Many types of flowers grow in Hawaii. Most are plants that thrive in the tropical climate of the islands. Many of these colorful, tropical beauties are not native to Hawaii, but were brought to the islands by missionaries and traders. Others are native to the islands. Tropical flowers are a big business in Hawaii--many are planted, cultivated and shipped to florists on the west coast, where the climate is not conducive to growing tropical plants.
The tropical hibiscus is a flower native to Hawaii. The pua aloalo, as it is called in Hawaii, comes in a wide variety of colors and shapes, but it is the yellow hibiscus (Hibiscus brackenridgei A. Gray) that was officially adopted as the state flower in 1988. Hibiscus plants can range in size from a small shrub to a medium-sized tree, but they all feature large, trumpet-shaped flowers in bright colors ranging from red to cream.
Costus are from the ginger family and are distinctive for their spiraling bracts, or modified leaves. Each spiral is topped with a huge flower bud that is often shaped like a pineapple, depending on the variety. These flowers are native to Hawaii and can be seen growing in the wild in cool, moist areas of the tropical forests. Each variety has a distinctly-shaped flower that is usually named for its looks, including "Red Snake" and "Yellow Lollipop." The flowers are glossy and long-lasting in flower arrangements.
Anthuriums (Anthurium andraeanum)
There are around 900 species of Anthuriums, give or take 100, according to horticulturists with the University of Florida. Also called the "Flamingo Flower," the heart-shaped blooms of these plants are really modified leaves called spathes. The spathes are brightly colored and glossy, giving them an appearance almost like they are made of plastic. Anthuriums last for a long time in cut flower arrangements, which makes them a very popular choice for florists. These flowers thrive in warm, wet climates, are hardy and easy to grow.
Lobster Claw (Heliconia rostratata)
The "Lobster Claw" variety of heliconia is famous for its ability to last for weeks as a cut flower. These tropical flowers feature stalks of blooms that resemble lobster claws and come in a wide range of colors. Related to the popular "Bird of Paradise" plant, these flowers thrive in warm, moist climates and need protection from strong winds, as their foliage is thin and fragile. Lobster claw heliconias can grow up to 7 feet tall when planted outside, but they can also be grown in containers, which work to contain their size.