Hawaii is, undoubtedly, one of the top vacation destinations for North Americans, especially honeymooners. The island state boasts tropical temperatures and plants, striking volcanic scenery, hula dancers, clear blue waters and endless waves — it’s not surprising it’s a popular tourist destination.

But this month, we’re taking a look at Hawaii through the eyes of two growers who have found success growing orchids on the islands. Native southern Californians Mindi and John Clark have been breeding and producing a wide assortment of orchid varieties at Hawaii-based Kalapana Tropicals for 30 years, and the road has sometimes been rocky — even lava-covered. In the beginning, the Clarks were also working other jobs as they got the greenhouse operation off the ground.

“When we started our nursery, we had nothing,” Mindi Clark says. After a volcano eruption and the subsequent lava flow destroyed their home soon after they started the business, many growers would’ve thrown in the towel — but not the Clarks. Their passion for orchids has been their motivation, and they’ve continued to thrive through the tough times, shipping out 70,000-80,000 of the exotic plants each year. To read the full story behind Kalapana Tropicals, turn to page 14.

If you’re hoping to expand your begonia production, don’t miss Christopher Currey’s Production Pointers column this month on page 26. And we bring you a selection of the amazing annuals we saw at California Spring Trials in April (page 30), and will be covering other categories in future issues. Margery Daughtrey gives the lowdown on Rhizoctonia web blight, including the sneaky ways it can decimate your crops and how you can win the battle against it on page 34.

While it may be warm where you are, it’s not too early to be thinking about your heating system. In this month’s Tech Solutions column, John Bartok answers the question of when to replace this vital piece of equipment (page 36). And don’t miss the 2017 State of the Growing Media Report starting on page 43, where we share research about growing media usage, growers’ insights, and tips from university researchers about how to control your media’s EC and pH.

See you at the summer trade shows!

Karen E. Varga, Editor

kvarga@gie.net

216-393-0290 | Twitter: @Karen_GIE