Care of Flowers and Lei
Whether gathering wild-growing flowers and greens from the forest, or picking cultivated flowers, harvesting most of them is best done in the early morning, even before sunrise, to keep blooms firm and crisp.
Today, as in ancient times, a ti leaf package (pu`olo la`i) is the best way to store and keep lei. A banana stalk carrier (ha mai`a) is perfect for storing open-ended lei. Most lei do well in dry plastic bags kept in the refrigerator. The exception is puakenikeni which turns an ugly brown if refrigerated; keep it instead between damp paper towels in a flat container set in a cool, dark place. To keep the color of vanda orchid vibrant, don’t moisten it before refrigerating. Carnation, however, lasts longer if is dunked in lukewarm water, shaken, then bagged in plastic before refrigerating.
Permanent lei are best stored in air-tight containers and wrapped in a soft, protective material. Seed and nut lei that have not had all their nut meat removed should be kept separate and restrung and rebuffed until the meat has decayed or been removed by insects. In general, treat permanent lei as you would fine jewelry.
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