Tropical fruit and vegetables, like those found in tropical Hawaii, have unique qualities such as intense flavor and beautiful colors. In addition to many common temperate fruits and vegetables, more exotic tropical fruits and vegetables will grow exceptionally well in Hawaii. Many of these fruits and vegetables are grown both commercially and in home gardens.
Pineapples grow exceptionally well in Hawaii. The combination of climate and soils result in sweet home-grown fruit. You can both eat the pineapples and harvest their crowns for planting. To grow pineapples, cut the crown from the fruit. Remove any attached fruit and plant the crown in loose garden soil. The new plant will produce other pineapples.
Although native to southern Asia, mango trees grow very well in Hawaii. Mango trees grow relatively quickly and, if not pruned, can reach 65 feet with some varieties. Mango trees put down deep tap roots, often as far as 20 feet. Once a mango tree begins producing fruit, it can produce fruit for centuries. According to the California Rare Fruit Grower's Association, some mango trees can produce fruit for 300 years or more.
Papaya are short-lived perennial trees that can grow to 30 feet, according to the University of Hawaii. Papaya are generally grown from seed. Although papaya trees grow in many types of soil, they require soil that drains well. Papaya tend to grow best below 500 feet in Hawaii due to temperature decreases with altitude. Papaya yields tend to drop as the tree ages.
Taro is a white root vegetable eaten throughout the Asia-Pacific region. In Hawaii, however, taro leaves and corns are also eaten as part of traditional native cuisine. There are two ways to cultivate taro in Hawaii. In "upland" cultivation, taro is grown in dry fields that are frequently irrigated. In "lowland" or "wetland" cultivation, taro is grown in flooded fields. Most Hawaiian taro is cultivated using wetland techniques.
Okinawa Sweet Potato
Okinawan sweet potato, sometimes known as purple sweet potatoes, are native to the Japanese island of Okinawa. Okinawan sweet potatoes were first introduced to Hawaii around 200 years ago. Okinawan sweet potatoes thrive in Hawaii's volcanic soil and require around 120 inches of water per year. Okinawan sweet potatoes can grow either from sprouted tubers or from plant cuttings.