Debra Prinzing

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SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: All about Protea – a South African native that flourishes on California Flower Farms (Episode 119)

December 11th, 2013

Protea is a dazzling native South African flower that has adapted to California's benign growing climate - thus, perfect for the American-grown cut flower industry.

Protea is a dazzling native South African flower that has adapted to California’s benign growing climate – thus, perfect for the American-grown cut flower industry.

Today’s guests are two of the most influential US growers of Protea.

Mel Resendiz, an expert grower of Protea and other South African and Australian ornamental plants.

Mel Resendiz, an expert grower of Protea and other South African and Australian ornamental plants.

Owner of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, based in Fallbrook, California (in northern San Diego County), Mel Resendiz has been growing protea for 35 years. He’s joined by colleague Diana Roy, an equally passionate protea fan who handles marketing and promotion for Resendiz Proteas. 

You’ll hear us refer to this lovely flower a few ways. It’s spelled P-R-O-T-E-A, but pronounced:

Pro-tee-ay-AH . . . Pro-tee-Ah . . . or . . . pro-Tay_AH 

Whichever way you pronounce it, Protea is a luscious native South African flower, said to have been named after the Greek God Proteus, who was able to change into many different forms.

The Proteaceae family of plants is comprised of more than 1,400 species. Ranging from 2 to 12 inches in size, Proteas typically blooms in fall, winter and spring, although the folks at Resendiz are able to harvest and ship the flower year-round to customers in the U.S., Canada & Japan, due to their growing practices and attention to detail. 

Diana Roy, a board member of the California Cut Flower Industry and active protea promoter.

Diana Roy, a board member of the California Cut Flower Commission and active protea promoter. She was captured here at an industry event in a gerbera greenhouse.

 

A Resendiz bouquet in which Protea is paired with Pincushion flower (Leucospermum).

A Resendiz bouquet in which Protea is paired with Pincushion flower (Leucospermum).

Why are these South African plants now considered a valuable California flower crop? It’s because coastal California is one of five Mediterranean regions of the globe, similar to South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Chile and Greece. Full sun, well-drained soil, good air circulation, mild winters and acid soil ensure that proteas thrive as if they were in their native environment.  

Established in 1999 and today one of California’s largest supplier of South African and Australian floral products and plants, Resendiz produces more than 200 varieties of these unique native plants.  Known for their exceptional value and long vase life, the protea and other blooms like PincushionsBanksiaKangaroo Paws and  Leucadendroncreate dramatic impact when incorporated in arrangements and bouquets. Many varieties are hybrids – grown only by Resendiz Brothers.

A wedding bouquet pairing protea with roses!~

A wedding bouquet pairing protea with roses!~

Rich in color, texture and form, the protea is both dramatic and exotic. The spectrum ranges from warm to cool colored blooms — Rich reds, deep pinks, and fresh greens. Together, these blooms make stunning arrangements – and they are long-lasting – a huge bonus for the florist and DIY designer alike.

If  you want an American-grown flower that will dazzle in the bouquet or the vase, look no further than the Protea.

Thank you  for joining me in this episode of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast with Debra Prinzing. Because of your support as a listener, there have been nearly 4,000 downloads since July – and I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at hhcreates.net

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