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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Become an Expert with Proteas

  • Identify different types
  • Propagate them
  • Grow them as landscape plants or Cut Flowers

Learn where and how to grow one of the most stunning groups of plants in the world. 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.









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Become an Expert with Proteas

  • Learn to Identify and Grow lots of different Proteas and related genera
  • Grow as cut flowers or landscape plants 
  • Propagate and nurture plants for optimum vigour


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”.

The true “Proteas” do share characteristics, with related plants from the same Proteaceae family:

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

This is a course for amateurs and professionals; flower growers, plant collectors and breeders, nurserymen, botanists, landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists.

Course Content

There are eight lesson covering the following:

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 cultivar.
  • 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.


Duration:  100 hours

Hardy, Versatile and Diverse

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

Comparing Leucospermum, Leucadendron and Protea




Flowers are bisexual (male & female parts on the same flower)

Many flowers occur in heads, irregular and usually sessile (ie. Without a stalk): enclosed in a variously coloured involucre (ie. A whorl of small leaves or bracts surrounding the flowers).

Flowers are solitary or clusterd occurring in a bracted head; the perianth is tubular

Dioecious –both male flowers and female flowers occur on different plants

Male flowers in a sessile (without a stalk) head

Female Flowers in a cone like head

Fruit is a densely bearded nut

Fruit is a whiteish nutlet

Fruit is a nut

Leaves sometimes don’t have a stem, arranged alternately on stem, leathery

Leaves are crowded on the stems, leathery and hairy

Distinctive terminal leaves surround flower are usually coloured, Leathery leaves

Approx 132 species, 82 from South Africa; most of the others indigenous to the African continent

Approx 48 species, upright or procumbent shrubs, most from South Africa, three from elsewhere

South African trees and shrubs, Approx 80 species


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.






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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)A graduate of Burnley Horticultural College; Rosemary has over 30 years of experience in horticulture. Her training was extensive covering both amenity and production horticulture; developing pactical skills and a deep understanding of the sciences that underpin horticulture. She worked with the Agriculture Dept in Victoria as a consultant or advisor to both farmers and home gardeners. Over the years, her experience has been as broad as her training, working on radio with ABC radio, a garden editor (with several major publications) and as a teacher, writer, garden designer and consultant. Rosemary has led several garden tours to the UK and 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 written six gardening books and collaborated on many others. Rosemary brings a unique personality, knowledge base and passion to the school; an an infectious love of horticulture in support of our students. She holds a B.Sc Hort,, Dip.Hort.Sc., Dip. Advertising & Marketing and B.Ed.
John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 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.
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

ProteasProtea is internationally, one of the best-known and most widely grown genera from the Proteaceae family. Proteas originate in southern Africa and many species are known and grown for their large colourfull flower heads.
BanksiasLearn more about Banksias in this 62 page ebook with pictures. Knowing which banksia to plant can be difficult given the different growing conditions.
Growing & Knowing GrevilleasThe Growing and Knowing Grevilleas ebook explains everything that you need to know about Grevillias. If you are landscaping or designing a new garden, you should consider including Grevilleas in your design. This stunning ebook comprises of 134 pages of great information about Grevilleas and has been written by John Mason and staff of ACS Distance Education. Why not step outside the of the everyday and discover some magnificent plants for your garden- Grevilleas? As there are shrubs, trees and ground cover included in this genus, this is such a versatile plant.
Scented PlantsScented plants can be either a delight or a curse. For many people, there is nothing more pleasing than a garden filled with fragrance, but for others who suffer allergies, certain plants can make them physically ill; sometimes very seriously.