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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 6, 2002

Support pakalana vine, prune when flowers slow down

By Heidi Bornhost
Advertiser Garden Columnist

Q. I have a 2-year-old pakalana patch with a lot of vines in Kekaha. (I got it from my auntie.) It is growing wild, and it is still giving a lot of flowers. When should I prune back the vines, and how much should I prune? Or should I prune them? Some of the vines are growing wild, but I want to contain them in an 8-by-10-foot area.

On the tip of the stephanotis vines there are small, orange egg-like bubbles. Are these insect-like eggs harmful to the vines? I normally spray them with dishwashing liquid/water mixture, and they become black in a few days and them goes away for a while. Should I also prune the stephanotis? Thank you for your help.

A. The more leaves you have on your plants, the more flowers you potentially will get. However, I am learning more about how to grow pakalana myself as I finally live in a sunny enough place to grow it well, and it is one of my all-time favorites!

Pakalana does have a blooming season: April to September, in most years. Some growers will prune the vines back when the flowers slow down, and this can sometimes induce more buds and flowers to form.

Pakalana likes a sturdy support — chain-link fences are ideal, and they sure look better adorned with blooming pakalana! Your trellis sounds ideal. Training the vines onto the trellis will look good and be good for the plants.

Stephanotis also is generally a summer bloomer. If we could figure out how to make these reliably bloom in winter months, we'd have a great Mainland wedding market for our growers.

The little orange bubbles on leaf tips do sound like aphids. Brush them off, crush them and apply liquid soap, as you have been doing. (I like Dr. Brauners peppermint soap, found at health food stores, (3 tablespoons per gallon).

Growing native plants

In late 2001, the Friends of Honolulu Botanical Gardens was awarded a federal grant to research and promote the use of native Hawaiian trees in urban forests. An urban forest is defined as a well-planned and wisely maintained group of trees in an urban setting.

Native Hawaiian plants are underutilized in the urban forest for a number of reasons. Many people are unsure of which plants are true natives and will unknowingly plant a non-native instead. True natives arrived on the Hawaiian Islands by natural means, such as wind, ocean currents or birds. Natives are either indigenous (occurring naturally in Hawai'i and elsewhere) or endemic (found only in Hawai'i).

Even experts often mistake many introduced plants as native, including kukui, ti, kamani, milo, taro and hau. These plants often are referred to as "Hawaiian heritage plants," because Polynesian settlers who arrived on great sailing canoes introduced them to Hawai'i.

Inventory also is a problem.

Few nurseries produce natives. As a result, non-natives often are substituted in landscape plans. In addition to lack of inventory, little is known about the performance of natives in tough urban landscapes such as along streets, in parks, in resorts and hotels, and in private and public gardens.

To address some of these obstacles, stalwart volunteers installed an "urban forest test garden" in 2002 at the Kahua Lehua section of Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. One hundred trees (10 each of 'a'ali'i, alahe'e, ho'awa, koki'o ke'o ke'o, manele, lonomea, lo'ulu, naio, 'ohe, and 'ohi'a lehua) were planted in the test garden. These trees are being monitored for growth and survival rates, irrigation and fertilization requirements, and pest problems.

Scant information exists on horticultural requirements and pest problems of native Hawaiian plants. The information developed in this project should be helpful in making appropriate choices for specific landscape projects, and providing long -term care for plantings utilizing native trees.

An educational publication detailing landscape features of 10 selected native species and a self-guided brochure of the native plants in the Kahua Lehua section of Ho'omaluhia are in progress. The more we learn about and grow native plants, the better we will be able to perpetuate them in gardens, in the forests, and for future generations.

In bloom

Rainbow showers continue to put on a great display. They are the official street tree of Honolulu. Native Hawaiian hibiscus, especially that lovely strain from Kaua'i, Hibiscus waimeae, or Koki'o ke'o ke'o, continue to pump out fragrant blossoms that bloom for two days.

Garden news

Be on the lookout for Hawai'i's Wood Show 2002, the 10th anniversary event, Sept. 14-22 at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki. Admission is free, and the show is open to all. Find more information at the Hawai'i Forest Industry Association Web site, www.hawaii-forest.org. Honolulu-based woodworker Mako Nitz is in charge.

Mark your calendars for these events:

• Waimea Arboretum holds its benefit plant sale 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 14. Free admission. 638-8655.

• The Foster Garden Plant Fair, featuring specialty ti and a farmers market, is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 28. Information: 537-1708 or 522-7060.

• On Sept. 30, the Creating Green Environments conference will look at how ordinances provide a framework for green infrastructure. Registration is $75. Contact eileen@outdoorcircle.org or call 593-0300 for more.

Correction: The registration fee for the Creating Green Environments conference is $75. Information was incorrect in a previous version of this story.