How to grow a monster

Roy Tokunaga program on growing specimen orchidsRoy Tokunaga didn’t want to just grow orchids, he wanted to grow large orchids. Very large.

And after years of perfecting his craft, Tokunaga was on hand at the Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club’s monthly meeting on June 12 to share some of his extensive knowledge with his specimen plant culture presentation.

Tokunaga began by talking about some of the shows and competitions he had won, one being with a monster orchid with 60 spikes (from one plant!) which required four people to lift and filled the back of a cargo van.

“Seeing is believing,” Tokunaga said, who enjoys growing big orchids for competition. “Four spikes look nice, but 16 look better.”

It turns out, people never knew how big some species of orchids could get; they probably just assumed they wouldn’t get that big. But if given the right care and treatment, the sky is the limit for some of these orchids. Or maybe the van is the limit, if you plan on transporting it.

IMG_8351Tokunaga produced several orchids he had brought along with him. Although these orchids were small enough to make the plane ride from Oahu to the Big Island, they were still bigger than most. Tokunaga held up one of the orchids and easily pulled off the plastic pot it was sitting in. The roots had grown to the shape of the pot and contained virtually no medium.

To hold the orchid, Tokunaga preferred a plastic “mesh” pot with many holes to the more traditional “solid” plastic planters.

IMG_8340Growing monster orchid specimens often doesn’t require medium and typical pots, Tokunaga explained. What these orchids did need was water and aerated roots. And, of course, the proper amount of attention and care.

For more information, visit H&R Nurseries website at

Roy Tokunaga talks about growing specimen orchids at the June KDOC meeting

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