Aloha Hawa'ii

maleko(USDA 9)July 20, 2003

I used to live and garden in Kaneohe on Oahu. Had to leave because of the bad enonomy and settled in Sacramento CA. I still live in Hawaii in my heart and keep in touch with many friends in the islands and go back as often as possible. I have done my best to recreate my Hawaiian garden here in N.CA with hibiscus, taros, gardenias, shell and butterfly gingers, princess flowers, bird of paradise, morning glories and moonflowers, lantana, bouganvillia, passionflower, ferns, pentas, oleander, palms, philodendrons, ti plants, cannas, bananas, brugmansias and bedding plants, like begonias, vincas, impatiens, coleas, and pelorgoniums as well as tropical water lilies. The ony things I am missing are the ixoras, snow bushes, plumerias, Tahitian gingers and all the different heliconias, ( I had 6 species and varieties). We also have typical mainland stuff like cameleas, azaleas, spring flowering trees and bulbs and roses. It gets very hot here(it's about 100 right now) but I and my plants have adapted pretty well.

The other thing I really miss is the animals, they really brought the garden to life. Every step on my lawn would send a dozen little skinks scuttling and there were lizards on every fence during the day and every wall at night. The yard was full of finches, doves, cardinals, myna birds and white eyes. I have humming birds here but I miss all of the abundant life of Hawa'ii.

I will stop in now and then to see what is going on. I can't comment on gardening in Hawa'ii today but love to read other people's posts.


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Manoa(z10 CA)

Aloha e Maleko,

I'm on the peninsula. I can't believe you have all that growing! All my plumeria, ti, gardenia and hibiscus have died. Tuberose and Pikake won't bloom.

How do you grow your's? Where did you get Tiare?

I miss the bolo and mynah birds. At least we get a lot of local halaus and festivals nearby! Aloha Festival Aug 2-3 in the Presidio.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 4:19PM
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maleko(USDA 9)

I think siting the plants is important. Most of what I have is protected inside a coutyard. We get some wind from the open end to the west, but there is a line of trees that helps to cut that. Most of the plants are pretty sheltered. Working inside a lage courtyard, I have placed the sunlovers on the south and west facing walls or in the center and more sun sensative plants and shade lovers on the north and east walls or under larger plants in the center. I use Shults Expert Citrus and Tropical fertilizer every three weeks and flood the pots and planter every day from April to Novenber to keep the rootballs moist.(some of the planters have tree roots from the street trees in them that compete for water, so I have found that I have to flood them to compensate for the loss to the trees. The main problem here is low humitity, so flowers can fry because the plant can't raise water from it's roots fast enout the replace what it is loosing to the air, but placing the ones that are prone to that on the East side of the courtyard helps. There is a member of MSN's Sub-Tropical gardener forum that lives in Sacramento and she has plumerias, YlangYlang, and other tropicals I have never even tried.
I don't know how she does it.
I can only grow what will withstand out cool, wet winters because I don't have room for a greenhouse and my apartment windows all face North, so they are not much good for plants in the winter other than green houseplants. But by careful selection and placement I have adapted my love of tropicals and my experiences gardening in Hawaii to central CA.
I miss the calling of the zebra doves the most.
Aloha no

    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 5:22PM
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aamylynne(9 HI)

I moved to Kauai about 1 1/2 years ago from Wisconsin. I recognize the mynahs, egrets, and doves, but there are some small dark birds with reddish brown wings. They are almost tiny and very velvety and beautiful. No one I've asked knows what they are. Does anyone here know?


    Bookmark   August 8, 2003 at 5:04PM
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honeybee7(z7 md)

The small dark birds with reddish brown wings
could be the Elepaio.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2003 at 1:56PM
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native(z11 Hawaii)

Aloha aamylynne! From your brief description, the bird sounds like a chestnut mannikin (Lonchura malacca). A really good book to check out would be "The birds of Kaua'i" by Jim Denny. The pix are excellent and info pertains to your island.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 4:36PM
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native(z11 Hawaii)

Kala mai, maleko! I'm sorry, this is your string. I live in Kane'ohe and have to let you know that everything is still as you described. Na manu, na mo'o, na mea kanu (the birds, the lizards, the plants) are all still here. Now about tropicals growing in Cali. When I was in So. Cal a few years ago, someone showed me a coconut tree. I never knew they could grow there. It was in this mobile planter (a wooden planter with wheels on it) that this elderly lady would pull out of the garage every morning and pull in every night during the winter months. The trunk was about 5 feet tall and its fronds always hit the garage door on the way in or out. Such was her tropical effort...

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 4:54PM
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hope037(z9 CA)

Hi, I was interested to read your original post that said you were able to grow taro. Which variety did you grow? How did you grow it? Were you able to harvest the corms? I would like to grow my own wetland taro for my own personal use and am looking for any information that can help! Mahalo!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2004 at 12:32PM
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ALOHA!! I'm living in Kailua right now, but, sadly, will be moving to the Bay Area of Cali soon. I still get to experience the "moving" gardens here - something my partner, Kenyata, couldn't get used to at first...hehehe.
I am also interested in how you grow taro in Sacramento. Wet or dry? Do you ever make poi? or just grow for show?

Also, You could surely grow some plumeria over there... that would be nice. It smells so good in my backyard right now!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2004 at 5:43PM
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maleko(USDA 9)

I am not sure what the variety the green is, I bought it in San Francisco, but it seems all kinds grow well here if they are kept very moist. I have both the green and black taros. I have most of my taro in a planter bed that has slow drainage,( I guess you could call it a taro patch if it didn't also have cannas in it as well) but I have been growing some on a 5 gallon plastic pot sitting in a large plastic tray of water for years. I grow them as ornamentals. They go dormant durring the winter but otherwise thrive here on the sun and heat.
Plumeria will not grow in the ground in Norhtern CA, although a lot of people grow it in pots and move it to shelter during the winter. But we have lots of other frangrant tropicals ( oleanders, gingers, gardenias, jasmines, moonflowers, passionflowers, brugmansias, pittisporums) and temperate plants ( spring bulbs like paper whites, hyacynths and freesias, lillies, roses and honeysuckles)to compensate.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 4:16PM
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mokihana(Damascus, OR 8A)

Aloha Kâkou~
I just joined this website yesterday... I am another homesick kama`aina, now living in Oregon. I grew up in Mânoa Valley, and miss so much all the tropical plants.

When we were kids we used to break off the head of shower ginger and whack each other (or ourselves) with it... kolohe kids, that's for sure.

I have a kahili ginger that I'm coaxing to grow; the leaves are nice and green; we'll see about the flowers. I have it in a pot, and bring it indoors for the winter. When I bought it, it was flowering; I took one whiff of it and burst into tears, missing the `âina so bad.

I'm really enjoying reading all the posts...

A hui hou,


    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 11:51PM
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Wow, just discovered this forum today. As another Hawaii transplantee to the Bay Area, I'm getting real homesick just reading...

BTW Manoa, I've got pikake blooming in my San Jose condo. It's in a south facing window, and I think the trick is to feed it often (twice a week with liquid fertilizer). It's been blooming all summer and hopefully will continue for a wee bit longer (despite the cold snap this past weekend).

And here's a question that hopefully someone can answer. I've got a yellow ginger (an impulse buy at one of those kiosks at the Honolulu airport) that's been growing in a pot for several years. It's got plenty of green growth, but I have yet to see one flower. Any recommendations? I had visions of the wild ginger patches all along the road to Tantalus but sadly no flowers for me (yet).

    Bookmark   September 21, 2004 at 5:45PM
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raygrogan(Iowa and Hawaii)

Aloha Maleko,

Here is a taro page I just made. I've been growing it in Iowa, mostly for the luau leaf but also for delicious corms (smallish, though).


Here is a link that might be useful: Growing taro on mainland

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 5:08PM
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Great website! I grow taro here in Texas, I will be harvesting when the cold weather comes.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 9:15PM
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I have a huge, over 30 years old Hawaiian kukui-nut tree (Aleurites moluccana) growing on the side of my house. Right now I also have a healthy young kukui-nut tree in a 5 gallon container. This tree saw the first light of day under its sprawling mother-tree about 3 years ago. The young tree is about 8 feet tall and growing vigorously. In a few years it will be producing nuts that can be used for making shiny ebony-colored kukui-nut leis; they can also be crushed and the oil can be extracted from them; and most importantly this state-tree of Hawaii can be a conversation piece for anyone who wants to decorate his tropical-garden landscape. If any one wants to trade this tree for a Michelia alba that is blooming, please contact me at I live in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 9:17PM
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Aloha! I have not been on this page for a long time,I live in Ceres ca. central valley about two hours from Sac. Here I grow kalo, shell,kahili,white,yellow ginger.My dwarf red just came back it skiped a year I thought it was a goner I always had rotten luck wit red gingers. I get parrots beak heliconia,pikake, lilikoi (new) to my garden,tuberose,carnations ape,ti leaf,red chocolate brown,green and another giant elephant ear,plenty ferns banana trees, pinapple guava (feijoa) does well here.a'ali'i tree fern,monstera,plumeria three years neva wen bloom:( I jus got one mac tree and kukui at the san mateo aloha fest,if you steh in the bay and go to aloha fest you probably seen us at them we get booth yah.So if I need to make one haku or lei no need buy I just go outside to my garden.I know of one mac tree in modesto da buggah is in da front yard!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:58AM
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Mostly from my yard,I have a couple places I go to pick,boulganvilla and ohai ali'i the dwarf royal poinciana(ohai ali'i) grows wild along the river.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 1:10AM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

I grew up in Sacramento; we used to say that if it wasn't at least 100 degrees, it was too cold to go swimming. I like Hawaii a LOT better!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 12:24AM
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