Each time we help someone find that perfect plant, we're curious where it's going home to.  We know some of you have incredible jungled out houses! To take a peek into your spaces, at the beginning of summer we put out the call for #paikoliving submissions on Instagram. It was hard to decide, but we picked our three winners!


Our June winner went to Matty Guevara (@mexicancoconut), who with his husband Jordan owns The Public Pet in Kaimuki. If you've been into the shop, you know they have good taste and its no surprise that THIS is what they sleep under at night. 


Our July selection went to Malia Chu (@maliachu) who demonstrated the perfect way to incorporate Paiko into her modern Hawaii home.


We ended the contest on a high note in August with Moni Naverano's (@moninaverano) incredible living room with not one, but FOUR Paiko planters as well as a macrame plant hanger from Notted Nest!

We really do have the best customers and want to send out a huge thank you to everyone who entered. Keep sharing bt tagging #paikoliving and stay tuned for details on our next contest!


This summer has been really hot. To cool off we've been jumping in the ocean, finding any excuse to be in air conditioning, and searching out big shady trees. Anyone that's visited our shop knows we're in the middle of Kaka'ako, a neighborhood near to our hearts, but one of the hottest spots on Oahu.  In our asphalt covered neighborhood you have to look hard to find that shady tree.

So today we are using the blog to share some urban tree facts, and to hopefully encourage everyone to get out there and start planting. Let's make Honolulu a better place to live one tree at a time.  Treehooo!

Here are few of our favorite tree facts: 

  • The evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
  • You can easily request a street tree planting from the Honolulu City and County's Urban Forestry Department (808.971.7151).
  • Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%.
  • Trees absorb and block noise and reduce glare. A well placed tree can reduce noise by as much as 40%.
  • One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles. 
  • A large tree can provide a day's supply of oxygen for 4 people.
  • Urban areas with heavy tree cover are about 10 degrees cooler than urban areas with few trees.
  • Studies have proven that urban vegetation can result in slower heartbeats, lower blood pressure, and more relaxed brain wave patterns.
  • Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their hospital room offered a view of trees. They also had fewer complaints, less pain killers and left the hospital sooner.
  • Find more info on the benefits of trees here

Our current space unfortunately doesn't allow us to keep an inventory of trees, but try these nurseries for some great ones: Frankie's,  Waiahole Botanicals, Ko'olau Farmers, and Sharon's Plants.

Happy planting!

    IN BLOOM: Bird of Paradise

    On a recent walk around the neighborhood, we couldn't help but notice all the massive bird of paradise bushes studding the yards of Palolo. When passing by a bush brimming with flowers, we had to stop to offer our admiration and ask to snip a couple of stems. Throughout the year, bird of paradise leaves are a favorite for arrangements, so having a few of the flowers was a real treat! 

    We wanted to keep it simple, so we just snipped two stalks of big fresh flowers. With a vase already in mind, we kept the stems pretty short and made our way back home.


    We happened to have a few older arrangements that were ready to get tossed, so we salvaged the leaves (they tend to last longer than the flowers), and picked a nice dracaena to go with our flowers. With simple arrangements, it's all about composition. Stagger the heights of your flowers to avoid symmetry and the awkward "bunny ear" look.  With that in mind its hard to go wrong!

    To keep your bird of paradise arrangement fresh make sure to use a clean vase (we use hydrogen peroxide as a safe cleaning agent), use flower food if you have it, change the water about every other day, and remove dead petal clusters (you can gently pull up fresh ones from the pointy flower base).



    For more tips on foraging and arranging, check out our book, 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawai'i's Flora, available for purchase on our website! 

    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed 

    Paiko Living Contest

    Summer is in full swing and we wanted to kick it off with our Paiko Living IG Contest! Show us what you do with your Paiko finds at home, and be entered to win a $50 gift card and a feature on our IG and blog.


    • Your Instagram post must feature products from Paiko as you use them in your home. If your photo features a live plant, it must be in a vessel from Paiko
    • We'll select one winner per month through September
    • Winner receives a $50 gift card, a repost on our instagram, and a feature on the Paiko Living Blog at the end of the summer
    • Posts must tag @paikohawaii and mention us in the caption with hashtag #paikoliving

    Have fun and we're excited to see your beautiful homes!

    Sealing and Arranging Banana Flowers

    In our last post, we introduced you to ornamental bananas. So you've spotted those gorgeous pink flowers, gone oogly eyed over those tiny little fruit and now you want to know what's next. We know how intimidating a new bloom can be, so this week we decided to put the keikis to work, harvest a few more stalks and show you how its done.

    Banana sap is sticky and seems to permanently attach to anything it touches. So to avoid ruining your favorite vase or pants, we recommend sealing their stems before arranging. 

    You'll need:

    • Your banana stalks
    • Water
    • Vase of your choice (remember banana stalks are top heavy so, find something with a sturdy base)
    • Clippers, a sharp knife, or machete
    • A bucket you don't mind getting dirty 






    Step One

    Fill your bucket about half full. 










    Step Two

    Hold banana stalk next to vase and trim at desired height.  We recommend working with odd numbers and trimming stems at varying heights to avoid symmetry and create a more natural arrangement.





























    Step Three

    Place stems in your bucket and soak for one hour.





    paiko kenna reed banana flower






    Step Four

    Your stems are sealed so have fun arranging! Visit the Paiko flower bar for tons of choices to pair with your nanas, like our current favorite, chocolate anthuriums.


    To learn more about arranging bananas and to see examples of arrangements, see pages 20-23 of Ohi: How to Gather and Arrange Hawai'i's Flora. 


    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed


    IN BLOOM: Ornamental Bananas

    Summer is here and it seems like everything is blooming! Our kitchens are filled with lychee, mango, mountain apple, and of course, bananas. In Hawai'i we all know our favorite banana is the apple banana, for its sweet, tangy taste and cute size. But the variety that a lot of people don't know about is the ornamental banana, whose fruits (believe it or not) are even smaller and way cuter.

    Although this variety is not for eating, it's vibrant flowers and ability to stay alive in a vase for over a week make it the flower that everyone needs to enjoy this summer. 

    So keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned for our next blog on how to properly cut, seal and arrange these beauties! OR if you're not feeling patient, check out our book, 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawaii's Flora and check out the section exclusively on bananas.

    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed 



    Paiko Ohana: Jessica Onetti & Sax

    We are so thankful for our amazing staff. Our crew is made up of talented, smart, funny, people with hearts of gold, and half the reason we look forward to coming to work is just to see them. So meet Jess, our workshop director and shop gal, she's talented with the plants, the babies, and the needle and thread.

    So, tell us about you.

    Hi! I'm Jessica. I grew up in Seattle and came to live with my cousins in Kailua for my last year of high school. I went back to Seattle for some school, then ended up in Italy for 3 years where my mom is from. I moved back to Oahu over five years ago. I have always made things and been encouraged by friends and family to start selling, but it never really felt like a good fit. Sax is the first time that connection has made sense. My professional background is in teaching including traditional classrooms, ESL, urban gardening and much more! I have worked at Paiko for a year and a half and am doing a lot of the workshops- it's a very nice fit. 

    What's the story behind Sax?

    Sax was born because Courtney of Paiko wanted something similar to a plant sack she found in New Zealand (there are many amazing Sax type creations made in Australia and NZ!).  I put my own spin on it by sourcing cast away fabrics that would otherwise end up in the landfill, and I also hunt for beautiful vintage aloha wear at second hand stores. I create some of my own textiles and want to explore and learn so much more about natural dying!

    Where do you source your materials from?

    As soon as the word got out that I use up-cycled fabric, everyone and their mama wanted to give me their castaways and old fabric collections. I have gotten some of my best textiles from a friend who sells to the hospitality industry because she is left with a huge amount of small pieces that can't get used in her industry. I hunt at the thrift shops for my aloha patterns and other makers that use canvas have shared their extras. I also buy canvas new; I'm not 100% reuse. 

    What's it like being a mom and having a creative business on the side? Does your daughter Alba ever influence or help you in the creative process?

    Being a mom adds a layer of complexity as well as major motivation. My kid often makes it much harder to get work done but she has also been sitting on my lap pressing the sewing machine pedal since before she was two! Those moments when she sees herself creating are the best, and she wants to be my helper. Many people in Hawaii wear multiple hats when it comes to work and art and we are good at the balancing act. 











    Photos and Interview by Kenna Reed

    Mother's Day at Paiko

    Mother's Day is right around the corner (May 14th to be exact), and we've been stocking up on beautiful plants, flowers, and treasures that make it easy to show Mom your love. 


    Hand tied, mostly local, and beautifully wrapped for easy pick up, our Mother's Day bouquet features Waiahole beehive ginger, Hilo anthuriums, fresh eucalyptus, and local oncidium orchids, and select spring flowers from Half Moon Bay CA (vase not included/ king protea are unfortunatley no longer available). We always sell out of these beauties, so pre-ordering is highly recommended. 

    $ 90 ea // bouquets are approx 14 "day and come wrapped in Paiko butcher paper and ribbon




    From now until Mom's Day, the shop will be stocked with classic orchids, all grown locally, all in bloom, and all ready for Mom. Surprisingly easy to care for, our orchids are an easy way to make Mom smile.


    Photos and story by Kenna Reed

    In Bloom: Plumeria

    Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means? Plumeria. And lots of it. 



    Today, we took a drive around Kaimuki and captured a few of the different varieties of plumeria blooming in full force. So get your lei needles out, or just snap off a stem for your favorite small vase. That sweet intoxicating perfume is too amazing to leave outside.


    To view the largest collection of plumeria trees on the island visit Koko Crater Botanical Garden. For ideas on using plumeria in your home check out our book 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawaii's Flora.

    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed

    A Botanical Brunch with Flux

    Two weeks later, and we still can't wrap our heads around how magically Flux celebrated the release of their Plant Issue. The transcendental Botanical Brunch took place in a grove of palm trees located in the back of Palolo Valley, complete with fresh food by Chef James Aptakin, plant portraits, and of course, an 'Ohi inspired foraging and arranging session with Tamara and the Paiko ladies Courtney and Hadley. 

    Be sure to pick up a copy of Flux for more island grown, botanical inspiration and an article on our book 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawaii's Flora

    Photos and Video by Aria Studios
    Text by Kenna Reed

    In Bloom: Hibiscus

    Spring break for some of us means two things: The keikis are home and the hibiscus are blooming. Running out of things to do with the tiny humans in your life? Take a walk. Beauty is just a few steps away from the front door. 

    In Palolo, the hibiscus are going off. So when we stumbled upon a patch of white and orange double hibiscus, we couldn't resist bringing a few home and playing around. 

    Photos and Story by Kenna Reed

    Ohi' Workshop at Spalding House

    The holidays have passed and the time has come for you to do something for you. Fortunately, here in Hawai'i, flowers are year round and treating yourself is ALWAYS an option. On Saturday March 18, we are hosting an 'Ohi: How to Gather and Arrange Hawaii's Flora Workshop at the Honolulu Museum of Art's Spalding House. Join us as we walk the beautiful grounds of the Tantalus estate, learn about plants, and create beautiful arrangements from the nature around us.

    When: Sat 3/18 10a-1130a

    Where: Spalding House

    Cost: $35 for members and $40 for non members

    Info: Learn how to make beautiful arrangements using local greens and flowers with the authors of ‘Ohi, Tamara Rigney and Mariko Reed. Walk the Museum gardens to forage and learn about plants ideal for arranging, then create two hand tied arrangements using clippings from the garden and colorful flowers from local farms.

    Sign up here.

    Written and Photographed by Kenna Reed

    In Bloom: Aloe Vera

    In Hawai'i, aloe plants are abundant in drier parts of the island. Sadly, other than the few times a year where we snap off a juicy leaf to soothe our sunburns, it's easy to ignore them. That is until our little prickly plants give us a beautiful surprise and they bloom. 

    Depending on which species of aloe you're dealing with, blooms happen sporadically throughout the year and can be yellow or a pinkish orange. Typically, you'll notice the flowers in summer, but if the conditions are just right, your plants will be sure to let you know how happy they are. 

    For an easy and beautiful aloe arrangement, trim off a few blooms and pair with bold leaves like spider lily.

    For more information on harvesting and arranging local flowers check out our book 'OHI!

    Story and photos by Kenna Reed

    Hadley Nunes' Valentine's Installation

    We really can't give our amazing Paiko team enough credit. By day, they may be helping you pot those succulents and bundle your bouquets, but after hours is when the true talent comes out. Meet Hadley Nunes, our Visual and Floral Coordinator and creator of the beautiful Valentine's installation suspended over our main table.

    Tell us a little about you and your background as an artist.

    I’m a visual artist with a background in dance and performance working at Lana Lane Studios. I spent my twenties in New York after I graduated from Smith College with a degree in studio art. During undergrad, I spent a year at the San Francisco Art Institute in the painting department.

    I’ve worked in many different mediums, regardless of method, spacial relationships and abstraction have always interested me most. For four years, I studied and completed my MFA at the New York Studio School for Drawing, Painting and Sculpture where there was an emphasis on working from life (drawing and painting the figure and still life).

    At NYSS, I discovered the intrinsic connection between figuration and abstraction, so I consider even my abstract works representational because I always use something real to reference as I’m working—a collage, an arrangement of objects, a painting or scene that strikes me.

    When I moved back to Hawaii in 2011, I founded an international artist residency that took place in the Kaka’ako neighborhood called Present Project.


    What was your inspiration for this piece and what message are you hoping it sends.

    Tamara sent me some images of Yves Saint Laurent’s Love Cards, which Courtney had exposed her to after a trip to Laurent's garden in Morrocco. Every year from 1970 to 2000 Saint Laurent would design a new card to welcome the new year and celebrate love.

    A couple cards stood out from the collection, one with a simple hand drawn bird from 1976 and another from 1981 that had a bold graphic quality with love collaged on top of colored shapes in subtle variations of the primary palette. I immediately thought of Henri Matisse’s paper cutout technique based on the use of color, shape and silhouette.

    In 1941, Matisse began a series of large works by cutting paper into shapes that he would then arrange for large collages. This process continued to evolve over the last years of his life to include designs for tapestries, stained-glass windows, decorative tiles, posters, and magazine covers.

    After looking through images of his cutouts I decided to use a color palette based on our favorite Love Card from ’81 by Saint Laurent to create a series of cutouts based on plants we know and love at Paiko. Adding basic geometric shapes that spelled LOVE created another layer to the materials and connected back to what was inspiring us this season and highlighted the message of the piece.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the process of putting it together? The materials, the process,etc.

    I built a model using odds and ends I had on hand in my studio. Once I figured out I could spell love in shapes it made sense to have that statement suspended within the plant cutouts. The manu-o-Kū, also known at white fairy tern, felt like a natural addition to the sea of Paiko paper mascots.

    Each paper element in the mobile started as a drawing from life that was then cut out. I used the cutting as another opportunity to simplify and carve out the form. Once I had the shape right, I made a tracing of it on the paper from our palette for the final piece.

    I painted small strips of wood and put them together to create the geometric shapes, then made a drawing of a banana leaf, transferred the drawing to a wood panel, used a dremel to cut out the shape and added a couple layers of almost white paint.

    What do you want Valentines 2017 to be all about?

    Falling in love. It doesn’t have to be romantic (although that’s great too), it could be falling in love with a staghorn fern or a cup of coffee. It could could be a conversation, yourself, the moment—anything.


    Photos and Interview by Kenna Reed 



    'OHI Instagram Contest

    To celebrate our book 'OHI and inspire everyone to bring nature indoors in 2017, we're holding an 'OHI local flower arranging contest!

    Get outside, forage, explore your backyard, check out the local farmer's market, get creative! 

    The rules are simple:

    • Create a cut floral arrangement and post it on Instagram
    • Tag @paikohawaii and #ohihawaii
    • All materials must be local (We'd love to hear where your plants were sourced from)
    • No limit on posts per person

    The contest will run from today until January 31st and the winner will be announced the first week of February. The winner will receive a $50 Paiko gift card, a signed copy of 'OHI: How to Gather and Arrange Hawai'i's Flora, and will be featured on our IG and blog. So grab your clippers, get outside, and start arranging!

    PAIKO's 4th Anniversary & Welcoming MILO

    Last week we had the amazing opportunity to celebrate four years, welcome Milo, and bless our space. A big thank you to everyone who came out to show support, and to all of you that have rallied behind us the past few years. We couldn't have done this without each and every one of you!  

    Oh and don't forget our holiday hours! We'll be open

    12/20 to 12/23: 9 am to 8 pm
    12/24 Christmas Eve: 8 am to 2 pm
    12/25 Christmas Day: Closed
    12/26: Noon to 6 pm


    Photos by Kenna Reed

    GATHER: Protea

    Otherworldy protea flowers are a staple at the Paiko flower bar.  Kings, minks, banksias, pincushions, and even macadamia are all members of the ancient Proteacea family, with includes species native to Australia and South Africa (plate tectonics!). 

    Proteas need cold nights, so if you're lucky enough to be on the Big Island or Maui you can gather or plant them yourself.  Otherwise come by the shop, our flower bar is fully stocked for Christmas.

    paiko protea mariko reed


    -  To help them drink, split woody protea stems a an inch or two up the middle with a pair of clippers.
    - A little packet of flower food in your vase is especially helpful with proteas.
    -  Most proteas, excluding pincushions, dry beautifully. When your arrangement is looking tired, hang it upside down to dry.

    For more tips like these check out our new book 'OHI How to Gather and Arrange Hawai'i's Flora.

    mariko paiko protea