List of Tropical Plants Grown in Hawaii

Anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to visit Hawaii will certainly remember the heady scents of a wealth of tropical flowers and plants. A variety of tropical plants grow in Hawaii, and some may even be transported to other locations in the world, though they require specific growing conditions that mimic their native island environment and climate. Several of the most common types of tropical plants grown in Hawaii provide visual and aromatic pleasure to gardeners, and some even offer medicinal benefits.


Hibiscus, known as Koki-o-ula or Koki-o-ke-oke-o in Hawaii, is the recognized state flower (in its yellow tone) of Hawaii, and is perhaps the most commonly known tropical Hawaiian plant. Hibiscus plants in Hawaii produce a wealth of different colors, from deep red to purple to violet, yellow and white. The shrub grows large if unchecked, but produces a plethora of color and scent during blooming season, which may last year-round in some climates.


The gardenia, known as Nanu in Hawaii, is a beautiful, dark-green-leaved shrub that produces a while flower with spiral petals, much like a child's old-fashioned wind-wheel. The plant loves the sun and may grow up to 15 feet tall with a 6-foot spread.


The ilima flower is the one commonly used to create leis, which are draped around the necks of arriving visitors to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. The yellow ilima is the official flower of the island of Oahu. This flower is also known for its healing powers, and was often pressed and infused in water to create juice for children.


The Lehua flower offers a variety of colors, from red to orange to yellow and white. The official flower of the Big Island itself, the red ohia or lehua flower was often offered to the volcano goddess, Pele.


The lokelani, also known as the pink cottage rose, is considered the official flower of Maui, brought to the area in the early 1800s and known mostly for its wonderful fragrance. While a non-native plant to the islands, the tropical flower is yet the only one to be recognized as an official flower of the Hawaiian islands, according to

Keywords: native Hawaiian plants, Hawaiian tropical plants, tropical plants of Hawaii

About this Author

Denise Wang is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for six years, and is a published fiction author. She regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care care websites. She is currently completing coursework for a degree in Health Information Management from Penn Foster College.