County of Hawaii - Agriculture

Exotic Fruit
Mac Nut
Post Harvest Treatment
Quarantine Treatment
Tropical Flowers

Tropical Flowers

AnthuriumsThe Big Island grows anthuriums, orchids, heliconia, gingers, bird of paradise, protea, foliage, carnations and even roses.

Anthurium, the Greek word for "tail flower," was first brought to Hawaii in the late 1800s. This flower thrives in warm, humid climates (65-85F) and is known for its long shelf life. It blooms year-round with peaks during summer months. About 98% of the state's anthurium production is grown on the Big Island and is valued at about $7.5 million. There are seven anthurium cultivars grown commercially on the island: red, pink, orange, white, green, obake (mixed color), and novelty. Anthuriums are grown under saran cloth shade or natural shade on 244 acres of land by around 65 growers. The primary growing areas are the Puna and South Hilo districts. Anthuriums are sensitive to cold temperature and should be stored at 55-70F with misting to keep the humidity high. Recutting stem ends under water and immersing the entire flower in cool water for 15-20 minutes can revive wilted anthuriums.

The Waimea area is the primary producer of carnations on the island. They are also grown in Kau and North Kohala. They have an annual value of $250,000. There are five farmers growing carnations on a total of about four acres of land. Between 15 and 20 varieties of carnations are grown on the island for both cut flower and lei purposes.

Heliconia, gingers and bird of paradise are the three main varieties of exotic flowers grown on the Big Island. Exotics from Hawaii have brilliant and subdued colors, a variety of unusual shapes and sizes, and last longer than other flowers. This new industry is valued at over one million dollars annually. There are 40 exotic flower farms primarily in the Puna, Hilo, Hamakua and Kona districts. Care for these flowers include soaking the flower in room-temperature water for 30 minutes, re-cutting the stem and placing them in warm preservative solution.

The Big Island, also known as the Orchid Isle, grows half of the state's orchids. It is known for the breeding of orchids and is the home of some of the most renowned orchidologists. Six varieties of orchids are grown commercially on the island: dendrobiums, cattleyas, vandas, cymbidiums, oncidiums and phalaenopsis. They are marketed as cut and potted orchids. Dendrobiums dominate the cut orchids with a value of about $3 million per year. There are about 70 dendrobium growers utilizing about 40 acres of land. Potted orchids are valued at $5 million per year. There are more than 40 certified orchid nurseries and three major orchid laboratories for orchid propagation on the island. The principal growing areas are the Puna, Hilo, Hamakua, and Kona districts. A number of orchid nurseries are open to the public. Potted orchids, with or without bloom, and cut orchids are available at flower shops, supermarkets, garden supply stores, and some nurseries.

Protea production on the Big Island is valued at over one million dollars. There are about 26 protea farmers cultivating over 200 acres primarily in Waimea, Kona, Ocean View, Glenwood, Pahoa, Volcano Village and Paauilo. Four varieties of protea are grown on the island: king, banksias, minks and pincushions. Proteas bloom year-round, peaking in October through February. They are sold at road stands, Hilo and Kona farmer's markets, supermarkets and florists. Proteas last for two weeks. They can be dried and used as dry flowers, which last for a long time.

The commercial production of roses on the island, valued at $3.5 million per year, began ten years ago. The largest producer of roses in the state is located in Waimea, the primary rose growing area on the Big Island. There are 10 farmers growing roses on a total of about 16 acres of land. Between 15 and 24 varieties of roses are grown commercially and used as cut flowers or for lei.