The climate and soil conditions at around the 2000 to 3000 ft elevation of Kula, (also known as “Upcountry Maui”) on the western slopes of Haleakala are ideal for Protea. They were first propagated here in the mid 1970’s.
The types of blooms are so diverse it’s hard to believe they are the same species. With names like King, Dutchess, Mink, Pincushion and Banksia, they are made into stunning bouquets. These flowers are very long lasting with strong, wood like stems. Did you know? Macadamia nuts are also a type of protea!
The name of the protea comes from the Greek god Proteas. This was a sea god who could change into many forms. The name was chosen because these flowers are found in many different forms as you can see. They are prized for their intricate beauty and unusual forms, often likened to something from pre-historic times.
Protea originated in Africa and are now grown in Hawaii, mostly on the higher areas of Maui including Kula and Makawao. They also grow well in Australia. Farms can be found in more that fifteen countries around the world.
Protea are a winter bloomer even in Hawaii so production can slow from May to as late as October.
King Protea "The King of all Flowers" - Cynaroides
As the name says this is the ‘king’ of the protea flowers and the largest. This striking bloom can be six inches or more across. They are pink to near red with dark green leaves, a thick woody stem and a velvet-like feel. The bush, also called a sugar-bush can be up to three feet tall. The flower will remain beautiful after drying. They are pollinated by birds that feed on the nectar as the pollen is too deep for insects to reach.
King protea is the national flower of South Africa.
Grows well on Maui as do most protea.
Minks are a feathery, long compact flower. Colors include pinks and grey-black. They can be up to five inches long and about 3 inches across. Like many protea they grow on a large shrub.
• Mayday - P. Neriifolia x magnifica
• Niobe - Protea neriifolia x laurifolia
• Black Beard - Protea lepidocarpodendron
• Rose Mink - Protea laurifolia
• Pink Ice - Protea hybrid
Exotic and lovely these flowers look just like their name. Pin like tips emerge from a ball of delicate bracts in a bright yellow or orange. Pincushion protea make an exciting addition to any Hawaiian flower arrangement.
Pincushion protea grow on a small, evergreen shrub.
A native of Australia, there are several types of banksia flower. Most are red or green with some shades of yellow or pink. They come in shapes from a compact bottle-brush to a taller cone shaped flower.
Banksia grow on both trees and shrubs. They bloom with a set of tiny spikes, each with a flower. This gives them their brush-like appearance.
They are named in honor of botanist Joseph Banks who traveled with Captain Cook in the late 1700’s.
Also called Leucadendron the Safari Sunset is a dark red flower that grows on a bush. Its shape resembles a rose bud and is actually a cone of bracts surrounding the true flower. The foliage goes from green at the base to more reddish closer to the bloom.
Upright heliconia are the largest of the these flowers. They grow on tall, thick stems and open in a shape sometimes called the ‘Lobster Claw’. The most common color is deep red and they are also found in pink and yellow. They are a heavy flower and add to flower arrangements.
There are more than 1000 different types of anthurium flowers. They are the most cultivated decorative flower in Hawaii. So our Hawaiian Flower Guide must include them. Anthurium vary in size as well a color. Many tropical flower growers have created their own unique anthuriums by crossing existing plants.
The remarkable part of the anthurium is not an actual flower but a bract from which the flowers emerge. This is a flat, wide and somewhat heart-shaped spathe. From the spathe emerges the spadix, a long, tubular extension covered by the tiny flowers.
They are grown outdoors in tropical areas or as an indoor plant. They are sensitive to low or high temperatures, preferring to be between 60 and 80 degrees. Cut stems can last up to a month with fresh water changes and moderate temperatures.
The name means ‘tall flower’ though the stems range from about a foot to just under one foot in length. They are native to tropical Mexico, Central and South America.
Standard anthurium colors are red to red orange, pink, pale yellow, light to bright green (midori), apricot and pale orange.
Anthurium are poisonous to humans and pets if ingested.
Obake are large, remarkable flowers with variegation of two or more colors. The Japanese word means ‘ghost’ or something that changes. This is because of the color change on the surface of the bract.
Colors include green with a red center also called ‘watermelon’ anthurium. Some are green with a light pink center or green to bright pink.
Tulip or novelty anthuriums are smaller and more narrow that standard anthurium. Their spathes tend to be more upright. Varieties include the coral colored Lady Jane, Purple Arc and white Peace Lily. Tulip types may not last so long as their larger relatives.
Purple arc an Lady Jane anthurium are used to make corsages.
Bird of Paradise
Bird of paradise is classic tropical bloom that is found widely throughout Hawaii. This is a must have for any Hawaiian Flower Guide. ‘Birds’ are used both for cut flower arranging and landscaping. It is named for its bird like appearance and is sometimes called the crane flower. This is a large flower on a thick stalk. Take care when handling as the open bracts can break.
Bird of paradise are another popular tropical flower native to South America that is now found throughout much of the world, particularly in the tropics. The common name comes from the appearance that the blooms look like beautiful birds among the tropical greenery. In addition to Hawaii bird of paradise can be grown in California and Florida.
These flowers thrive with ample rain followed by full sun. They open gradually and are usually orange or yellow with sometimes blue flowers. They are a tall flower with large leaves similar to the banana tree. The leaves are also sometimes used in flower arranging. The leaves are broad, long and deep green.
Tropical foliage adds balance and natural color to any Hawaiian flower arrangement. We add the most popular greenery to our arrangements such as monstera and song of india.
Ti leaves are the quintessential Hawaiian leaf. Ti is used in everything from flower arranging, lei making and hula skirts to cooking. Ti leaves are deep green or purplish red, sometimes with variegation.
Protea Slow May - October
Bird-of-paradise bloom through all seasons.
Many variations of ginger bloom all through the year.
Red and pink anthurium bloom in all seasons.
Heliconia bloom in all through the year.