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Click here for Upcoming Events

West Hawai'i Master Gardener Helpline

Days: Tuesday and Thursday 

Time: 9 am to noon 

Phone: (808) 322-4893 

email: konamg@hawaii.edu 

Place: Kona Cooperative Extension Service Office, 79-7381 Mamalahoa Hwy. in Kainaliu (across from Aloha Theater)


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West Hawaiʻi Master Gardener Coordinator

Ty McDonald





Ty McDonald 

Kona CES Office

79-7381 Hawaii Belt Road
Kealakekua, HI 96750-7911


Phone: (808) 322-4884
Fax: (808) 322-4895
Email: tym@hawaii.edu

Our Mission

The Mission of the University of Hawaii Master Gardener Program is to provide the public with unbiased, research based information and sustainable management practices in tropical horticulture suitable for home gardens, local landscapes, urban environments and the community. The Master Gardener program is an educational outreach program administered by the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service. 

Interested in Becoming a Master Gardener? Join Us!


The online volunteer training classes will start on Friday, February 11, 2022, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, and will continue every Friday through May 6. Training is for 13 weeks and consists of 2 components:

1. Statewide online Zoom webinars on 13 consecutive Friday mornings (except for two dates that will meet on Thursday.) You will need to have internet access with Zoom capability.

2. West Hawaii-only classes on 3 to 5 Wednesday mornings (9am to 12pm, dates to be determined). These will mostly be Face-to-Face and hands-on classes (Covid permitting) dispersed throughout the 13-week training period These classes will meet in-person in the Conference Room on the Second Floor of the Kona Cooperative Extension office (UH-CTAHR) 79-7381 Mamalahoa Hwy, in Kainaliu (across from Aloha Theater).

In order to be Certified as a Master Gardener and to be able to use that title, trainees must complete the 3 components of the Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program: 

1.    Attend all classes and field trips of the Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program, unless previously approved to be absent by our Coordinator, Ty McDonald.

2.    Successfully complete the take-home exams with a passing grade within the time limit set by the Coordinator. The first take-home exam must be completed with a passing grade within that time limit in order for you to continue with the remaining classes. 

3.    Complete 40 volunteer hours as approved by the coordinator within 1 year of completing the MG Volunteer Training Program. To continue being Certified as a Master Gardener, on-going service of 30 hours of volunteerism is required every year.

Application deadline is Friday, December 3, 2021.  Class Fee is $250.  Enrollment is limited. 

Click here for the Online Application for the 2022 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program.

Plant Sale - Tuesdays/Thursdays 9AM to Noon. 

Interested in growing your own vanilla? $25 cash or check. Vanilla Orchids, Dragon Fruit, Curry Tree, Dracaena. Click for Details.

The West Hawai’i Master Gardener Program is offering a limited number of locally propagated vanilla orchids for sale to the community. These exotic vines, potted in one-gallon containers, grow well from sea level to about 4,500-foot elevation. They prefer part shade and do best with consistent moisture and regular fertilization. A detailed care sheet will be provided with each plant.

What we do

Master Gardeners expand the outreach efforts of the Cooperative Extension Service by interacting with the gardening public in a variety of ways:

  • Master Gardener Helpline
  • Information booths at agricultural festivals and farmers’ markets
  • Educational programs for gardening groups (school age to seniors)
  • Sustainable Gardening presentations at the Kona Historical Society Living History Farm
  • Growing plants like vanilla orchids in our nursery
  • Selling UH seeds, fruit fly traps, lures & bait, and live plants at outreach events
  • CTAHR Open House events
  • Educational programs and field trips for Master Gardeners
  • And more!

The Master Gardener Helpline

West Hawai‘i Island Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who specialize in giving advice and assistance to home gardeners on pests, diseases, and cultivation of plants in Hawai‘i. Research-based horticultural information is provided primarily through the Master Gardener Helpline. Home gardeners can email questions and photos, call during office hours and ask to speak to a Master Gardener, or drop by the office in person. Helpline hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 9AM to noon.

Vanilla Orchid Project

West Hawaiʻi Master Gardeners are growing vanilla orchids in our greenhouse. The Vanilla Orchid Team pollinate the orchids as they bloom, fertilize the plants, harvest and process the vanilla beans, and divide the plants as necessary. We sell some of the vanilla orchid plants at our outreach events.

Propagating Plants From Seeds Made Easy

With many people starting vegetable gardens for the very first time it’s important to understand the basics of propagating plants by seed. Visions of a bountiful harvest of fresh vegetables intoxicating the beginning gardener’s mind at planting may lead to sowing seed with merely a “wet it and forget it” consideration. 

Avid gardeners of all ages and stages, from fuzzy neophytes to gnarled veterans, never lose their fascination with the seed germination process, where seeds sown beneath the soil surface later emerge, full of life, as new seedling plants capable of independent existence.

Three conditions must be met for successful germination. Click here for more