These dramatic blooms add “fireworks” to all types of floral designs.
Native to South Africa, Leucospermum (loo-ko-SPUR-mum) is a member of the Proteaceae family, and the blooms are commonly known as pincushions. Relatives include Protea, Banksia, Leucadendron, Telopea (waratah), Dryandra, Grevillea and Macadamia.
Leucospermums have globular flower heads, typically 3 to 5 inches in diameter, composed of tubular florets (styles) that project like pins from a pincushion (begetting the common name). Styles are usually upward curving or straight, and their thickened
ends are pollen presenters. Some species (e.g. L. reflexum/rocket pincushions) produce reflexed, downward-facing styles as they mature.
Hues include red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, golden yellow and lime green. Some species and varieties are bicolored—red and orange, red and yellow, or orange and yellow.
Leucospermums are available virtually year-round due to varying growing seasons in the Northern and Southern hemispheres; however, all species and varieties are not available throughout the year. These flowers are grown domestically in California and Hawaii and are imported mainly from Australia and South Africa.
buy this way
Purchase blooms that have at least 25 percent (or three rows) and as many as 75 percent of style tips that are detached from the flower heads. Flowers that are harvested too tight often will not open properly. Also look for straight stems that are sturdy just below the flower heads.
prepare for arrival
Unpack Leucospermums immediately upon their arrival, and check flower quality. If you cannot immediately attend to these flowers, open the box(es), and place it/them into a floral cooler until you can begin processing.
food and drink
Remove any foliage that would be under water in storage containers. Next, recut stem ends with a sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately dip or place stem ends into a hydration solution, then into storage containers partially filled with properly proportioned flower-food solution.
Immediately place Leucospermums into a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before using or selling them.
Leaves can turn black due to lack of carbohydrates (sugar) and low light, so use a fresh flower food, and provide light in the cooler. This often happens before a flower head starts to deteriorate.
no issue with gas
Leucospermums’ sensitivity to ethylene is low.
Most Leucospermums should provide a vase life at the consumer level of five to 14 or more days, depending on variety and species. Some do not store well, so sell or use these flowers within three or four days of their arrival in your store.
fresh to dry
These flowers dry nicely, without shedding styles or leaves. In fact, they can be left indefinitely in fresh arrangements, long after the water is gone, and still retain much of their beauty.