To the genus brighamia belong 6-7 species of succulent stem plants, originating in the Hawaiian islands, where they are endangered; in the wild they can reach the 3-4 metres of height, in container they keep below the metre. They have a fleshy stem, erect, rather stocky, of greyish-brown colour, scarcely ramified, with bottle shape.
At the apex of the stem develops a thick tuft of spatulate leaves, 25-30 cm long, bright green in colour, shiny and slightly leathery; from autumn to the end of winter, the specimens of at least 4-5 years old produce small racemes on elongated stems, formed by 3-7 tubular flowers, cream-white in colour, intensely perfumed.
These plants are very decorative, their cultivation as apartment plants comes from the program established to save this genus from extinction in the places of origin, even today part of the proceeds from the sale of brighamia flow into the program of reintegration in the places of origin.
The Hawaiian palm trees need a lot of light to develop as best as possible, if possible they should be placed in full sunlight, or in a place where they receive at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They fear temperatures below 18-20°C, therefore during the cold months they should be grown in the house or in a place sheltered from the cold currents of the season.
Water regularly throughout the year the hawaii palm, always waiting for the soil to dry between one watering and another; during the flowering period we can provide the plant with fertilizer, using a specific liquid fertilizer for succulent plants, with a low nitrogen content to be added to the water of irrigation. Feed once or maximum twice a month.
Soil is particularly important in the cultivation of a plant. This is because it is the main source of livelihood of plant species. In nature, the brighamie grow along the slopes of Hawaiian volcanoes, let’s grow them in a soil similar to that found in these places: we use a good amount of volcanic lapillus, mixed with little soil leaves or compost soil, so as to obtain a soft substrate, rich and very well drained.
They develop quite slowly, therefore they do not need to be repotted too often.
The Hawaiian palm is multiplied by seed, each individual seed can take months to germinate. The decimation of the specimens present in the wild is taking place because of the difficulty of these plants to be pollinated, given the length of the floral calyxes; it is therefore quite difficult to find seeds of brighamia on the market.
Hawaii Palm – Brighamia: Parasites and diseases
As for parasites and diseases that could create problems for our hawaai palm, we find mites and cochineal; excessive watering or contact with stagnant water can promote the onset of root rot. Sometimes the leaves in the lower part of the head become yellowish, it is good to remove them and check for the presence of mites; after removing the damaged leaves, the plant usually produces new ones in a short time.