Christmas is right around the corner and shoppers are out in record numbers. Folks are almost obsessed with getting their trees, poinsettias and gifts for family and friends. If you enjoy giving living plants for Christmas, consider giving poinsettias.
Last week, Russell Nagata wrote about the history of poinsettias. Today, let’s focus on purchase, propagation and care of this amazing plant.
Poinsettias, especially in Kona, are in spectacular color now. Although mainland folks think of the poinsettia as a Christmas flower, for us it blooms from late October through March. So if you don’t have a showy supply in your home and garden, now’s the time to start looking for them on the market.
Purchasing potted stock from a garden center or nursery is the easiest way to establish plantings of the holiday ornamental. However, some green thumb operators scavenge the neighborhood for hardwood cuttings when fellow gardeners prune their poinsettias following the flowering season. Getting plants this way can make you feel like a turkey if you choose cuttings from disease infected plants. If you get healthy plants, you can be sure to avoid “fowl” play.
There are a number of poinsettias available. They come in traditional reds or you can enjoy color combinations indoors and in the garden if you mingle the red plantings with white and pink varieties.
Tired of Norfolk pines? A new variety of Hawaii-grown Christmas trees is available.
By Mariah Mellor
It took five years – from test pot to harvest – for a new variety of local Christmas trees to be available this holiday season from Helemano Farms.
The Leyland Cypress, a popular tree usually grown in the U.S. South, is fuller compared to Helemano’s Norfolk pines. “We planted 15 varieties of trees, about 100 to 400 of each variety, and only the Leyland survived,” says Aaron O’Brien, Helemano’s owner.
By Nick Sakovich
Q: Arriving in Hilo from Europe several years ago, we were presented with several Norfolk pine trees in a pot to use as our first Christmas tree. … We noticed that several branches had gone brown/died off. We did notice, also, some very small webs at the base, though are unsure if this has any significance? Expecting it to recover in dappled sun conditions with plenty of water and some fertilizing; we noted recently that the browning has continued, though the trees have continued to grow. Any ideas what is causing the browning of branches (we notice some of the keiki Norfolk trees in pots in the garden have similar browning)? Any advice/assistance would be gratefully appreciated as this coming Christmas is a particularly special one, with a reunion of loved ones from afar. — R & A
Talking about Christmas trees in Hawaii is a little early being that its November 8th today.
But I was just watching Hawaii Five-O tonight, and it made me think of us getting our first Christmas tree in Hawaii. So how does Hawaii Five-O make someone think about Christmas trees. I’ll get to that in just a second.
When you are used to living on the mainland and you first move out to Hawaii, there are a few adjustments you have to make… a few ‘differences’ you have to get used to. To name a few:
1. Even though there is an interstate, it doesn’t take you to another state.
2. Shoes come off at the front door, and all of those shoes will be ’slippas’.
3. They serve Spam for breakfast at McDonald’s.
There are probably a hundred others, but maybe you get the point.
So coming up to our first Christmas on Oahu, we began to talk about where, and how, we would get a Christmas tree. We did learn that they do ship Christmas trees in and you can pick them up at places like Home Depot and such (yes, Hawaii has a couple of Home Depots). But after Sumi had done some internet research, she found this wonderful place up on the North Shore called Helemano Farms. Its a Christmas Tree Farm, in Hawaii. How cool is that?
So we picked our day for getting our first Hawaiian Christmas tree, and headed north to Wahiawa.
At that time, the only Christmas trees that they grew were Norfolk pines. They are very cool, very unique looking Christmas trees.
Uaka Kava of Hilo Hawaii have recently restocked ‘Awa (Kava Kava) powder they make from the dried fresh root of the Mahakea variety grown on the Big Island. This powder is for sale on their website:
There still continues to be a shortage of fresh root due to the disruption in planting caused by BfArM (German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices) erroneously linking fresh ‘Awa root to liver damage in 2001. This was subsequently disproved by UH Scientists:
A team of University of Hawai’i scientists may have solved the mystery of why some Europeans who used products containing kava extract suffered severe liver damage, prompting a number of nations to ban sales of the herbal supplement.
Read Complete Honolulu Advertiser article . . .
When the supply is normal Uka Kava makes dried fresh root powder processed from these varieties:
‘Awa Hanakapi ‘ai
‘Awa Honokane Iki
‘Awa Papa ‘Ele’ele
‘Awa Papa Kea
‘Awa Papa’ Ele’ele Pu’upu’u
During fresh root shortages Uka Kava offers their “Hang Loose Instant Kawa” product which many people prefer anyway due to ease of preparation.