Proteas are a large family of woody conical-type flowers including avrieties such as ‘Pink Mink’ and ‘King Protea’ that originally come from desert scrublands of Australia and South Africa. As such they are very hardy and have a long vase-life. After unpacking, always check the inflorescence for crushed or impacted flowers as damaged florets can rapidly turn black. While these flowers come from arid regions they tend to be quite fresh and sparkling and varieties such as King, Queen and Pink Ice should have a satin sheen, and varieties like P. repens are quite glossy. Thus, look out for faded flowers that can indicate they have been stored, as well as foliage that is turning black, or slate-gray. Remove lower foliage from stems, cut and place into a low sugar holding solution. Hold in coolers.