Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ohia lehua

Ohia or Ohia lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha)  is a slow growing tree 30-80 ft high. Beautiful red-orange, orange, pink, white or yellow flowers are produced periodically throughout the year. The flowers are popular for leis. Ohia is the official flower of the Island of Hawai`i. 

The trees are sometimes used as a windbreak or hedge plant. Ohia can grow in full sun or partial shade in a well drained soil. New leaf growth is often pink or reddish. Seeds germinate readily but do not produce trees that are true to type.  If you want an exact duplicate of the tree you have - usually for the desire flower color - new trees must be started by cuttings or airlayering.  Success with these methods is not always consistent.

 Cuttings should be soft, not having turned stiff and woody, about ¼ inch in diameter, vegetative, that is, only with leaves, no flowers,  taken from the end of the growth and approximately 4 inches in length.  Rooting hormone like Dip’n’Grow can be used.  Place cuttings in a well-drained potting mix (some recommend a media of 1 part perlite to 1 part peat moss to 1 part vermiculite) and kept moist.  The key to success is the concentration of the Dip’nGrow.  The best rooting is achieved by using Dip’nGrow at a 1:5 dilution rate (explained in the directions).

 The wood from Ohia has been used for flooring and furniture and in construction