Don’s Expert Answers: Leaves on Protea are going yellow and brown

Question From:
Margaret Cini in Pakenham, Melbourne Victoria

Nature of problem:
Leaves on Protea are going yellow and brown

Type of Plant (if known):
Protea Pink Ice

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):
Leaves going yellow and brown from the branches out working there way up the tree

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
Clay soil but not clumpy

How often do you water the plant:
Mostly when it rains it gets watered but occassionally in the hot weather.

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
It gets full sun all day

How long since you planted it:
4 years ago

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
We sometimes spray the whole garden with Seasol mixed with Powerfeed

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:
In the ground

What other treatments have you given the plant:

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
The protea has been healthy until now. We have had 3 years of good blooms. We noticed about 3 days ago that some of the leaves at the bottom of the tree have turned yellow and brown. Some have dropped off to the ground. There is mulch on the garden bed but not near the trunk of the protea. Seasol was watered onto the garden approx 3 weeks ago.

Hi Margaret, Proteas can be touchy little devils. Ideally they should not be planted in clay soils as they like open, well aerated soils – sandy soils are good. Proteas hate over-watering. They do not like strong fertilisers and do not like lawn food applied nearby. Overall your’s looks like a healthy plant and the yellowing lower leaves are probably quite normal. One dead bit is OK too. If it gets worse, get some Yates Anti Rot and apply it to the plant. This is a very safe product. Basically leave the plant alone. Don