Perennial Flowers in Hawaii

Gardeners in Hawaii enjoys a lush, tropical climate that produces gorgeous, colorful flowers. Falling under United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 10 and 11, Hawaii experiences mild winters and moderate humidity levels year round. Hawaiian gardeners should select plants according to bloom time, bloom color, potential problems and intended use. Many perennial flower varieties thrive in Hawaiian gardens.

Water Poppy

The water poppy (Hydrocleys nymphoides), an aquatic perennial in the Butomaceae family, typically thrives in Hawaiian climates. Water poppies require fully sunny locations with wet, loamy soils. This plant performs best when planted in about 6 inches of water. Mature plants range from 6 to 12 inches in height, but spread out between 1 and 5 feet. Green, heart-shaped leaves usually float on the surface of the water. Yellow flowers with dark stamens bloom in succession from June through August. Hawaiian gardeners often plant the water poppy in water gardens or along ponds.

Ma'o Hau Hele

Ma'o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei), a hibiscus plant in the Malvaceae family, is the state flower of Hawaii. This endangered perennial grows up to 30 feet tall in the wild, but most home gardeners keep it between 3 and 15 feet in height and 8 to 15 feet in width. This hibiscus variety features fuzzy leaves and large yellow flowers with red-purple centers. These flowers bloom from spring until early summer, with the petals opening in the afternoon and closing the following day. Hawaiian gardeners often use the ma'o hau hele as a landscape plant.

Bird of Paradise

The bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae), also called the crane flower, belongs to the Strelitziaceae plant family. This South African native plant performs well in the Hawaiian islands, typically reaching up to 4 feet in both height and spread. This seasonal bloomer features green leaves and vibrant blooms. Each flower consists of three bright orange and three blue flower petals. The bird of paradise prefers loamy soils in partially shady to fully sunny locations. This perennial requires regular, year-round feeding and watering. Scale and mealybugs occasionally affect this plant. Hawaiian gardeners often use the bird of paradise as street and landscape plants.


The anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum), sometimes called the flamingo lily, belongs to the Araceae plant family. This perennial naturally occurs in Ecuador and Columbia, but also grows well in the Hawaiian climate. Anthuriums feature heart-shaped, green leaves that reach up to 12 inches long and contrast nicely with the bright red and yellow flowers. Mature plants reach between 12 and 18 inches in height with spreads up to 12 inches. Anthurium plants need moist, peaty soils in partial shade. These plants occasionally suffer from leaf spot, scorched foliage and spider mite infestations.


Gardenia plants (Gardenia jasminoides), broadleaf evergreens in the Rubiaceae family, also perform well in Hawaii. Reaching between 5 and 6 feet in both height and spread, this shrub features glossy green leaves and fragrant, white or ivory flowers that bloom throughout the season. This high-maintenance plant prefers moist, acidic soils in partly shady positions. Gardenias often suffer from sooty mold, spider mites, anthracnose and scale. Hawaiian gardeners often grow gardenias as outdoor container plants.

Keywords: perennial flowers in Hawaii, perennial flowers in Hawaiian gardens, Hawaii perennial flowers

About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like and, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.