Leucadendron salignum 'Chief' - A large rapidly growing upright evergreen shrub to 6 to 10 feet or more tall by 6 to 8 feet wide with long narrow slightly hair reddish green leaves that are a particularly vibrant red in summer. In mid-winter appear clusters of the pink centered pale yellow bracts surrounding the small yellow male flower cone.
Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil with occasional to infrequent irrigation - definitely a "drought tolerant" plant once established. It is hardy to around 25°F and perhaps a bit lower and is resistant to deer predation. As with others in the Proteaceae it is best to avoid using any Phosphorus fertilizer. Can be sheered and will rebound from its woody rootstock if cut hard. This plants large size and short stem length have kept it from being grown as a cut flower variety for the florist trade, but it is a great large landscape plant. It can be used as a specimen, as a hedge or windbreak that is quite attractive out of bloom with long lasting winter flowers that can certainly be cut and used by the home gardener.
The species Leucadendron salignum is a widespread species found throughout much of South Africa. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'leukos' meaning "white" and 'dendron' meaning tree in reference to the silver white Silver Tree, Leucadendron argenteum. The specific epithet means like a Salix, the genus of the willow, in reference to this plants narrow willow-like leaves.
We grew and sold this nice variety in 2017 and 2018 after receiving a bucket of stems from our friend Dennis Perry of Protea USA that we took our first cuttings of. Dennis was a speaker at our 1998 Field Day open house where he gave the talk Proteas for the California Garden & How to Maintain Their Vigor.
Information about Leucadendron salignum 'Chief' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.