7 Ways to Get Lei’d: Locally Sourced Flowers and Lei in Honolulu

These leis are perfect for any special occasion.
Photo: David Croxford 


May Day is Lei Day in Hawai‘i, but it’s also the start of wedding season. That means flowers—and a lot of them. But, did you know that the buds in your bouquet (or haku) probably came from half a world away? In fact, Watanabe Floral finds its pieces from every continent except Antarctica. Those are some far-reaching roots, but, peek into the right pots at your neighborhood florist, and you’ll find gorgeous, locally grown posy options, perfect for perking up your next lei, vase or occasion.


1. Watanabe Floral finds these heart-shaped anthuriums, which are staples in everything from sympathy pieces to grand opening arrangements to punchy home décor, in Hilo. Watanabe Floral, 1618 N. Nimitz Highway, 832-9360.


2. Nowadays, the vast majority of go-to orchids come from all over the world, especially Holland and Thailand, but you can still find local options, like these Big Island dendrobiums. Watanabe Floral. 


3. Delicious-smelling strands like this bright puakenikeni lei are sourced from small artisans in Hawai‘i Kai, Kāne‘ohe and Kalihi. Watanabe Floral.


4. Take a tip from Paiko co-founder Tamara Rigney, who likes to accent bold choices, such as this spiky, vibrant protea from Ka‘ū, with subdued accent pieces, like a mossy lycopodium. Paiko, 675 Auahi St., 988-2165.


5. Giving lei is a beloved cultural tradition in the Islands, and Beretania Florist’s lei selection hits all the classic, locally grown favorites, from this intricate cigar flower lei that hails from Wailua, 6. to this Big Island kukui, 7. to this intoxicatingly scented Nu‘uanu-grown Micronesian ginger. Beretania Florist, 1293 S. Beretania St., 591-2288.