How to Keep a Lei Fresh


Leis are flower garlands that are used in the Hawaiian culture to symbolize friendship, love, welcoming, parting and affection. These garlands are made by string, weaving or braiding flowers and greenery together, and are worn around the neck, head, wrists and ankles. Fresh flower leis can be purchased from online florists for special occasions such as graduations, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. Proper techniques must be employed once the lei arrives to keep it fresh and beautiful.

Things You'll Need

  • Sink
  • Lukewarm or ice-cold water
  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle
  • Refrigerator
  • Cooler or ice chest
  • Gel pack
  • Remove the lei from its box immediately upon arrival to allow warm air to escape from the box. Soak leis containing mock orange, carnations or dendrobium orchids in a sink full of lukewarm water for 10 minutes. The flowers will drink up the water and rehydrate. Submerse plumeria leis in an ice-cold bath for a few seconds. Shake the leis carefully to remove excess water. Cover a flat surface with paper towels and place the wet lei on top to dry.

  • Remove any wet packing material from the box. Line the bottom of the box with a freshly damp paper towel. The paper towel should not be soaking wet. Place the lei gently on top of the paper towel in the box and arrange it so no petals are flattened. Do not add wet paper towels if the lei is made of mock orange blossoms.

  • Mist the surface of the lei using a spray bottle filled with cold water. Apply the mist lightly until the petals are evenly covered. Keep mock orange and vanda orchid leis dry. Place the lid over the box, leaving a 1-inch opening. Place the box on the lowest shelf or in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator to store. Boxes containing plumeria leis should be placed in a cooler or ice chest with a frozen gel pack instead of a refrigerator.

  • Close the lid of the box completely after 24 hours have passed. Change the damp paper towels every two to three days to keep your lei looking fresh. Return your lei to the box with freshly dampened paper towels after use to prolong its freshness.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact your florist after opening the box if you are not sure what type of flowers your lei contains.

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