At dawn, the brilliant tropical blooms that fill the farms along Maui's Hana coast burn deep orange, red, and frosted pink, like the rising sun. Lush green foliage surrounds them and sets off their dazzling hues.
But the beauty of these waxy-plumed heliconias, vivid torch gingers, heart-shaped anthuriums, elegant orchids, and spiky proteas lasts far longer than the morning. On a recent tour of the farms listed below I watched as these captivating blooms were harvested and gathered into bouquets for sending to the mainland.
Floral gift boxes, which range from $45 for a dozen stems to more than $125 for 35 to 40 stems (plus greenery as stunning as the flowers), arrive at far-flung destinations within one to two days. Once arranged, the flowers can last for a week or more in water-filled vases.
If your holiday decorating or gift list calls for flowers from paradise, order as soon as possible to ensure delivery by Christmas (call ahead for a brochure and price list). Many farms are also open to visitors; call first for directions. All flowers and plants are approved for agricultural export.
For another way to use tropical blooms, see our stories on Island-style Christmas and Islands wreath which feature anthuriums.
WHERE TO SHOP
Hana Tropicals. Tropicals flourish in Susie and Tony Pu's shade houses and fields. Cut flowers are shipped in boxes or in carefully packed glass vases tied with raffia. For Christmas decorations, ask about hanging bromeliad balls. Open by appointment. Box 247, Hana, HI 96713; (800) 456-4262 or www.hanatropicals.com.
Maui Floral. Carver and Maureen Wilson have grown proteas on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano for 26 years. Besides incorporating other growers' tropicals into their gift boxes and leis, they sell protea wreaths. 8-3:30 Mon-Fri. 310 Copp Rd., Kula, HI 96790; (800) 543-2727 or www.mauifloral.com.
Nahiku Tropicals. Brad and Nedia Reid grow orchids and bromeliads. Cut-flower boxes can be bought at their gift shop or ordered over the Internet. 8-5 daily; call before visiting. Box 324, Hana, HI 96713; (800) 250-3743 or www.maui.net/~reid.
Na Pua 'Ohana. John and Dawn Lono grow 20 varieties of heliconia and offer cut-flower boxes and leis. Their store, 'Ohana Lei & Flowers, is located in the Hana Town Center. 10-5 Mon-Sat. Box 495, Hana, HI 96713; (800) 438-9479, (808) 248-7064 (store), or www.ohanaflower.com.
Na Pua O Helani and Helani Farm. On more than 70 acres, Matt and B.J. Keiley grow vibrant-hued tropicals for their cut-flower boxes. By appointment. Box 571, Hana, HI 96713; (800) 385-5241 or BJ4flowers@aol.com.
Sunset Tropicals. For Terrie Roberts, proteas are a specialty, but her most popular gift box contains proteas, orchids, anthuriums, and other tropicals. 8-3 Mon-Fri. Box 451, Kula, HI 96790; (800) 343-2243 or www.sunsettropicals.com.
Tradewind Tropicals. Rebecca Buckley grows gingers, heliconias, and calatheas. She ships cut flowers and arrangements in vases. Not open to visitors. Box 385, Hana, HI 96713; (800) 327-8097.
Tropical Flowers and Bouquets of Hawaii. Virginia and Moses Timbal sell a variety of homegrown tropicals. 10-4 Sat-Thu. SR Box 36A, Hana, HI 96713; (800) 654-7956.