Buying flowers in Hawaii is pretty much the same as anywhere else, with the exception that the hard-to-find exotic flowers on the mainland---like plumeria, protea and, of course, orchids---are more readily available in Hawaii. Hawaii's mild tropical climate, rich volcanic soil and abundant rainfall produce a wide variety of beautiful and unusual flowers.
Decide what types of flowers you want to buy and how much money you want to spend. Standard florist fare such as carnations, roses and chrysanthemums are more expensive in Hawaii because they have to be shipped in. They also may not be as fresh as the more exotic flowers grown in Hawaii.
Choose flowers that are sturdy such as protea, antherium and orchid---if the flowers are to be shipped back to the states, or travel on the plane with you.
Pick flowers that are grown in Hawaii such as heliconia which resemble bird of paradise; hibiscus, a trumpet-shaped flower with large, broad petals; and many species of orchids and plumeria, also known as frangipani, used to create leis.
Find local farmer's markets. The Hawaii Farm Bureau has a listing of the farmer's markets. Flowers are locally grown and often free from pesticides. Bring your own shopping bags, a cooler and cash in small bills. Wear comfortable shoes and plan on spending a block of time.
Discover local florists. Ask the concierge where you're staying for recommendations for a florist nearby. Ask the florist if he ships flowers directly from his shop to the recipient or if he uses a distributor, or a floral delivery service. Flowers bought in bunches are less expensive than those in an arrangement.
Shop at the local grocers. Many grocery store chains have floral departments. One national franchise has 14 locations in the Hawaiian islands and all of them sell flowers.
Pack the flowers with their stems wrapped in wet paper towels, a layer of newspaper and then wrapped in plastic wrap sealed at the top of the stems below the flowers to keep the flowers fresh after purchase.