31 January 2024

Kicking Off 2024

UGC starts new plumeria collection and partnership

Kicking Off 2024

by Alberto Ricordi

Ninety percent of flowers used for lei-making are imported to Hawaiʻi, and the decreasing supply of local flowers is having a drastic impact on the lei industry statewide.

To address the growing chorus of lament from lei-flower growers, lei makers, and lei vendors, Extension has kicked off 2024 with a new plumeria collection at the Urban Garden Center. On January 6th, students from Kalani High School helped clean up the plot, amend the soil, and plant the first rooted cuttings. The work day was organized through a collaboration between CTAHR and the Lei Poinaʻole Project of BEHawaii.

The collection features 30+ varieties! We selected varieties considered good for lei, with traits such as long-lasting flowers, thick petals suitable for handling, and attractive scent and color. 

CTAHR receives frequent requests from plumeria growers, landscapers seeking new varieties, and lei groups. This new collection at UGC will be very important for the industry because the current supply cannot meet the demand, and because access to flowers and foliage to make lei is very important for the community.

The Lei Poina’ole Project was created by BEHawaii in response to concerns about the decreasing supply of local flowers. The partnership with CTAHR is meant to close that gap in the next five to six years. Collaborations like this will be key for the success of this project. 

More community work days and workshops will be offered in the near future. Want to be notified of upcoming activities and events? Sign up for the UGC Plumeria and Lei list. For questions, you can contact me directly at albertoh@hawaii.edu. Mahalo

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