Growing Flowers is a Wilting Business in Hawaii

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- While some Hawaii nursery businesses are making lots of green, others are worried an island tradition could be wilting away.

That's because more flowers used to sew lei are no longer grown in Hawaii.

Some fear the future of island flowers will be cut short.

Business is blooming at Leilani Nursery in Waimanalo.

Thousands of easter lilies, are already showing the sign of the season.

"This period is exceptionally warm for this time of year, so our lillies are opening early so i have to find cooler space for them to stop the flowers from opening," said Bill Durston, a nursery owner.

Weather isn't the only challenge growers face.

Rising production and operating costs are making locally grown flowers more expensive.

Orchids from thailand are squeezing out local flower production like the more expensive tuberrose at a&k nursery. And cutting into sales of island lei as cheaper ones are imported.

Ayako Yamada a long time nursery owner said the combination of continuing higher costs and lower demand for their special product means the future looks grim for island flower growers.