Protea cynaroides is a woody shrub with thick stems and large dark green, glossy leaves. Most plants are 3' in height when mature, but may vary according to locality and habitat from1' to 6' in height.
The "flowers" of Protea cynaroides are actually flower heads with a collection of flowers in the centre, surrounded by large colourful bracts. The flowerheads vary in size, from about 5" to 12" in diameter. Large, vigorous plants produce six to ten flower heads in one season, although some exceptional plants can produce up to forty flower heads on one plant. The colour of the bracts varies from a creamy white to a deep crimson, but the soft pale pink bracts with a silvery sheen are the most prized.
The best time to sow is in fall or spring. Choose the season that gives the seedlings the most time to grow under favourable conditions. For example, if your summer is very hot and dry, but your winter is moderate and wet - sowing in autumn will give the seedlings a whole winter and spring to become strong before the harsh summer. In colder climates, it is best to sow in spring so that plants can become hardy before the frosts of winter.
Plant each seed in a 500 ml plastic seedling bag. Fill the bag with a well-drained acidic soil mixture with a pH of about 5.5. You can make the mixture out of : 2 parts coarse river sand, 2 parts peat or decomposed pine needles, and 1 part vermiculite or perlite. It is important that the soil mixture drains well. Water should run right through the filled tray, but the soil mixture should be such that it retains moisture and remains damp between waterings. The seeds/seedlings should never be allowed to dry out. The vermiculite helps retain moisture. It helps if the soil mixture is sterilised, ridding the soil of fungus, eggs, larvae and pathogens that might harm the seeds or the seedlings. The simplest method is to drench your soil mixture with boiling water before planting the seeds. This is best done on a flat, hard surface and has the added benefit of leveling out the soil. The drainage of the seed tray should ensure that after about 15 minutes, the soil is evenly damp. If there are any soggy patches or water pooled on the top, then your drainage is not sufficient. The boiling water kills germinating weed seeds, insect larvae, snail and slug eggs and fungal spores.