botanical basics

BOTANICAL BASICS: KING PROTEA

Without fail, anytime our flower bar is stocked with these beauties, people come running. I present to you, the King Protea. 

The King Protea has the largest bloom in the massive protea family. Native to South Africa, they grow as a shrub and bloom most prolifically in the winter. The large "flower" is actually a collection of tiny true flower heads surrounded by colorful bracts that can be white, yellow, red, or the most sought after, pink. 

paiko king protea

Proteas love extreme weather conditions: dry summers and cold wet winters, so your efforts at growing them in Honolulu will be poorly rewarded. But lucky for us, the temperate climate on the high slopes of the Big Island and Maui provide perfect conditions for these artichoke-like bad boys. We work with a handful of small farms to stay stocked.

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Cut the stems at an angle when you get home to get them drinking. Keep your kings fresh with water changes every few days and a floral preservative. Make your own preservative with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, a teaspoon of lemon, and a teaspoon of sugar.

And did mention they dry beautifully? When your arrangement looks tired, hang the kings upside-down to dry (this helps preserve their shape), then enjoy them for years.

image from http://swallowsnestfarm.blogspot.com/2012/05/drying-proteas.html

image from http://swallowsnestfarm.blogspot.com/2012/05/drying-proteas.html

 

Photos by Kenna Reed unless noted
Written by Kenna Reed

Botanical Basics: Anthurium brownii

If you’ve been into the shop lately, you’ve probably noticed that Paiko has been overflowing with plants. We wanted to take the time to introduce you to one of our sexiest and easiest plants to take care of:  Anthurium brownii.

These anthuriums prefer wet, tropical environments, so it's to no surprise that they can be found from Costa Rica to Columbia. It also shouldn't be a surprise then, that Hawai'i makes an ideal habitat for them.  Anthurium brownii can be identified by its striking, ruffled, yellow veined leaves, and long spindly flowers. These aren't the type of anthurium flowers you spot at the farmers market.

This active guy flowers and fruits year round. The blooms are composed of a long protruding spadix covered in spirals of minuscule "flowers," and spathe, a leaf-like bract that hangs down beneath the spadix.   When the bloom is fresh, you  may also notice tiny (roughly 5 mm wide) "fruit" varying in color. 

Thinking of adopting your own little "brownii" ? You're in luck. They're extremely easy to take care of and can handle even the brownest of  thumbs (within reason). For lighting: Anthuriums want bright, indirect light, but can do well in partial to full shade. More indirect light = more vibrant and frequent blooms. Direct sun is too harsh and will burn leaves. For watering: Water regularly, generally whenever soil is dry to the touch (not dry to the point where soil is shrinking/cracking). Anthuriums are susceptible to root rot, so be sure to not over water. For fertilizing: Anthuriums don't require a whole lot of it. But... If you want the most out of your plant, fertilize every four months with a one-quarter strength fertilizer. 

Simple Care Breakdown:

Lighting: Partial to full shade; no direct sunlight. 

Watering: Water regularly; do not overwater. Prefers consistently moist (not drenched) soil, do not let dry out completely between waterings. 

Fertilizer: Every four months, if feeling ambitious. 

 

 

Photos and story by Kenna Reed

Botanical Basics: Succulents

One of our favorites here at Paiko, succulents are easy to care for and come in a variety of unusual shapes. Succulent plants are drought tolerant, storing water in their leaves, stems, or roots. Because of this unique water-storage system, they require less maintenance than your typical houseplant. You may already be familiar with succulents such as cacti, aloe, and jade plants, but there are a range of succulents that do well in containers, such as the rosette shaped sempervivum or the aptly named "string of pearls". These days succulents are increasingly popular, and can be found incorporated into wreaths, container gardens, and even bridal bouquets. Paiko offers a variety of succulents sourced from a local Oahu grower, so we took a trip out to the Windward side to check out their awesome plants. Afterwards, we discuss a few of the basics to get you started on own succulent garden.

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Succulent FAQ:

What kind of soil should I plant my succulent in?

You can grow your succulents in a low nitrogen compost or peat based soil with pumice or some small stones added to the base of the container for extra drainage. Beginners can buy ready-made cactus mix at most gardening stores.

How much light does my succulent need?

Succulents love light, so place yours in an area that receives bright sunlight. & You can tell your plants aren't receiving enough light if they appear compact, with little distance between the leaves. Leaves will be small, not big and floppy.

When do I water my succulent?

Water your succulent 1-2 times a week, allowing the plant to completely dry out before re-watering. Even if the succulent looks healthy the roots could still be moist and over-watering will cause root rot. Never let your succulents to sit in water. If you've been watering too much the leaves may turn yellow and fall off.

My plant fell out of the pot. Should I take this personally?

Probably, but don't panic, you can still salvage it. If your plant falls out of the pot leave it out to dry in a well ventilated area for a few weeks and then re-pot into fresh potting mix.

Can I propagate my succulent?

You sure can! Many succulents will grow from their leaves. Just twist a leaf off gently and let it callous over for about 5 days. Then place it upright into some potting mix, and water about once a week. A new plant should form from the leaf in a few weeks. Plants like aloe and agave produce little plants around their base known as pups. The pups can be gently removed and replanted.

My succulent has some strange spots...

If you notice spots, blemishes or discoloration, move the plant to increase light and air movement. If this doesn't work, try re-potting it with fresh potting mix.

The leaves are brown and dry under the main head of my rosette shaped plant, is that normal?

It's a normal part of the plant's growing cycle. If you want to you can pull them off, but dry leaves will offer greater protection from sunburn.

To create your own succulent garden & get even more tips, sign up for one of our Succulent Garden Workshops!

More Botanical Basics: Orchids. More Succulents: Succulent Bouquet, Paiko Workshop: Succulent Garden

Photos and story by: Hannah Grgich