Popularity Keeps Growing
floral professionals, what do we look for in the perfect flower?
It should be colorful, interesting, long lasting, easy to
handle, have a good vase life and be affordable. The exotic
protea family has all of that. The exotic protea plant family
has existed for millions of years. It is believed when the
Southern Hemisphere was combined into one continent, also
known as Gondwanaland, proteaceae, the family of protea, was
growing along dinosaur highway. When this continent began
to breakup and drift apart, the proteas moved to Africa and
banksias moved to Australia.
floral family has more than 1,600 different varieties. Of
those 1,600, approximately 150 are of commercially use, 20
are leucospermums, 73 leucadendrons and 70 banksias.
colorful flowers range in size from 2 to 12 inches in diameter.
As a family, proteaceae is so diverse it did not receive a
botanical name until 1735. The Swedish naturalist Linneaus
imagined these flowers to derive their name from Homer’s “Iliad.”
The Greek mythological god Proteus was a sea god who was able
to change his form, a very interesting concept when one thinks
of all the unusual exotic beauties in this family. Can you
imagine how to use this diversity in your floral marketing?
is grown commercially in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand,
Israel, Spain, South America, Hawaii and California. As you
can see from the growing areas, protea is more of a Mediterranean-grown
exotic flower than a tropical.
will give credit to the Hawaiian growers for their marketing. They
have just about succeeded in getting most of the floral industry
in the United States to believe protea is a tropical flower. Although
not a tropical, proteas have been used with these types of flowers.
I have heard it said that some are intimidated by the size of protea.
because of their size, proteas are thought hard to work with.
Large exotic arrangements are special and fun to create, and
have their spotlight but, so do table arrangements with shorter
stems and small headed protea flowers and foliage when combined
with more conventional flowers.
people in the floral trade, be creative. You are only limited
to your own imagination! Use protea with your favorite flowers
and foliage, or just let the floral display dictate to your
craft. Exquisite arrangements equal increased profits. TRY
protea are mistakenly used as tropicals, these exotics should
not be kept in your tropical cooler. This could mean loss
of inventory or reduced shelf life. Proteas should be kept
with your regular floral population. Temperatures around 34-36
degrees Fahrenheit with 85-90 percent humidity will keep your
protea flowers ready for that special customer.
leucospermum (pincushions), leucadendrons and banksia are available
from California almost all year. The main bloom times are fall,
winter and spring, with some of the banksia and King Proteas
blooming into summer. The diversity you can add to your floral
pallets by using the protea family is unlimited. The extended
vase life of these flowers and foliage (10-15 days) makes them
a great buy, but you can add value to your sales by saying “They
do not die, they dry.”
your clients and customers that little extra for the investment.
As you start to notice more of this exotic family of flowers show
up in your area, ask your supplier to send you some protea flowers
and foliage that are a little different. Explore a well established,
but little recognized flora family for the millennium. Surprise
and delight your customers, clients and staff. Expand your floral
article was previously published in The Flower News, April
Written by Ben Gill, California Protea Managment.