Become a Protea Expert

Learn all about growing proteas
  • Grow and sell Cut Flower Proteas
  • Start a Protea Nursery

Learn where and how to grow Proteas and their relatives in the Proteaceae family. With the right cultural techniques (e.g. proper drainage, soil treatments, irrigation methods, feeding, pruning, weed control), you can achieve top quality, large blooms in what might otherwise be considered poor horticultural conditions.

Home Studies Course -Growing Proteas

There are 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • General characteristics of the group
    • Information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)
  2. Culture
    • Planting
    • staking
    • mulching
    • watering
    • feeding (nutrition requirements, deficiencies etc)
    • pruning
    • protection from wind, salt air etc.
    • drainage requirements
    • techniques for providing drainage, etc.
  3. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating this group of plants (cuttings & seed)
    • Propagation of selected varieties, etc.
  4. Most Commonly Grown Varieties of Proteas
    • Protea cynaroides
    • Protea mellifera
    • Protea repens
  5. Pests, Diseases and Problems
    • Protea botany
    • Pest & diseases
    • Drainage problems
  6. Other Proteas to Grow
  7. Making the Best Use of Proteas
    • Harvest and post harvest
    • How to use them at home
  8. Special Assignment - On one selected plant or group.

A plant collection (either pressings or illustrations with written cultural notes etc) is prepared in each lesson, to build your knowledge of different species and cultivars.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Duration: 100 hours


  • Explain the taxonomy of Proteas and closely related genera.
  • Describe the cultural requirements of Proteas and related Proteaceae plants
  • Propagate Proteas.
  • Compare a range of commonly grown Protea species.
  • Manage problems including pests and diseases with Proteas.
  • Discuss a range of different Protea species and cultivars.
  • Determine and describe a range of ways to grow and use Proteas; including as a landscape plant and as a cut flower.
  • Discuss a subject related to Proteas in depth.


While this course is mostly about the genus Protea; it is also relevant to related plants in the same Proteaceae family.

Many members of the Protea family (known as the Proteaceae) are relatively easy to keep growing, once established; often producing spectacular floral displays for decades if they are looked after. The flowers can be picked to decorate your own home, or you can sell them at roadside stalls, markets, etc. or directly to florists.

When plant nurseries or cut flower growers talk about Proteas they often refer to a group of closely related plants ‑ particularly Leucospermum, Leucadendron and the Australian Telopea (more commonly known as the Waratah) ‑ as well as the genus Protea itself.

Their cultural requirements are similar and they are often grown alongside one another.

Proteas are often known for their spectacular cut flowers. There are other members of the Proteaceae family, such as the Banksias, Hakeas, Dryandras and Grevilleas that also make excellent cut flowers. They are also known for their ability to handle tough dry situations where other plants would not.

Selected Protea Varieties for a Beginner to Grow

The Proteas provide many wonderful large blooms such as those of the King Protea (Protea cynaroides); as well as a number of quite delicate blooms, including those of the `Blushing Bride' (Serruria florida); and the interesting foliage of the `Silver Tree' (Leucadendron argenteum).

  • Large blooms: Protea cynaroides (The King Protea)
    • Protea barbigera
    • Protea neriifolia
    • Protea grandiceps
    • Telopea speciosissima
  • Medium blooms: Leucospermum species (The Pincushion Flowers)
    • Protea repens
    • Protea nana
  • Small bouquet flowers: Serruria florida (Brushing Bride)
    • Protea scolymocephala

Commercially, Proteas grown as cut flowers are usually planted in rows with an average of 2500 plants to the hectare (1,000 plants to the acre) but on a small property they can also make excellent windbreaks. They can also be included in the flower garden and cut for the local florist. If species are carefully selected you can obtain flowers all year round.