How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Conebush

Conebush is an announcement piece in any backyard that attracts consideration from people and pollinators alike. Some varieties develop tall and appear to be a tree relatively than a shrub, whereas others keep on the smaller aspect.

Whereas conebushes are native to tropical areas and look proper at house in a lush, tropical backyard, you possibly can develop them nearly wherever. They will go straight within the floor in heat climates. In northern zones, they have to be saved in containers and introduced indoors as soon as the temperatures cool.

As soon as a conebush is established, it’s low upkeep and simple to look after. You don’t have to water it usually, and it doesn’t want fertilizer, so occasional pruning is all it’s essential to fear about. Let’s discuss learn how to plant, develop, and look after the conebush so you possibly can add one in every of these beautiful crops to your assortment.

Conebush Plant Overview

Watering Necessities


Pests & Ailments

Beetles, gray mildew, leaf spot


Close-up of showy bright inflorescences of leucadendron in a sunny garden. The plant is characterized by upright stems adorned with brightly colored flowers at the tips. The leaves of Conebush are evergreen, green in color, oval in shape with a smooth structure. The flowers are tiny, green, collected in a cone-shaped inflorescence, surrounded by petal-shaped reddish-yellow bracts.
The Leucadendron title implies a white tree, however it’s a colourful evergreen with crimson, orange, and pink hues.

Conebushes are native to South Africa, however have since unfold worldwide, rising open air in areas with gentle winters. The conebush is from the proteaceae plant household and is carefully associated to Protea, or the sugarbush.

The genus Leucadendron doesn’t fairly match the plant’s description, making it a deceptive title. The Greek phrase Leukos means white, and dendron means tree.

When you guessed this plant’s look on etymology alone, you’d suppose it’s a white tree! Nevertheless, it’s an evergreen shrub that boasts brilliant and exquisite reds, oranges, and pinks all year long.


Close-up of a Galpin's Conebush (Leucadendron galpinii) against a blue sky. It has upright stems with attractive bright colors and unique leaves. The flowers are pale green and appear as clusters of small inflorescences surrounded by bracts, creating a cone-shaped appearance. The leaves are elongated, smooth, green.
They characteristic upright stems with inflorescences on the ends, creating the looks of enormous flowers.

Conebushes have upright stems with brilliant flowers on the ends. The ends of the stems have inflorescences, that are teams of tiny flowers. They’re surrounded by bracts that look so much like petals to create what seems to be like large flowers.

There are over 80 sorts of Leucadendron, they usually fluctuate significanty in measurement and shade. The flowers may be purple, crimson, pink, orange, yellow, or white, with many sorts sporting a number of colours concurrently. 

Some species lay low, reaching solely 4 toes, whereas others tower as much as 30 toes tall. The scale of your conebush will rely upon the range, local weather, and site. If it’s important to develop yours in a container as a result of chilly winters, it’s going to keep a lot smaller than the identical species rising outdoors in southern Florida.


The 2 essential methods to propagate conebushes are by stem cuttings and seeds. Utilizing a free rising medium to start out your new crops is necessary as a result of they hate having moist toes.

They received’t survive if the medium retains moisture for too lengthy, creating mushy roots and fungal ailments. Caring for persnickety begins might sound troublesome initially, however as soon as you already know what makes them pleased, you’ll see it’s not so unhealthy.

Stem Slicing

Close-up of cuttings of a Conebush plant in a jar of water against a blue sky. The cuttings are long stems with elongated oval leaves with a glossy texture and green color. The flowers are small, pinkish in color, collected in cone-shaped inflorescences, surrounded by pale yellow petal-shaped bracts with pink edges.
Rapidly propagate this shrub via semi-ripe stem cuttings taken within the late development season.

Stem cuttings are the simplest strategy to get hold of a brand new conebush. You’ll want a versatile semi-ripe stem lower from the brand new development towards the top of the rising season. Make sure the stem is a number of inches lengthy, and take away the leaves from the underside half.

Dip the underside of the chopping into rooting hormone, then switch the plant to a small pot stuffed with vermiculite, permitting water to empty simply. Make sure the pot has drainage holes so extra water received’t construct up.

Place the pot on a heated rising mat to maintain the soil heat however not scorching. Warmth and humidity are essential for getting roots to develop. Mist the stem with water every day, or tie a plastic bag across the plant and pot to maintain the air humid.

As soon as the plant has new development, it ought to have a wholesome root system, and you may take away the bag from the pot. You’ll be able to permit the plant to proceed rising on this pot or switch it to a bigger pot. Harden off the plant earlier than shifting it open air because it’s nonetheless younger and tender at this stage of improvement.


Close-up of a flowering Leucadendron plant in a sunny garden. The plant has upright stems with bright yellow and yellow flowers at the tips. The stems are covered with oval green leaves with smooth edges. The flowers are tiny, collected in cone-shaped inflorescences, surrounded by petal-like bracts. Cream-colored bracts with a pinkish edging.
These bushes have female and male cones, with seeds harvested from females, dried, and opened if wanted.

Conebushes have female and male cones. Seeds are harvested from feminine cones, and their measurement can fluctuate between species. Once you harvest the cones, place them in a dry space to permit them to dry out utterly. If the cone doesn’t open independently, you possibly can rigorously break it open.

Fill a sturdy pot or tray with moist however well-draining seed beginning combine. The seeds received’t survive in a soggy surroundings, so the rising medium musn’t maintain any extra moisture.

Place small seeds on prime of the seed beginning combine and partially cowl the bigger seeds. Place the container in a sunny space, however keep away from direct daylight. Cowl the seeds with a plastic lid or bag to keep up correct humidity.

If mandatory, use a heated mat to maintain the soil heat. Seeds will germinate the perfect when nighttime temperatures are 68-72°F, with daytime temperatures reaching as much as 83°F. If the room your seeds are in can’t keep at these temperatures, a heated mat will assist.

As soon as the seeds sprout and develop root programs, you possibly can transfer them into bigger pots. As I discussed with stem cuttings, shifting them open air too quickly may end in them not surviving.

Have persistence with younger crops; it is going to be about three years earlier than you see them develop flowers.


Close-up of a young Leucadendron plant in a sunny garden next to decorative stones. The plant forms upright stems, covered with narrow, oval, dark green leaves with a smooth texture. The flowers are tiny, collected in creamy white cone-shaped inflorescences, surrounded by elongated bracts.
Plant in well-draining, sunny spots with not less than six hours of daylight.

The most effective time to plant conebushes within the floor is in autumn or after the ultimate frost in spring. Select a location that receives as a lot direct daylight as potential. Don’t choose a location that receives lower than six hours as a result of it received’t be sufficient daylight to maintain the plant pleased.

Good drainage is critical to develop a conebush efficiently. Amend heavy clay soils with sand or perlite, and think about planting the conebush on a mound so extra water received’t puddle across the roots.

After getting chosen the perfect location, dig a gap twice as deep and huge as the basis ball. When you purchased a plant from the nursery, use all the nursery pot for sizing. The massive gap will give the tender roots loads of aerated soil to unfold via, making it simpler for the plant to get established in its new location.

After eradicating the soil, combine it with compost. If it’s essential to amend the soil, now’s the time. Add the soil again to the opening, solely filling it about midway. 

Place the plant within the gap and ensure the highest of the basis ball traces up with the highest of the opening until you need to create a mound. For a mound, you possibly can go away the highest of the basis ball greater than the soil line, however you’ll want additional soil to construct up round it.

As soon as the plant is within the partially stuffed gap, proceed backfilling it. Pack it down sufficient to take away air pockets however not a lot that you just compact the soil. Water the plant and add extra soil if mandatory.

Container Planting

Close-up of a flowering Conebush (Leucadendron) plant in a sunny garden. The flowers are small, bright yellow and grow in a cone-shaped inflorescence. The inflorescence is surrounded by elongated oval petal-shaped bracts. Bracts are pale yellow. The leaves are oval, dark green in color, with smooth edges and a waxy texture.
For container planting, guarantee drainage holes, select a bigger pot for development, and fill it with new soil.

Container planting makes use of a course of just like planting within the floor, however there are some things to recollect. Most significantly, make sure the container has drainage holes so extra water received’t keep within the soil. Use a pot greater than the nursery pot your plant was beforehand in so it’s going to have room to develop with out the quick have to re-pot it.

A pot with new soil lets you get precisely what you need- no have to amend in-ground soil! Like in-ground planting, partially fill till the highest of the basis ball traces up with the sting of the pot. You don’t want to fret about mounding right here because the pot may have drainage holes and well-draining soil.

Place the plant within the pot and fill it with extra soil. Pack it down however don’t compact the soil, then water it. Add extra soil if essential to degree it out.

Maintain your pot in a sunny location. You’ll be able to maintain it outdoors through the heat months in most areas, however you’ll have to deliver it indoors when the climate cools down. Maintain it in a sunroom or greenhouse to maintain preferrred situations year-round.

How you can Develop

Conebushes could seem tremendous choosy initially, however they’re simple to look after when you get into the stream. They will even be a low-maintenance shrub, offered you may have the best rising situations. Let’s have a look at learn how to make this plant thrive.


Close-up of a flowering Conebush plant in a sunny garden. The plant has upright stems with bright flowers at the tips. Its leaves are elongated and narrow, with a glossy texture, dark green with a purple tint. The flowers consist of small flowers surrounded by petal-like bracts. Bracts are pinkish-orange.
They thrive in ample daylight.

Conebushes will thrive when given as a lot direct daylight as potential. Develop them in a location not shaded by buildings, fences, or different crops. Attempt to get not less than six hours of direct gentle, however the extra, the merrier!

They will develop in partial shade, however their colours received’t be as vibrant. When you can’t get your plant the sunshine it wants in a single spot, maintain it in a pot so you possibly can transfer it round as wanted to check out completely different areas.

When you maintain your conebush indoors via winter, develop it subsequent to a window in a brilliant room. Since winter is its dormant season, the dearth of sunshine received’t trouble it.


Close-up of a flowering Conebush plant covered in raindrops in a garden. The inflorescences of the plant or clusters of tiny flowers are arranged in such a way that they give the impression of larger showy flowers. Bracts resemble petals, are pinkish-green in color. The stems are pink, covered with oval glossy green leaves.
Seedlings and cuttings require preliminary humidity, whereas established crops must be watered when the soil is dry.

Conebushes are perfect for dry areas vulnerable to drought as a result of they don’t demand a lot water as soon as they’ve matured and set down their deep roots. Newly planted seeds and stem cuttings require plenty of humidity when first beginning, however established crops solely must be watered when the soil is dry.

The easiest way to water is on the base of the plant. Keep away from getting the leaves moist in the event you can. If that’s not an choice, water within the morning so the plant can have the entire day to dry out.

Water slowly and deeply. Let water trickle from the hose till a number of inches of soil are moist. Make sure the soil drains nicely so it doesn’t keep moist for too lengthy. Moist toes will kill conebushes in a matter of days, which is why drainage is such an necessary issue.

Enable the soil to dry out utterly between waterings. Established shrubs are forgiving of drought situations in order that they’ll deal with dry soil for a short while.


Close-up of young flowering Conebushes plants in a sunny garden. The plant has oval green leaves with a smooth and glossy texture. Creamy-white cone-shaped buds form on the tops of the stems.
Mild, sandy, or loamy soil with a barely acidic pH of 6.0 or much less is finest.

Mild, sandy soil is right as a result of it permits water to empty nicely. Loamy soil will even work, however make sure that it’s on the sandier aspect and amend it with compost or perlite to maintain it aerated.

When you use clay soil, it’s going to must be closely amended since clay retains plenty of water for a very long time. Clay soil shall be higher fitted to containers since they’ve drainage holes. The soil you utilize must be barely acidic with a pH of 6.0 or much less, although conebushes can tolerate a impartial pH. 

Prime the soil with mulch to cut back weeds. Don’t let the mulch contact the bottom of the shrub, and ensure it’s not too thick. Retaining moisture isn’t unhealthy, however conserving the soil too moist can hurt the plant.

Local weather and Temperature

Close-up of flowering Conebushes plants in a sunny garden, against a blurry background. The plant has upright stems, covered with dark purple-burgundy oval-shaped leaves with smooth edges. At the tops of the stems there are cone-shaped inflorescences surrounded by petal-like bracts of a pink-burgundy hue.
They thrive in zones Sept. 11, favoring heat and avoiding freezing temperatures.

Conebushes develop finest in USDA hardiness zones Sept. 11. It likes heat climate with out freezing temperatures, although some varieties can stand up to quick intervals reaching down 20°F.

Nevertheless, this may nonetheless trigger some harm. Be sure to know which selection you may have and the bottom temperatures it could stand up to so you possibly can stop hurting your plant.

When you dwell in zones colder than 9, you possibly can maintain your plant in a container to overwinter it indoors. You may also develop it indoors as a houseplant, although it is going to be a lot smaller than in the event you have been to develop it open air.


Top view, close-up of flowering Conebushes plants in a sunny garden, against a background of green foliage. The plant has upright stems covered with dark green leaves. They are oval in shape, with smooth edges and slightly pinkish tips. At the tops of the stems, cone-shaped inflorescences of tiny, densely packed bright yellow flowers form. The inflorescences are surrounded by petal-like bracts of a creamy white shade with pink edges.
Conebushes are gentle feeders, normally not requiring fertilizer.

You possible received’t have to fertilize your conebush because it’s a light-weight feeder and doesn’t demand many vitamins. Begin your plant with a beneficiant quantity of compost; it ought to have sufficient vitamins for the remainder of the yr. Add extra compost every spring to provide a lift.

In case your plant seems to be stunted, you can provide it some fertilizer for shrubs. Search for one thing with little or no phosphorus, similar to an NPK of 15-0-15.


Close-up of a flowering Conebushes plant in a sunny garden, against a blurred background. The plant produces upright stems with narrow oval green leaves with reddish edges. Conebush produces cone-shaped inflorescences of tiny flowers surrounded by bright red petaled bracts.
Conebushes are pruning-friendly, however keep away from chopping new development and trim spent blooms in season.

A bit of pruning goes a good distance. These are forgiving crops that may deal with plenty of pruning, however it’s essential to know which stems to chop and which to keep away from.

Blooms seem on new development, so by no means prune the plant all the way down to leafless, woody stems. Nevertheless, trim off spent blooms through the rising season to advertise extra blooms. When it stops flowering on the finish of the rising season, closely prune it to encourage bushier development subsequent yr.

Once you prune, go away behind some current development to have flowers within the subsequent season. Pruning all the way down to the woody components is an choice in case your plant has develop into leggy and also you need to “begin over,” however you’ll possible not see any blooms subsequent yr. But it surely must be a lot bushier by the point it does bloom once more.


Close-up of a Burgundy Blaze plant in a sunny garden. It is an enchanting plant known for its deep purple and red flowers. The flowers are dark purple and red in clusters at the ends of upright stems. The leaves are elongated and narrow and may have a glossy texture.
‘Burgundy Blaze’ stands out with elegant and charming deep purples and reds, providing a particular addition to any backyard.

Listed below are some widespread and notable varieties to take a look at:

  • Burgundy Blaze’: The deep purples and reds of the Leucadendron salignum x L. laureolum are elegant and attention-grabbing. It’s the proper plant in the event you want one thing distinctive in your backyard.
  • Galpins’: One of many extra tame varieties, Leucadendron galpinii has silvery inexperienced foliage with silver cones on the top. The slim leaves give it a pine cone tree look.
  • Safari Sunshine’: Typically referred to as ‘Jester,’ this Leucadendron salignum x L. laureolum cultivar is a must have in the event you love the colour pink. The pink and purple foliage will seize your consideration and take your breath away.
  • Spicy’: Leucadendron tinctum doesn’t have the crimson or orange coloration you’d count on however as an alternative has a beautiful variegated pink and cream shade with a brown cone within the middle. 
  • Winter Purple’: Leucadendron salignum is prized for its festive crimson and white flowers accented by inexperienced leaves that flip purple-ish within the cool months.


Conebushes are usually pest-free, however they aren’t resistant to issues. Although you might solely take care of a few of these points, these are widespread potentialities.


Close-up of a flea beetle on a green leaf. The flea beetle is a small jumping insect known for its mischievous behavior. It is less than a quarter of an inch in size, with an oval body that is metallic blue.
Management flea beetles by clearing leaves, utilizing skinny mulch, and making use of kaolin clay.

A few completely different sorts of beetles can assault conebushes. Flea beetles cover out in leaf litter or tall, grassy areas within the winter. They lay eggs within the spring, which hatch into hungry larvae that eat plant roots. Grownup beetles eat leaves and create a number of tiny holes.

Massive flea beetle infestations can severely harm a plant. Stop them by raking up fallen leaves and solely utilizing skinny layers of mulch. Pay shut consideration to younger conebush seedlings since flea beetles favor them.

Kaolin clay can stop adults from munching on leaves, and lacewings are pure predators. Get forward of the issue by attracting these and different helpful predators to your backyard.

One other beetle pest is stem borers, the larvae of slender-bodied beetles. The adults lay eggs by stems or below the bark. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat their method into shrubs and eat the stems from the within out for 3 years, taking a break every winter.

Pesticides aren’t really useful for stem borers since they’re contained in the plant. As a substitute, take away contaminated branches to cut back the inhabitants, and look out for egg piles to forestall the subsequent technology.


Close-up of a termite insect crawling on the soil. Termites are small, social insects belonging to the order Isoptera. Termites have a distinct appearance characterized by their soft body, straight antennae, and pale brown color. Its body is divided into three segments: head, thorax and abdomen.
Termites desire moisture and wooden, beginning colonies in soil and damaging shrubs.

Termites like moist situations and woody crops. The colonies begin in moist soil and eat their method into shrubs. The easiest way to forestall them is to maintain your conebush pruned to take away useless woody stems.

Apply helpful nematodes to the soil to kill the colony, or you should use termite bait. Take away and substitute the soil for container crops, and guarantee it doesn’t keep moist for too lengthy.


Close-up of thrips on a green leaf. Thrips are tiny, thin insects with an elongated body, narrow and cylindrical in shape. One of their notable features is their long and narrow fringed wings. These wings are covered in tiny hairs, giving them a feathery appearance. Thrips come in shades of brown, yellow, black, and translucent.
Tiny thrips suck sap, inflicting discoloration.

Thrips are tiny flying bugs that suck sap out of crops. They probably received’t kill conebushes, however they are going to trigger discoloration and make your plant lower than fairly if it’s an enormous infestation.

Luckily, many predators will allow you to deal with thrips, together with mites, parasitic wasps, and lacewings. Keep away from utilizing pesticides that can hurt these helpful bugs. You may also maintain thrips at bay by recurrently pruning or utilizing insecticidal cleaning soap.


Close-up of a conebush plant covered in fine cobwebs, against a blurred green background. The plant has a cone-shaped inflorescence surrounded by petal-like bracts. Bracts are pinkish. The leaves are elongated, oval, smooth, green with pinkish edges.
Watch out for dangerous spider mites, which harm crops.

Although there are helpful predatory mites, some sorts, similar to spider mites, will hurt your crops. They suck up sap and trigger discoloration, ultimately resulting in dried-up leaves that fall off the plant. Mites usually seem on burdened crops, so make sure that to water your conebush appropriately and that it will get sufficient daylight.

Predatory mites can go after spider mites, thrips, some flies, and lacewings. Take away extreme mud from pathways, as this will appeal to unhealthy mites. You’ll be able to wash mites off with water, however do that within the morning so your conebush can dry out earlier than nighttime.

Use insecticidal cleaning soap or neem oil, however keep away from chemical pesticides as a lot as potential. They usually kill mite predators, leaving you with a much bigger mite drawback than earlier than.


Close-up of two parrots on a bird trough, in the garden. Parrots are colorful and distinctive birds known for their vibrant plumage and unique features. They have a strong hooked beak. Parrots display a wide range of colors including bright green, blue, and red.
Parrots is usually a pest the place native, damaging by consuming seeds.

You in all probability aren’t going to take care of parrots in a lot of the U.S. (besides maybe the Los Angeles space, which has a wild parrot inhabitants), however they could be a notable pest in areas the place they’re native!

They wish to eat the seeds, which might harm the plant. Take away spent flowers rapidly to forestall the cones from drying on the plant, which shall be sufficient to maintain them off your shrub.


You received’t take care of ailments too usually, but when they’re close to different diseased crops, they could additionally come down with an sickness. Listed below are the most typical ailments you would possibly see in these shrubs.

Root Rot

Close-up of conebushes plants in a sunny garden. Plants produce upright stems with elongated green oval leaves with burgundy and purple tips. The inflorescences are cone-shaped, surrounded by petal-like red bracts. The lower leaves are damaged, have a yellowish tinge and brown rotting spots.
Stop root rot by guaranteeing well-draining soil, particularly in containers.

Root rot is the probably drawback, however it’s simply preventable. You’ll be able to even reverse the harm. Moist soil situations trigger fungal improvement; the fungus will assault the crops, inflicting the roots to rot and ultimately killing the plant. 

You’ll be able to stop this by ensuring in-ground crops have well-draining soil. Planting them on a slope will cease water from pooling by the roots. Be sure container crops have loads of drainage holes together with sandy soil.

Inform-tale indicators of root rot are yellowing leaves, stunted development, and mushy stems. In case your plant has root rot, dig it up, take away the soil from the roots, and trim any rotted roots. Plant it in a brand new space or container with preferrred soil situations and drainage. Solely water the plant when the soil is dry.

Leaf Spot

Close-up of a conebush plant in a garden. The plant has upright stems covered with oval smooth green leaves with a pinkish border. The plant has cone-shaped inflorescences that have dried up and produced seeds. The inflorescences are surrounded by petal-shaped green bracts with pinkish hues. The leaves are covered with brown-purple spots.
Stop Anthracnose leaf spot with correct spacing, keep away from wetting leaves throughout watering, and take away fallen leaves.

Leaf recognizing is brought on by numerous fungi that may unfold between crops. Some of the widespread is Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, which causes Anthracnose leaf spot. This seems as reddish-brown spots on leaves and inhibits a plant’s capability to photosynthesize. The plant will solely die if most leaves are affected and fall off.

Fungal ailments usually can’t be totally managed as soon as a plant is contaminated, so the perfect methodology is prevention. Keep away from getting leaves moist when watering, and don’t let crops contact one another. Within the chilly months, rake up and take away fallen leaves so present ailments received’t unfold to new development when the climate warms up.

Copper fungicides may be utilized in early spring earlier than ailments infect the plant. Fungicides can solely stop ailments, so that they received’t be very efficient on already-infected crops. Nevertheless, you possibly can take away contaminated parts of the plant and spray the wholesome components with fungicide to gradual or cease the illness’s unfold.

Gray Mould

Close-up of a conebush plant in a sunny garden. The plant has upright stems covered with narrow, elongated, oval smooth leaves. They are variegated, include cream, green and pinkish hues. The plant has cone-shaped inflorescences that are surrounded by petal-shaped bracts of light green color with pinkish hues. Some leaves are damaged and form gray dry marks.
Weak conebushes are inclined to Botrytis.

Gray mildew, or Botrytis, is one other fungal illness that can go after weak crops. In case your conebush suffered harm from climate or pruning, the open spots may develop into contaminated. Gray mildew begins as a white or gray fungus on the broken web site and might unfold to wholesome components of the plant if it’s not handled quickly sufficient.

Take away all contaminated components of the plant as quickly as potential, making as few new wounds as potential. As with leaf spot ailments, gray mildew can solely be prevented and never handled. The illness thrives in moist, humid situations, so permit your conebush to dry out utterly to forestall the unfold.

Ultimate Ideas

Conebushes are attractive crops whether or not you develop them indoors or open air. They’ll want additional care if grown in cool climates, however they’re finally an simple low upkeep choice that usually received’t have pest or illness points. With so many conebush varieties accessible, you might need assistance deciding which of them to decide on!

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