A Visit to the Hawaiian Islands – Logee’s Ongoing Search for Rare and Unusual Plants

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

At Logee’s, we are constantly on the hunt for rare and unusual plants. We often visit places with rare plants that can’t be found anywhere else. Talking and networking with the local nursery growers gives us a unique insight on growing these rare beauties.

Recently, we traveled the islands of Hawaii and found plants that we will trial in our greenhouses and then release to our customers if the plants are suitable. There are several requirements for plants to be considered for the Logee’s collection. First and foremost, we look for something unusual, like an impressive bloom. This tree flower, called Panama Flame (Brownea macrophylla), although big and beautiful does not meet our second requirement, namely that it grows well in a container.

Byron with an impressive orange Panama Flame bloom

Logee’s co-owner, Byron Martin, with an impressive Panama Flame bloom

A third trait we look for is a wide appeal to gardeners of all skill levels. We stopped at a road side stand and met a hobbyist grower, Bob, who gave us a Beehive Ginger and bouquet of flowers. We have grown Beehive Ginger before but his tips about how to use Beehive Ginger were enlightening. If you squeeze the beehive cone, scented ginger water comes out and can be splashed on as a refreshing morning scent.

Caption? Laurel & Bob

Logee’s co-owner, Laurelynn Martin, with Bob, a hobbyist grower

One of our most exciting finds was meeting with Maui Native Nursery owner, Jonathan. Jonathan’s nursery seeks out rare and endangered species so he can help the islands reclaim their native vegetation.

Byron with Jonathan, owner of Maui Native Nursery

Byron with Jonathan, owner of Maui Native Nursery

We had heard about this rare plant that is native to the Island of Kauai and only grows on rocky cliffs. Jonathan’s nursery had hand collected seed and grown many of these plants. He has released several hundred to us so we can grow this rare Cabbage on a Stick plant (Brighamia insignis) at Logee’s and introduce them to our customers in our Fall catalog.

The plant has wonderful white flowers that mature to yellow and have a gardenia-like fragrance. When Jonathan recently got married, he surrounded the wedding altar with this rare plant that in Hawaiian lore is said to bring blessings and good luck to the newlywed couple.

Cabbage on a Stick Plant

The ‘Cabbage on a Stick’ plant

Searching in nurseries, botanic gardens, conservatories, road side stands and talking with growers throughout the Hawaiian Islands gives us a unique insight into where and how our tropical plants grow in their native land, and we are grateful to the gardeners and growers who hosted us. Thanks for your interest in learning about our travels. Before you go, please be sure to explore our selection of rare and unusual plants. And don’t forget to request your free Logee’s catalog while you’re here, too!