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Products > Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'
Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' - Wilson's Wonder Conebush

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Proteaceae (Proteas)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Red & Yellow
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Synonyms: [Lcd. 'Bell's Sunrise']
Parentage: (Leucadendron laureolum x L. salignum)
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' (Wilson's Wonder Conebush) - A vigorous, dense and beautiful shrub that is typically seen to around 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide but with time can get up to 6 to 7 feet tall by at least 8 feet wide. The new grow flushes out red in late spring before greening up and in the fall appear the showy bract clusters, often on multi-headed stems, that start a bright yellow to cream color and then age to a strawberry red by mid-winter into spring with bright yellow male cones in the center. As with most male cones cultivars the cone darkens to a dark gray and is less spectacular later for use in the vase, but the bracts and foliage continue to look very attractive for months and the shrub always looks attractive.

Plant in full sun in a fairly well drained soil and irrigate infrequently. As with the cultivars 'Safari Sunset' and 'Red Gem' this is a tough cultivar that can handle frost, alkalinity and clay soils sol long and it should prove long lived, so long as the soil drains well. It is excellent as a mid-length stems cut flower for winter holiday season arrangements and makes for an attractive specimen plant or as a screen or even a formal hedge. It is also useful where a lower growing plant is required as it stays more compact and spreading compared to the upright 'Safari Sunrise'.

Though the name 'Wilson's Wonder' is the one commonly used in the U.S. this plant's actual cultivar name is 'Bell's Sunrise' and it is under this name that the plant is registered as in The International Protea Register. It was a cross done in New Zealand between Leucadendron salignum and Leucadendron laureolum that was introduced by Ian Bell. Bell started working in 1961 with his in-laws Wallace and Jean Stevens at their Stevens Brothers Nursery in Wanganui. Jean Stevens (1900-1967) is credited with starting the interest in Leucadendron for cut flowers and garden use in the early 1960s and was also a noted Iris hybridizer. She is credited with making the initial cross between Leucadendron salignum and Leucadendron laureolum that resulted in the cultivar 'Red Gem' and then worked with Ian to create the most popular of all of the female flowering hybrids, 'Safari Sunset' and it was a male flowering plant from this same seedling group that was selected by Ian Bell and shared with Lewis Matthews, who named it 'Bell's Sunrise' in 1983 and included it in his book Proteas of the World (Matthews Publishing, 1983) with a beautiful water color illustration painted by Zoe Carter. It is not clear to us who renamed it 'Wilson's Wonder' or who Wilson was. It is a great plant, but we only grew it a couple years after young plants were accidentally shipped to us and later identified as 'Wilson's Wonder', so we use this name in our database instead of the actual cultivar because it seems to be the name commonly used in the California nursery trade. 

This information about Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.