preserve with Glycerin

1. Air Drying

Step 1: Remove all leaves from the fresh protea and keep the stem as long as possible. Secure the proteas (usually three at a time) with a rubber band at the bottom of the stems.

Step 2: Hang the Proteas upside down from a hanger, hook or nail.

Step 3: Hang the proteas in a dry, dark room with good circulation. Keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid fading.

Step 4: Let the flowers dry for 2-3 weeks. You can check on the flowers after a couple of weeks, and if the leaves are still very soft, leave them to dry for a little longer.

Step 5: Remove the Proteas from your drying spot and remove the rubber band.

Your dried proteas are now ready to be used! Proteas do not need to be hung upside to air-dry, but it doesn’t hurt to do so.

If you cannot find the space to dry them upside down, place a few proteas (leaving their stems long) into an empty vase.

Please ensure the flowers are not touching one another and leave them to dry in a well-ventilated, dark room for 2-3 weeks.

Dry with Silica Gel

Step 1: Get an airtight container or box and pour approximately 5cm of silica gel across the bottom of the box. Cut the Protea stems short enough to stand upright in the box. Then, place the Proteas flower head down into the Silica Gel with the stems standing up.

Step 2: Add more Silica Gel until the flowers and stems are completely covered. Leave the flowers in the box or container for around two weeks or until completely dry.

Step 3: Once dried, remove the flowers from the Silica Gel, gently shaking off any access gel. Now, your Proteas are ready to be used!

3. Preserve with Glycerin

Step 1: Mix one part glycerin (glycerol or vegetable glycerin) with two parts boiling water in a vase. Let cool completely before placing your flowers in. There should be approx. 15-20cm of liquid in your vase.

Step 2: Remove the leaves from the lower half of the Protea stem. Cut the bottom of the stems at a 45-degree angle, or smash the stem's base 1-2cm with a hammer to help the flowers absorb the solution better.

Step 3: Place the cut Proteas in the solution in the vase. Leave them to preserve for around 1-2 weeks until you notice tiny drops of the glycerin solution on the flower.

Step 4: Remove the Proteas from the solution once preserved and hang them upside down to dry out for a few days.

Dried Proteas are a great way to preserve beautiful, native flowers without throwing them away after 1-2 weeks.

Once dried, they can be placed in a vase on their own, used in a dried flower arrangement, or even used for a decorative dried flower wreath or wall hanging.

Have fun arranging your very own Protea dried flower arrangement - or let us take the work off your hands by purchasing one of our ready-made King Protea Arrangements.

To prolong these dried flowers, keep them out of direct sunlight, wind and humidity. Once the flowers have been dried, please handle them carefully, as they can be delicate.

Are Proteas Poisonous?

Yes, proteas are poisonous if consumed by humans, dogs and cats. If ingested, the flower bulbs are incredibly toxic to children, so keep them out of reach and away from any pets or little ones’ hands.

Is Protea native to Australia?

Although they are part of the same Proteaceae family as the native Australian Banksias and Waratahs, Proteas are not native to Australia. They are native to South Africa and are found in many Southern Hemisphere flora regions.

Do Proteas grow in Australia?

Proteas can grow in Western Australia, where the climate and soils suit these hearty shrubs.

What does the Protea flower symbolise?

The Protea flower symbolises Courage and Strength.

Alongside the Native Banksia, Proteas are one of our favourite flowers. Our favourite species are the Pink Ice Protea and stunning King Protea.

We would love to see how you style the popular Protea flower in your home!