Create a brighter garden by planting tropical flowers. Hawaiian flowers are diverse and colorful, reflecting the beautiful island they grow in. Some of them have been popular among gardeners, while others are more obscure.
Check out these 20 flowers and pick your favorites for a tropical garden.
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Bird of paradise has the iconic row of jutted petals that form a bird. The orange and yellow colors make it look majestic. This flower is perfect as a single pot plant, giving accent to your shaded terrace or window sill.
Frangipani is a popular name for Plumeria genus. This fragrant flower is commonly seen in lei, Hawaiian flower garland. Traditionally, Hawaiian women wear frangipani in one of their ears to indicate relationship status (left ear means married, right one means looking for someone).
Lobster claws, also known as Heliconia, is one of the most iconic flowers of Hawaii. The trees look like banana trees. The red or orange “flowers” are in the shape of panicle, with red, waxy bracts and small yellow flowers. The garden species love water, sunlight, and hummus-rich soil.
Hawaiian hibiscus is one of the native Hawaiian flowers, recognizable thanks to its bright yellow color. Hawaiian hibiscus is also the state flower of Hawaii. Each flower only lives for a day, but the plant blooms every day, giving you constant visual treat during spring and summer.
Pikake is a Hawaiian variety of jasmine. The name came from the English word “peacock,” because Princess Kaiuliani from Hawaii was fond of peacock and jasmine. Pikake can have single or semi-double flowers. Pikake loves warm temperature and sunlight. It needs pruning during the non-flowering period.
Ohia lehua is a Hawaiian name for Metrosideros, an endemic flowering tree of the myrtle family. Ohia lehua has amazing flower displays in bright colors, such as red and yellow. These trees can grow on a soil that has just been covered by lava. Hawaiian people consider the flowers as the sacred symbol of Pele, Goddess of Volcano.
Naupaka is a Hawaiian name for Scaevola taccada, a unique flower with only half part of the petal formation. Hawaiian legends told stories about two lovers who were separated by the gods because of their different status as the origins of the flower. The flowers are small, white with little purple streaks. However, the shrub can grow to 3 m tall.
Red ginger has fan-like bracts that are often mistaken as flowers. However, the real flowers are white and smaller, located on top of the bracts. This plant loves a warm temperature, but you must water it regularly.
Anthurium (“laceleaf”) is one of the most popular tropical flowers. Like red ginger, it has wide red bract that is often mistaken as a flower. The true flowers are hidden in the tubular spadix, located in the middle of the bract. This is an excellent pot plant, but its parts are toxic and unsuitable for a house with pets.
Tuberose is a perfect flower to get a subtle, sweet scent. The flower looks like little clustered jasmines, but it is actually a member of the lily family. Tuberose loves warm climate and fertile soil. The plant blooms for two to three weeks in midsummer.
Mokihana is one of the Hawaiian native plants. The flowers are small and unassuming, but its berries are incorporated in official lei from Kaua’i Island. The berries emit an anise-like aroma, and they look great when strung together as a wreath of small balls.
Blue Jade Vine
The spectacular blue jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) is a type of liana. Native to the Philippines, it grows in woody vines that reach 18 m in length. The flowers have claw-like appearances, hanging in turquoise or jade-colored clusters.
Ilima or “black coral” is the official flower symbol of Oahu Island. The flowers grow on ground-covering shrubs, both in the forests and coastal areas. The flowers are small but noticeable, with a bright yellow color. The leaves have a slightly fuzzy texture, adding the unique look.
Passion Fruit Flowers
Passion fruits are delicious and fragrant, but their flowers are also magnificent. Passion flowers have distinctive shapes with noticeable coronas and star-like petals. The color combinations are striking, with petals ranging from purple to pink and red.
Lokelani is the Hawaiian name for Damask rose, which is also the official flower of Maui Island. The flower is also included in traditional lei. Damask rose has dramatic pink, violet, and red wine colors. They also emit amazing fragrance.
Gardenia is a famous tropical flower that has humble beauty. The white flowers and elegant foliage make gardenia great for arrangements. They love warm temperature, humidity, and indirect but constant sunlight.
Lasiandra, also known as “princess flower” or “glory bush,” is a shrub plant that can grow to 3 m high. The flowers are large and eye-catching, which attract butterflies and birds. The plants are easy to grow, but they can become invasive if you don’t control them.
Purple Water Lily
Purple water lily has crown-like flowers with elegant colors, such as pink, white, and purple. The angular petals make them look like starts when you see them from above. They thrive in water with a depth of five to 10 m.
A native of the African region, protea has a distinctive look, with sun-like appearance when in full bloom. Protea varieties are cultivated in warm areas, including the Pacific Islands and Hawaii. Protea is a bit fussy, since it loves warm temperature and cannot handle salty or alkaline water. However, they make a beautiful summer arrangement.
Bromeliad consists of almost 3,500 species, many of them are favorite at home gardens. Bromeliad “flowers” are specialized leaves with bright colors. They are air plants that don’t need soil to grow. You can propagate bromeliads by cutting and planting their offsets.
Hawaiian flowers are colorful and vibrant, perfect for decorating even the simplest home gardens. Pick these flowers to create tropical delight at your home.