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PROTEAS BHT318

Course CodeBHT318
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Distance Education Plantsman Course

  • Become a Protea Expert
  • Learn to identify and grow different proteas
  • Learn to use proteas in garden design, grow them as cut flowers, as hedging, tub plants etc.

True Proteas come from Africa. Many produce spectacular flowers, with great commercial value as garden shrubs or a cut flower crop.

The term "Protea" is sometimes loosely used to refer to any plants in the Protea (or Protreaceae) family; though the scientific name "Protea" is strictly confined to one genus. Even nurserymen and cut flower growers the world over, may sometimes use the term Protea to refer to related plants in the Proteaceae family, such as Telopeas, Leucadendron and Leucospermum (though strictly speaking they are not Proteas).

 

This course is primarily concerned with those plants classified scientifically into the genus "Protea" (but does have some wider relevance). The true "Proteas" do share characteristics, with related plants:

  • similar soil and water requirements
  • susceptibility to the same problems
  • other similar cultural needs
  • sometimes a similar appearance, in foliage and flower.

 

Aims

  • 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.

Tips for Growing Proteas

• Soil conditions must be above all else well drained.

• An acid soil with a pH between 5 and 6 is preferred for most.

• Additional feeding is generally not needed, though if the pH is above 5.5 or 6, an iron deficiency can occur which may be overcome by either lowering the pH or feeding with iron chelate, or even rusty nails (rust will supply iron to a plant effectively, but slower than iron chelate).

• Some types do not tolerate high levels of salt (eg: hybrid Grevilleas).

• Many are to some degree frost sensitive (often only the young shoots).

• Protection might be needed, particularly for young plants. Damaged parts might need to be cut back after danger of frosts is over.

• Plants propagated as cuttings do not develop a strong tap root as they might if originating as a seedling. Cutting grown plants can become top heavy and fall over they may require support to ensure stability.

• Pest and disease problems are generally few. The most significant problems are diseases attacking the roots (in particular the fungal disease Phytophthora) which are most likely to occur in wet conditions.

Genera in the Proteaceae family include (not comprehensive): Aulax, Banksia, Dryandra, Grevillea, Hakea, Isopogon, Leucadendron, Leucospermum, Macadamia, Mimetes, Persoonia, Protea, Serruria and Telopea.

Proteas generally prefer sandy or gravely soils preferred, but they are adaptable. Good drainage is vital. Many common cultivated species are more suited to temperate climates, though a number of species are endemic to the African tropics. Most prefer full sun, and low humidity.

Try to avoid soil disturbance. They may be difficult to transplant. Though there are exceptions in the Proteaceae families, for Proteas it is usually best to avoid fertilisers containing phosphorus, avoid excessive feeding. Prune off flower heads to keep bushy and promote new flowers.

There are relatively few insect problems, but fungal diseases (eg. root rots, leaf spots) can be serious particularly in wet soil or humid conditions.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • General characteristics of Proteas
    • Information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)
    • Protea Botany
    • One way of Classifying Proteas
  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
    • Protea aristata
    • Protea caffra
    • P. coronata
    • P. cedromontana
    • P. compacta
    • P. exima
    • P. grandiceps
    • P. holosericea
    • P. lacticolor
    • P. laevis
    • P. laurifolia
    • P. longiflora
    • P. longifolia
    • P. lorifolia
    • P. pulchra
    • P. punctata
    • P. rubropilosa
    • P. recondita
    • P. speciosa
    • P. stokoei
  7. Making the Best Use of Proteas
    • Reasons for Growing Proteas
    • Proteas for warm climates
    • Hybrids
    • More cultivars for landscaping
    • Foliage affects
    • Harvest and post harvest
    • Dried Flowers
    • Growing Proteas in Containers
  8. Special Assignment - based on one of the following (your choice)
    • How to grow Proteas for commercial flower production.
    • The botanical characteristics and cultivation requirements for a selected Protea culivar.
    • A collection of different Protea cultivars on a budget equal to an average one weeks wage for workers in your country. selection of the varieties to grow, how to establish them in
    • containers, how to maintain peak health throughout the year.
    • Month by month what to do to proteas to achieve and maintain peak health in your garden. You should indicate when to feed, how much & what.....when to prune, and how, when & if to mulch, pest control measures etc.

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.

Aims

  • 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.

 
Protea grandiceps
 
Protea repens
 
Protea susanne
 
HOW MANY PROTEAS (& RELATIVES) ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH?
 

Tips for Growing Proteas

  • Soil conditions must be above all else well drained.
  • An acid soil with a pH between 5 and 6 is preferred for most.
  • Additional feeding is generally not needed, though if the pH is above 5.5 or 6, an iron deficiency can occur which may be overcome by either lowering the pH or feeding with iron chelate, or even rusty nails (rust will supply iron to a plant effectively, but slower than iron chelate).
  • Some types do not tolerate high levels of salt
  • Many are to some degree frost sensitive (often only the young shoots).
  • Protection might be needed, particularly for young plants. Damaged parts might need to be cut back after danger of frosts is over.
  • Plants propagated as cuttings do not develop a strong tap root as they might if originating as a seedling. Cutting grown plants can become top heavy and fall over they may require support to ensure stability.
  • Pest and disease problems are generally few. The most significant problems are diseases attacking the roots (in particular the fungal disease Phytophthora) which are most likely to occur in wet conditions.
     

Related Plants
Genera in the Proteaceae family include (not comprehensive): Aulax, Banksia, Dryandra, Grevillea, Hakea, Isopogon, Leucadendron, Leucospermum, Macadamia, Mimetes, Persoonia, Protea, Serruria and Telopea.
 
Proteas generally prefer sandy or gravely soils preferred, but they are adaptable. Good drainage is vital. Many common cultivated species are more suited to temperate climates, though a number of species are endemic to the African tropics. Most prefer full sun, and low humidity.
 
Try to avoid soil disturbance. They may be difficult to transplant. Though there are exceptions in the Proteaceae families, for Proteas it is usually best to avoid fertilisers containing phosphorus, avoid excessive feeding. Prune off flower heads to keep bushy and promote new flowers.
 
There are relatively few insect problems, but fungal diseases (eg. root rots, leaf spots) can be serious particularly in wet soil or humid conditions.

 

Find Out More about Proteas -Talk with one of our Horticulturists.
 
Explore the potential of proteas; and how you can learn about them through this course.
 
 
 

 

Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Rosemary trained in Horticulture at Melbourne Universities Burnley campus; studying all aspects of horticulture -vegetable and fruit production, landscaping, amenity, turf, aboriculture and the horticultural sciences. Initially she worked with the Department of Agriculture in Victoria providing advice to the public. Over the years she has taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Adriana Fraser Adriana has written about gardening and self sufficiency since the 1980's and for many years was a frequent contributor to Grass Roots Magazine. She has lived what she preached; developing large gardens and always growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs; and making her own preserves. In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certificate in horticulture; and a few years later, completing an Advanced Diploma in Horticulture. Adriana has worked across a broad spectrum of the horticulture industry; and has developed a strong network of contacts in horticulture around Australia and beyond. She has written and contributed to many books and magazine articles; and at one stage managed the national collection of Thyme. She has a passion for plant knowledge and sustainability and an inert understanding of how people learn about horticulture. Adriana has been a tutor with ACS since the mid 90's and based on the feedback from past students has been an overwhelming success in helping people develop their skills and further careers in horticulture.
Gavin Cole Gavin started his career studying building and construction in the early 80's. Those experiences have provided a very solid foundation for his later work in landscaping. In 1988 he completed a B.Sc. and a few years later a Certificate in Garden Design. In the mid 90's he worked as a manager and garden designer with the well respected UK company -The Chelsea Gardener. A few years later he formed his own garden design business, at first in the UK, and later operating in Queensland Australia. He has since moved to, and works from Adelaide. Apart from his work in landscaping, Gavin has been a prolific garden writer and a tutor with ACS Distance Education since 2001. He is currently part of the team of garden experts that produce Home Grown magazine.


Check out our eBooks

Proteas and their RelativesEasy to read, illustrated with lots of stunning colour photos of Proteas, Leucadendrons, Leucospermums and related plants. Download an exerpt for free, and buy online to download and read immediately.
Landscaping with Australian PlantsDiscover more about Landscaping with Australian Plants with this ebook, add a different design element in your garden by using beautiful and highly practical Australian Native plants. Attract wildlife, save water by using plants that are suitable for your area. Perfect for passionate gardeners, students and gardening professionals.
Getting Work in HorticultureFind out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
Plant Pests & DiseasesAre you one of those people that kill every plant you touch? Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's a pest or disease. A little bit of reading might just turn your garden into an oasis. Learn how to identify pests and diseases and bring the spring back into your plant...visit the bookshop to find out more...