ʻIke ʻIkena | Lāʻī: Planting & Care

Lāʻī, also known as ti leaf, is one of the humblest but most important plants that we have around. Lāʻī can be used for ceremony, cooking, hula, lei, and more. Hawaiians always have a use for ti leaf, so we make sure to always have it around. It used to be that you could tell a Hawaiian household because there was always lāʻī planted all around the house and yard. Now it’s a little trickier because we don’t all have yards, but lāʻī is hardy, resilient, and easy to cultivate.

Ānuenue Pūnua gives some tips on how to grow and use lāʻī in the first of two ʻIke ʻIkena videos that we filmed at her family home in Kāneʻohe. Stay tuned for the next video as well, where Ānuenue and her two daughters show you how to make lei from lāʻī, pua kenikeni, and pua melia (also known as plumeria).

“Growing up, you could tell the Hawaiian houses because they had ti leaf everywhere. It’s a plant of protection.”

Ānuenue Punua, Executive Director, Mā‘ilikūkahi ’Āina Momona