HANDBOOK OF SOUTH AFRICAN PROTEAS CULTIVATION by Juan-Alberto Rodríguez Pérez

This book, as the name suggests, is a manual for the cultivation of the main genus of the South African proteas: Leucadendron, Leucospermum, Protea and Serruria.  It includes a valuable information for the commercial growers of these plants, and for those that use them in landscaping.

After the definition of the concept of protea and a brief historial introduction about the beginning of the crop and its extension at world level, we move to the chapter of taxonomy, ecology and distribution of these plants, where the most interesting species and cultivars, from the commercial point of view, are described. The following two chapters deal with the conditions of climate and soil most suitable for the growth of the proteas. In the next chapter, everything related to the plantation (preparation of the land, planting frames, etc.) is described. Propagation ( seeds, cuttings, grafting and micropropagation) is discussed in the following chapter. The nutrient requirements of the proteas and the fertilizer formulas used are analyzed in the next chapter. Then, everything related to irrigation (water requirements of plants, irrigation rates, etc.) are described.The following chapter describes the pruning techniques of the different genera, including pruning for the formation of the structure of the plant and pruning to increase the production. Then, this book deals with the models used for the study of growth and the techniques employed for the control of flowering. After this chapter, the main pests (aphids, beetles, etc.) and diseases (phytophthora, etc) and the methods used for their control are described, as well as those employed to control weeds. The harvesting and post-harvest care of flowers and foliage is the subject of the next chapter, commenting on the harvesting operations and postharvest problems of some species, especially in the genus Protea. Data of duration of cultivation, production of flowers and foliage in different areas (South Africa, Australia, etc.) and profitability are given in the following chapter. Inmmediately afterwards, a tour is done by the different producing areas in the world, both in the northern hemisphere (California, Hawaii, Israel, Portugal, Canary Islands, etc), and in the hemisphere South (Australia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc.), showing the cultivated surface, species and cultivars of greatest interest, marketing, etc. Finally, an extensive bibliography will allow to deepen the reader on some particular aspect of the book.