Basic Orchid Care – How to Take Care of Orchids in Hawaii

Many people get intimidated with orchids, but they grow so well in Hawaii, just water, and if you feel generous, you can feed it too. For the longest time I did not ever feed my orchids and they just kept blooming and blooming.

Several years ago when I purchased my house in Kihei, it came with a large pot with what seemed like a large overgrown, root bound orchid. It seemed there were several plants in the pot and one was always in bloom, giving me constant flowers. Finally, after a few years, my friend talked me into re-potting it. 

To re-pot the plants we split them up and put them in several separate pots. Then, I decided it was time to learn how to take care of my plant, it had been so good to me, I thought I should repay the favor. That is when I joined the MOS. I learned that not all orchids are created equal.

Overtime, I would buy orchids and many did not do so well. I learned that Maui, and Hawaii in general, has quite a plethora of microclimates. When chatting with one friend of mine who lives upcountry in Maui Uplands, in the area of Makawao, she said just on her 1/2 acre lot she thinks she has several microclimates. Sometimes it will rain in the backyard but not the front, and with trade winds, sun, shade and elevation changes, she has a lot of options when trying to place the plants in the most favorable locations.

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This beautiful Honohono orchid was a show stunner at the MOS orchid show; hanging from a basket it draped a waterfall of flowers over 3 feet long

Yes, here in Hawaii you get not just heat and cold, but also wind, sun, rain, humidity, salt, and elevation changes – many within very close proximity to each other. So one variety of orchid will do better for you than others, it just depends on the area you are in. Then you can focus on those.

I now have quite a variety of different orchids and all of them are doing much better. I decided to start feeding the orchids on occasion and that in itself was a big help. The growers will tell you to feed weekly or monthly, but I am lucky if I remember to feed them half that much and they still flower in abundance.

One of the biggest things I have learned is to be sure to water at least once a week, and more than just spraying moisture in the air. They actually want some water – just do not let the roots sit in water, they tend to rot, and that is something they definitely do not like.

Suggestions & Guidelines for Orchid Care in Hawaii

Let’s review the basic guidelines for taking care of an orchid in Hawaii:

  • Find the right variety of orchid for the microclimate (area) you are in
  • Place orchid(s) in the most favorable location on your property
  • Be sure to water 1-2 times a week
  • Feed orchid(s) once a week or once a month (optional)
  • As your orchid(s) grows, be sure to re-pot

With those basics, you too can grow some orchids here in Maui.

Annual Maui Orchid Shows Hosted by Maui Orchid Society

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Spring has sprung and the Maui Orchid Society (MOS) annual shows are upon us again. If you have not been to an orchid show they are well worth the trip.

The MOS usually has 4 shows a year:

  • Three are held at the Maui Mall in Kahului around Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day – they normally run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
  • The 4th show is held at the annual Maui County Fair at the end of September, which runs from Thursday through Sunday

So, even though you may have missed this recent Easter show, be sure to pencil in the upcoming Mother’s Day show or the Maui County Fair show and sale. Honohono, Vanda, Cattleya, Miltonia, Phalaenopsis, Cymbidium, and Dendrobium were just some of the extensive variety at the show and sale.

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If you do not live on Maui you can still buy an orchid and enjoy the flowers while you are here. They usually will last longer than cut flowers and you can pass the plant on to a neighbor when you have to leave paradise.

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4 Responses to “Basic Orchid Care – How to Take Care of Orchids in Hawaii”

  1. Victorya L Lui
    June 17, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    I have an orchid I don’t know the type that’s not doing well & several other ones that have died from some black mold, I usually have them in my room indoors, in the beginning, the Phaleanapsis were doing very well, no mold, nothing. Can you help me? I live in Ewa Beach on Oahu.

  2. NATTIE NICOLAS
    August 9, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    DO YOU HAVE HONOHONO ORCHARD BROCHURE THAT CAN BE SENT TO ME. I MAY WANT TO HAVE INFOR OF THE CARING OF THESE FLOWERS. ALSO I PLAN TO PURCHASE ORCHARDS. THANK YOU.YOU CAN E-MAIL ME AND I CAN PRINT OUT THE INFOR. THANK YOU.

  3. NATTIE NICOLAS
    August 9, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE BROCHURES PERTAINING TO SALE OF ORCHARDS AND INFO OF CARING FOR THE HONOHONO ORCHARDS OF DIFFERENT VARITEIES. THANK YOU

    • Heidi Farmer
      August 12, 2014 at 6:59 am #

      Aloha Nattie
      If you want to talk to the local growesr in Maui you can go to the Maui Orchid Society monthly meetings which are held every 3rd Tuesday of the month. Also in October is the Maui County Fair where you can meet with some of the local growers. Depending on where you live orchid care will vary.
      Heidi

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