Sunday, June 5, 2011

Things to Do: Kawamoto Orchid Nursery

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against flowers but I'm not a horticulturist so this isn't my thing.  However, someone else really liked this place and thought it was a good idea to post it on the blog.  If you are visiting the islands and want a gift for friends or family (or for yourself), an orchid is a good idea.  Orchids are relatively hardy, easy to maintain, and bloom for months.  After searching for a good nursery that delivers overseas and to the States we finally found Kawamoto Orchids.  

Kawamoto Orchids is located at the very end of Palolo Valley, at 2630 Waiomao Road, and occupies 3.5 acres of lush real estate.  Please note that this place is all the way in the back of the valley.  The street narrows to a single-lane road that twists and turns around the side of a hill.  Using a GPS is highly recommended.  Nursery hours are 8:00 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Saturday and they are closed on Sundays.  You can contact them by phone at 808-732-5808, fax at 808-732-5572, or email them at  

When you first get here, it doesn't look like much. In fact, it looks like an ordinary house.  And that's because it is.  Their modest house in the front hides the multitude of orchids in the back.  It's been in the family for 3 generations.  Started in 1947 by Patrick Kawamoto, the son of an immigrant family, he turned his childhood interest into a business.  A welder by day, he tended and breed orchids in his spare time.   His collection and expertise grew from a hobby that occupied his spare time to becoming his full time job.    

Unlike other nurseries, Kawamoto Orchids is open to the public.  Someone else liked it because she could look around and see the different orchids in different stages of blooming.  Depending on what you want (shipping off the island or pot it for a local gift), they might recommend orchids with buds that are about to bloom.  However, they cannot guarantee the condition of the flower or bud after it leaves the nursery.  Just keep that in mind when you order orchids.  

Walking in the showroom you can see the awards they won for their prized orchids.  They frequently attend orchid shows throughout the nation.  Check their schedule to see if they're coming to a show near you.  

Look around in the showroom to see what earned them their awards.  The showroom is only a small part of the nursery.  Walking past the showroom, you can look out to row upon row of thousands of orchids in the other greenhouses.  There's even a section in back for E-Bay personnel only.  There's another section that has rows and rows of young orchid plants.  

They carry four basic types of orchids: cattleyas, cymbidiums, vandas, and oncidium intergenerics.  They can recommend which orchids are best for the conditions at your house.  Some orchids prefer lots of sun (vandas), while most orchids prefer indirect sunlight.  All orchids prefer humidity and they recommend misting with a spray bottle, humidity tray, or a gravel bed.  The key is humidity and temperature.  Whether you're an avid horticulturist, a part time botanist, or a reluctant bystander this place is worth a visit.  

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