How To Care For Your Lei

Nothing says Aloha like giving or receiving a beautiful lei whether you are a visitor to the islands or kamaaina. It’s a celebratory tradition in Hawaii symbolizing the gifting of some of your ‘mana’ (spirit) to another. The lei can be a simple string of single flowers or can be intricate and fragrant.

Technically, the word ‘lei’ refers to any decorative items strung together into a necklace. However, from the 19th century to the present day, floral lei are more commonly seen. Hawaiian tropical flowers can be especially beautiful, created in an intoxicating array of colors. A similar tradition of floral garlands exists throughout the Indian subcontinent, particularly at weddings, but Hawaiian lei are probably the most iconic.

Made from a wide variety of fragrant and non-fragrant flowers like plumerias, carnations, orchids, and pikake, and sometimes incorporating non-flowering plants, bark and even feathers, these lovely creations are often assumed to be short-lived and disposable. However, if cared for properly, a freshly created lei can last for several days.

If you are ordering them in advance for a luau, graduation, wedding, birthday, or other celebration, it’s important to follow the following tips for keeping them fresh and pristine.

Lei Care

When you receive your lei, spray them lightly all over with a plant mister (unless they are predominantly made from pikake — see below). They should not be dripping wet when this process is complete.

If the cut stems are accessible, you can keep them fresh by dipping the stems in water containing a couple of drops of bleach to prevent bacterial damage. If the design of your lei does not easily permit this, then store them carefully as below.

Carefully place the lei on a layer of paper towels and slide them into a large, aerated bag, which should be left open at one side.

Pikake blossoms need to be kept cool but dry to preserve their fragrance. Create an envelope with wax paper and insert the lei with a small quantity of baking soda. The soda will absorb any excess condensation which forms. Almost completely seal the envelope, leaving just a small opening and place in an airtight container in the coldest part of your fridge.

Store moistened blossoms in a cool but not cold location. A large vegetable bin in a refrigerator with the temperature dialed to its minimal setting would work well. 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

If you have lei of different varieties requiring different temperatures, you may have to keep them separately for best effect.

Wherever you store them, make sure they are positioned away from direct sunlight or breezes. Lei will begin to turn brown in the wrong environment.

One lei that should never be refrigerated is the puakenikeni to be kept at room temperature or risk browning the flower petals. Sandwich between two damp paper towels and lay flat in a plastic bag or container.

If you look after them well, even three or four days after you receive your lei, they can look as fresh as the day they were created.


Top 10 Fragrant Flowers

Everyone loves flowers because of their beautiful colors and pleasant smells, and they are one of the most common gifts around the world as well. A mixed flower bouquet can leave a lasting impression and shows love and well wishes. Whether you give someone a single rose or a fragrant flower bouquet, the receiver will love it. But choosing what type of flowers you should give someone is nothing less than a challenge. That’s why we put together this article on the best flowers that smell good and look beautiful as well.

So, let’s get into it.

10. Jasmine

Hawaiian Name: Pikake

Jasmine is considered one of the most pleasant smelling and most beautiful flowers around the globe. It’s native to all the tropical regions of the world. Many countries also use this flower to make cosmetics and perfumes because of its exceptional fragrance. Regardless of the event type, you can choose a bouquet of this flower as a gift.

9. Gardenia

Hawaiian Name: Kiele

Gardenia is one of the best tropical flowers that are native to tropical regions of Africa, Australia, and South Asia. It’s a waxy-smelling flower and a member of the coffee family. This flower is also used as an herb and to make perfume in many countries. It’s best to use this flower as a wedding gift because of its fragrance, beauty, and color. It offers a calming and relaxing feeling to the recipient.

8. Tuberose

Hawaiian Name: Kupaloke

Tuberose is one of the most Hawaiian flowers that comes with a seductive fragrance that makes you feel you’re on vacation. It also has a very elegant look, and you can choose a bouquet of Tuberose to give someone at a wedding or even at a house opening ceremony.

7. Stargazer Lily

As the name suggests, these flowers appear like they are gazing at the stars at night. They offer a slightly spicy and sensual fragrance as all the lilies are aromatic. But the fact of the matter is that this specific species is the most fragrant one, which is addictive enough for anyone to fall in love with.

6. Peony

Hawaiian Name: Paeonia “Pink Hawaiian Coral”

This beautiful flower comes in all sorts of colors and shapes and has over 33 different species. But the most common and probably the most attractive one is Pink Hawaiian Coral. It’s native to Western North America, Europe, and Asia. It comes with a beautifully sweet and particularly appealing smell, and you can choose to give it to someone on any joyful event.

5. Hyacinth

Choosing this flower is the best option if you only want to add more beauty and character as they come in many different colors such as yellow, pink, orange, white, red, violet, and blue. They have a light floral scent, but they look extravagant and make a perfect gift. Hyacinth is native to the tropical regions of Africa and the Mediterranean.

4. White Ginger

Hawaiian Name: Awapuhi Ke’okoe’o

White Ginger, which is also known as butterfly ginger, offers a honeysuckle-like fragrance. Naturally, it’s native to SouthEast Asia, and it takes a little more time to blossom as compared to other flowers. Its unique shape and fragrance make it one of the best options for leis. That’s why you can find leis of White Ginger in Hawaii as well.

3. Puakenikeni

The literal word meaning of Puakenikeni is “ten-cent flower.” It’s native to pacific islands, especially Hawaii. It has a strong fragrance reminiscent of gardenia and comes in a range of different colors, from rich gold to whitish-yellow. You can easily find Puakenikeni leis that make the best gift.

2. Plumeria

Hawaiian Name: Melia

These fragrant flowers, also known as Frangipani, are found in tropical or subtropical zones. They come with a unique feature that makes them the perfect gift for any nighttime ceremony. That’s because they offer a light fragrance in the daytime that dramatically intensifies at night.

1. Rose

Hawaiian Name: Lokelani

Roses are undoubtedly the most popular and loved fragrant flowers in the whole world. To date, there are more than 100 different species of this mesmerizing flower, and the most common one is the red rose. Naturally, it’s found in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. You can literally find it in any garden around the world. It’s best to give roses to your partner as you would already know that the red rose is by far the most gifted flower on valentine’s day.

Final Word

There you have it. These are the top 10 fragrant flowers, and we hope that this list will help you to choose the best option that the recipient will both admire and love.

How to Keep Your Flowers Fresher Longer

No matter the occasion, a well-appointed floral bouquet instantly brightens and enlivens a space. Unfortunately, these gorgeous tulips, roses, daisies, carnations, and all other types of blooms can fade far too quickly. Thankfully, over the years, florists have discovered a few flower care tips that can help you preserve that precious, fleeting beauty and help your bouquet last longer.

Tending to your flowers as soon as you get them home is vital to extending their life for as long as possible. Follow these proven flower guidelines carefully to ensure that your flowers are able to take in water properly and protect them from bacteria that form in the water. For optimal results, plan to incorporate daily maintenance as well.

Flower Care Tips

How to trim your stems

First, you’ll want to cut the stems by ½” to 1” from the bottom with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors. Avoid using a dull instrument that might crush or damage the flower’s ability to take up water. Cut the stems at an angle so that they don’t remain flat along the bottom of the vase so your flowers will have the best chance at survival. Ideally, this will not be a one-and-done deal. You should trim a bit more from the stems every few days.

Prune any leaves that will rest below the water line to avoid spreading bacteria. For example, Roses have guard petals that are the two or three outermost petals of the flower. They won’t open up fully until those petals are removed. Proper pruning will help your flowers look better and last longer. To maintain your bouquet for maximum health, check for dead or loose leaves each day to avoid bacterial rot.

Prep the water in the vase

The water in your flower vase serves two primary purposes: to nourish your flowers and prevent the spread of bacteria. There are several common ways to make this happen.

Other tips and Tricks

Here are some other simple ways that you can keep your flowers fresh and healthy:

Vodka: While adding a few drops of vodka to your vase may sound odd, the science behind it is sound. Alcohol helps to slow down the wilting process by inhibiting the production of ethylene. Ethylene is the gas that causes fruits, vegetables, and plants to ripen and mature. It makes sense, then, that keeping that at bay slows down the aging process for your flowers.

Soda: Carbohydrates, especially simple sugars, promote cell metabolism and feed your flowers. Adding ¼ cup of soda, like Sprite, can help your flowers stay perky and vibrant. Though adding darker beverages like Coke or Pepsi will also add sugar to the water, those aren’t recommended since they’ll color your water and turn it cloudy.

Aspirin: Dissolving a single crushed aspirin from your medicine cabinet in your vase water can do wonders for your flowers. Adding it to the water affects the acidity, lowering the pH, which facilitates water intake. Since water can travel through the stem faster, aspirin can help your flowers stay fresher, longer.

Pennies: Like adding crushed aspirin, adding coins, preferably pennies, to your water can affect the acidity of your water. Those acidic properties help to keep bacteria from growing in your water and will help your tulips flourish. Experts suggest adding one penny to the bottom of your vase in tandem with aspirin as described above for the optimal pH and maximum water intake.

ACV, Sugar, and Bleach: This is an alternative recipe for flower food that consists of 2 tablespoons of sugar, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of bleach added to 1 quart of water. Although this method isn’t as tried and tested as the sugar, bleach, and lemon or lime juice recipe, there are still plenty of people who would agree that it accomplishes the same things as flower food.

Bleach: Pouring just ¼ of a teaspoon into 1 quart of water in your vase will kill bacteria that may be found on your flower stems, your vase, or your water, helping to preserve them. Be careful, though. Too much bleach will harm your flowers and ultimately kill them. Using a small amount of bleach in conjunction with soda or vinegar will also increase water intake.

Refrigeration: Each night, remember to place your flowers in the refrigerator, just like florists do, to keep your flowers fresher for longer. If that’s not an option, try to keep your flowers away from drafts or extreme heat to allow them to thrive.

Flower Food

Flowers purchased from the grocery store or a florist usually come with a packet of flower food that should be dissolved into the water that you add to the vase. This optimal blend of ingredients will be the best way to protect flowers from bacteria and feed them to keep them vibrant and healthy.

Each packet generally contains a combination of these three ingredients: carbohydrates (in the form of sugars to promote growth), biocides (cleansing agents to ward off bacteria), and acidifiers (to adjust the pH and encourage water uptake). Follow the instructions on the label to properly dissolve and dilute the solution in the appropriate concentration. Ideally, you may want to grab a few extra packets when you can since you’ll need to replenish these ingredients whenever you change the water, which should be about once every two to three days, or when it becomes cloudy.

In a pinch, several everyday household items will serve as excellent substitutes for traditional flower food. Simply add one teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of bleach, and two teaspoons of lemon or lime juice to 1 quart of water. Replenish this mixture every time that you change the water.


These tips will help you to maximize your enjoyment of any floral bouquet. A little initial effort and routine follow-up care, even using just a few things that most people have lying around the house, will give you several extra days of blossoming beauty.