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Puakenikeni advice please.

Hillsborough , NC(Zone 7a)


I have a puakenikeni ( Fragraea Berteroana or Berteriana) which I have had in a pot up till now waiting to see if the smell was going to be as good as people say it is. It just had it's first flower, and it has the most gorgeous smell! Can't show you a picture of today's flower because I plucked it so that my Mom could smell it - but now that I know it's certainly a keeper, can anyone give me advice on planting here in Kihei?

My book says full sun, plenty of water with good drainage. Does that sound 'bout right to you, for Kihei? Dave?, Carol?, anyone else?

I also want to keep it as a shrub rather than a tree because I have read that if you don't keep the fruit picked off it won't bloom and I am not going to be able to pluck fruit off a large tree, any tips?

By the way it is also called 10 cent flower because that is what it used to cost to buy one flower!

Thanks in advance!

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)


I have to admit I have never seen or heard one of those specimens. How's that for honnesty this morning? However, polar bears are an inquisitive bunch. Wishing to further my education, I have done a bit of research.

From what I have gathered, it seems that this tree will grow anywhere from full sun to partial shade. It will tolerate droughts and waterlogging will stimulate blooming. It seems to grow in anything and anywhere except underwater and in zones where freezing occurs. Pruning will keep its bushy form.

Here is a link that describes the plant very well. I found others but this one seems to be the best:


I hope this helps AND I learned something before breakfast. The day is starting off very well.

Sylvain, A.K.A. Pu'ole.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

Very interesting! Thanks for the sleuthing work Sylvain.

Hillsborough , NC(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Pu'ole! It seems anything goes for this plant. It's not a very pretty looking thing is it, but the flowers smell divine!

Keaau, HI

Hey Jen, in Kihei you may want to trim off of the top of the tree to cause it to spread out more and stay lower to the ground just to avoid the hot and dry wind. You may need to give the tree regular waterings to get good flower production; this would be most effective if you spray the tree till it is dripping wet at the end of the day.

Trimming off the fruit is supposed to increase flower production, but I see many trees around Hilo (i.e. - UH Hilo Campus) that are not defruited, and they still produce lots of flowers!

Aloha, Dave

Hillsborough , NC(Zone 7a)

Thanks Dave, you know it's not so easy gardening in Kihei! Hopefully I have found just the spot to plant it. I heard tell that there is a wonderful old pua kenikeni in someone's garden in the Iao Valley, I must go and try to find it when I have time - it's such a lovely area - all misty and damp through the West Maui Mountains. What a difference from Kihei, it's another whole world! I guess I would be better off planting something like cactus in my area, but who could resist that gorgeous smell!

Bumper crop for Mango on Maui this year, although not in my garden - probably as the trees got very little water for six months while they were tearing up the garden. Still more than enough for us, the freezer is getting very full. There are so many Mango even the food bank is turning them away, they just laughed at me and said they had more than they could cope with! It's hard to find a sucker who will take them - Carol, not to call you a sucker, but another box is coming your way -posting tomorrow!

The star fuit tree seems to have rebounded from all the bashes it took from the diggers and bob cats, and although it's a funny shape from having limbs torn off, it looks as if we are about to have a good crop. I am so glad we didn't loose this Starfruit because it produces a very sweet fruit compared to most, I have no idea which variety it is - we inherited it. I wish I was allowed send all you guys on the mainland a box of fruit...


Baytown, TX(Zone 9a)

Me too! I love mangos!

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

Sorry...haven't stopped by to play in a while....

Jen's mangos are totally THE best!!! We OD when the box comes!!!

I have found the puakenikeni really bloom differently...from plant to plant. Some are easy...some reluctant.


Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)


HHHMMM, mangos... (drooling la Homer Simpson).

My favorite fruit were peaches until I sank my teeth into a fresh-picked mango still warm from the tropical sun with the juice dripping all over the place when you bite into it, trying to suck the juice, ending up wearing an orange-stained stained shirt, with sticky fingers, scraping the leftover fruit from the inside of the peel, fiber between my front teeth and happy like a pig in slop without a care in the world. You guys in Hawai'i have all the fun. At least did you have a few for us poor mainlanders?

Oh, I want to return to paradise so badly! To my liking, we didn't spend enough time on TBI. We didn't see the volcanoes, didn't get to go visit Carol (sniff). We did see a macademia nut plantation and a glorious botanical garden built in a ravine, which was extremely nice.

We didn't spend enough time on Maui but we did see Lahaina,the Iao needle and luau. I hear there's a very nice little place on that island (Kiehi) that we didn't know existed when we were there. I'd love to go there.

We didn't spend enough time on Kauai but we did see the Waimea canyon.

We didn't snorkel at Molokini.

We did see Oahu from one end to the other and loved every minute of it. Oh well, we'll just have to return. It's kinda my 2009 project.

Take care, all.
Sylvain, A.K.A. Pu'ole.

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

YES YES>>>do come. The Botanical Garden is run by a friend of mine....its' fun going around with him!!


Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Which botanical garden? what Island? I went to the one on Kauai..it was great.

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

Ah Randy....when you come over we will go. It is the Onomea Botanical Garden or something like that. Sean is a good friend and it is really fun to go around with him because .... well, he knows everything about the plants and is full of great information!!!! It is just north of Hilo....

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Oh boy..I look forward to that! I'll try to behave and not stuff seeds in my pocket like Kauai....they were all over the ground!
I'm going to check flights today and let you know my target dates. We're having a tropical storm today...going to catch up on some deficit rain!

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

No worries...Sean is cool. I always ask...but then I go there with tons of dischidia and hoyas for him....also any gingers he might not have...not likely, tho!

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

woo hoo...at work now...storm not affecting the airlines too badly..In fact it's better than a good day in Newark!

Hillsborough , NC(Zone 7a)

Mahalo Carol, my kenikeni is in the ground now and looks a little tatty - but much happier! It seems to be a blooming fool since it has been able to stretch it's toes so maybe I got a good one!

Pu'ole, how is the house coming along? Are you all settled in yet? So glad to hear that you might make a trip to the Islands next year - the bed is ready and waiting at my house! Molokini here we come!

What a great time to visit Randy! Tourism is way down so it's like having the place to yourself! Any chance of a Maui stop over? My grandson just flew in on a last minute flight from Phoenix, and got his fare for half price as the plane had seats left over.



Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Aloha, everyone.

Jen, thank you so much for your kind offer. I'd love to return to the hawai'ian islandsand see more of Maui, Kihei and all that. I'm working on that. We wouldn't be any trouble because Gail and I can't bear the thought of staying at someone else's house, not even immediate family. We're very reclusive that way. My dad thought we were crazy to stay at a hotel instead of his guest bedroom when we last visited Montreal (2 years ago). But, idiosyncracies aside, that wouldn't stop us from tooting all over the islands during the day and having a grand time.

We are all settled in the house. The last of the condo's "stuff" is here. We just have to unpack all that. Then, I'll have to give the condo a once-over before we can put it on the market. Buyers like a neat place and so do we. I'll post pictures as soon as my digital camera returns from the repair shop.

Speaking of that, they wanted to charge me $150 to repair it, plus $30 shipping. I told them to throw it out because I can get a brand-new camera for that price. They put me on hold for 5 minutes. When they returned, they offered to do the job for $48.00, including shipping. I accepted. That seems better than $180.00. What can I say, they tried their best but I resisted. I can haggle with the best of them.

Take care, all.

Ahuimanu, HI

Hi i dont know how to plant puakenikeni flower from the seed can someone can help me

This message was edited Jul 22, 2012 12:58 AM

Keaau, HI

It is best to take air-layers from plants that are good bloomers.

Laie, HI

Hi Chassi....several years ago I tried growing Puakenikeni from seed and found them really easy to sprout and grow. It is impossible to grow from cuttings and most plants in nurseries are grown by air-layering. I just got the seeds from a ripe fruit and put them in a tray of potting mix. Had hundreds of little seedling come up.....many that survived my rough watering....I guess a mist system would have looked after them better. Potted them up in pots to start with. Anyways had a few dozen plants grown from them that have gone on to give their owners lots of Puakenikeni flowers for lei making. If you do make lei from them, this is one flower that cannot be put in the fridge. That is why the lei shops will hang Puakenikeni leis in plastic bags outside of the fridge. aloha

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

I saw leis made from puakenikeni blooms in Honolulu's chinatown. When the time came to get my wife a lei, I opted for a gorgeous creation made up of almost 500 green orchid. It was stunning and lasted 12 days, with refrigeration. She wore it every day at dinner and 2 luaus. She still remembers it fondly. Good times.

I'd love some puakenikeni seed, if anyone has them. Please D-mail me.


Honolulu, HI


I have a puakenikeni tree, approx 7 years old. It grew up to 5ʻ tall but hasn't, blossomed, ever! I trimmed it down to about 4ft , and it remains very healthy. Everyone else's trees are starting to bud, except mine. What can I do to make it blossom? Purchased from either Home Depot or Lowes. Thank you!


Kalihiwai, HI

First time posting in here. Please forgive me if I am breaking any TOU, as I am a commercial pua keni keni grower and lei maker on Kauai's north shore for 25 years.

I've never heard of growing pua keni keni from seed. I'm astounded!

The fact that pua keni keni is called the "Ten Cent Flower" is kind of a misnomer that got introduced somewhere along the line. Way back when they were introduced to the islands, ten cents was a day's wages! An old Hawaiian once explained to me that actually, "Keni Keni" is the Hawaiian imitation of "Ch-ching ch-ching", or the sound of loose change in the pocket. Makes a lot more sense, huh?

Keaau, HI

Thanks for being here KauaiLei!

Great story. Got any photos to share?

We all love photos of flowers & such.

Mahalo a nui, Dave

Thumbnail by Metrosideros Thumbnail by Metrosideros Thumbnail by Metrosideros
Ewa Beach, HI

Thanks for all the great tips, especially the very informative pdf link, Sylvaine. I had my Puakenikeni plant for a little over a year, didn't do so good, and then died. Last week, I got a new Puakenikeni from the free-tree giveaway for Arbor Day, so doing some research to keep it alive this time. The one that died was in a pot, in a patio with not much sun. Sounds like it does better in the sun, so that's where I'll keep it this time. It might have been waterlogged too because the more the leaves wilted and browned, the more water I gave it, thinking that it was drying up. Could it have also died because it was crowded in a pot, since these trees are meant to be huge? Is it even possible to keep these in a pot, with regular pruning to keep them small? If so, what size should the pot be? I live in a rental, and will likely be here for many years before moving into the home that I bought, so I'd like to keep it in a pot if possible. And even then, I'm not sure if I'll even settle in the home that I bought, so I'm hoping to be able to keep my Puakenikeni in a pot for many, many years.

aloha from west maui !
attempting to grow puakenikeni from seed. ive heard to use the bulb as is & also the seeds inside ? which is right, wrong or best ?

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