Leucadendron 'Jester' aka Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'

Two maturing plants:

I've been eying Leucadendron 'Jester' for years.  Where would I put it?  Would it be happy on my sharply drained, arid front slope?  And they were expensive--$20 for a gallon-sized rooted cutting.  I wanted, but hesitated.   The plant label said "full sun in coastal areas, part shade inland". Okay, but what did the label mean by "coastal"? Right by the ocean, in fog-belt Sunset 24, or did that also include 23, my garden's own zone?

And what about The Phosporus Problem? Proteaceae don't like no phosphorus, and our water company adds in to the water to help keep their pipes clear of build-up, grrrr.

On the way home one day, I took a slightly different route and spotted two established 'Jester's in someone's front yard.  I stopped and had a look.  They looked good at about 6' (2 M) tall and 3' (1 M) wide.
So armed with a frequent-shopper $10 coupon from Rogers, meaning I could get one at a reasonable price, I bought one of my own, though in hindsight a group of three plants would have been a better (but expensive) idea.

My baby:
Baby's foliage:

Specimen foliage:

Seeing the maturing plants down the road, I confirmed a Leucadendron could be fine in full sun in my zone, and could handle the 2 ppm phosphorus-laced irrigation water. Yay!

There's nothing better than seeing how a plant performs in your own neighborhood.  The two I saw looked to be thriving, or as close to thriving as is possible for a hybrid of a plant native to South Africa, a long way from here.
Mature plant's foliage paired with a pinky-red Plumeria:

Nice Plumeria, eh?  Intense color but only a slight fragrance, not the more powerful scent of the white-with-a-little-yellow one:
The property seemed to have a designer involved somewhat, but just for the front walkway area.  Pots with the same warm red color as the Leucadendron were filled with succulents and arrayed on the walkway to the home's front door.  The rest of the property was conventional lawn neatly mowed, and long established, non-descript foundation shrubs, nicely maintained.  The homeowner had asked that classic question:  "Can I have some low-maintanance year-round color by the entrance?"  And got it. 

Agave  'Blue Glow' of course, looking fairly good for a potted specimen.  This hybrid develops far better in the soil where it can spread out an extensive root system:

This pot and the plant echoed the brick-faced walkway and the Leucadendron foliage.  Kalanchloe luciae with a Crassula of somesort:

The 'Jester' label advised perfect drainage (easy when you live on a hill) and  cottonseed meal twice a year to promote acidic soil.  I can do that.  I'm anticipating the pleasure of a bright--okay, gaudy--shrub in a few year's time.  But understand, gaudy holds up better to our strong bright sunlight than pale pastels.  Or so I tell myself. 


  1. I could live with gaudy like that. Got a question for you. My ground-cover cold hardy sedums are struggling in this heat. They look like there burnt. I think they might be getting too much water. Do the crowns behave differently when over watered than underwatered. Soil in one bed is almost 100% compost. Other bed is a mixture of large pea gravel, compost and clay.

  2. greggo what is the sun exposure on your sedum. Many species will burn in full sun.

  3. You really do impress me to no end. :) Everytime I stumble upon a new want-to-get plant and Google search for it, I end up at your blog. And low and behold, you blogged about it... 4 years ago. Lol
    A few years ago, when roses (and companions for my roses) were my only interest, I must admit I was vaguely bummed to see so many (gorgeous) succulent posts creeping in. Then last year, bam, I found myself intrigued and highly interested in succulents. My new craze was born and so again, I headed back to your blog and reread all your succulent posts.
    And just this morning, I was planning a location for a plumeria and found a local nursery that specializes in them.
    This afternoon I came across a Leucadron Jester for the first time, googled it, and now you've given me a fun idea of planting them together, perhaps with my red sister Cordyline close by and something green and lush to weave then together. My backyard needs strong statement making plants, otherwise all the hardscaping, pool and bright sunlight does tend to wash everything out.
    Thank you so much for so freely sharing your pics and information. I appreciate it so much. It really does help to see plants in Real life versus the tag pic/info. I'm in sunset 19, so I have a different climate then your 23 but at least I get a ballpark idea of the size of some of these plants in SoCal.

    1. The Leucs want regular water the first year or 18 months esp. where you are so hot in summer. Something to keep in mind.

      If my silly blog has been of any use, I am happy!


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