Hawaiian flowers are colorful symbols of the Hawaiian culture that has adapted to thrive in the harsh climates of the island chains.
We’ll explore a few Hawaiian species that somehow produce vivid blooms throughout the summer in the heat, humidity, and full exposure to the sun. Join us as we celebrate the resilience of these tropical wonders that bring smiles to locals and visitors alike!
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- Hawaiian Flowers Built To Withstand the Strongest Summers
Hawaiian Flowers Built To Withstand the Strongest Summers
1. Ma’o Hau Hele
Ma’o Hau Hele, or Hawaiian woolly roses, are native Hawaiian flowers that typically bear Hawaiian red colors. These prolific bloomers thrive when planted in full sun and under dry conditions with little care during the harsh Hawaiian summer months.
The narrow leaves of the Ma’o Hau Hele help reduce water loss through transpiration, allowing these Hawaiian woolly roses to withstand the summer heat and drought better than many tropical flowers. Their ability to flourish with minimal water and care in the sunny, dry climate has made the Ma’o Hau Hele popular in Hawaiian gardens.
2. Pua Kala
Pua Kala, or native Hawaiian poppies, produce stunning orange and bright yellow blossoms that light up Hawaiian landscapes year-round. These colorful poppies burst forth with clusters of vibrant blooms that appear continuously throughout the warm seasons.
Their thick, leathery leaves help the pua kala conserve water as a tropical flower, ensuring the blooms continue producing throughout the long, sunny summer days typical of Hawaiian weather. With their ability to thrive in full sun with minimal water, the colorful pua kala poppies have become a staple in Hawaiian landscapes and gardens, brightening spaces with their exuberant yet drought-tolerant blooms for most of the year.
Their brilliant orange and yellow flowers spark joy and levity daily for residents and visitors alike who encounter these cherished native Hawaiian poppies.
Introduced from South Africa, strelitzia, or bird of paradise plants, bring a splash of color to any Hawaiian garden. Their tall, narrow leaves allow for good air circulation and lower transpiration rates, making these uncommon Hawaiian flowers well-suited to the humid tropical conditions on the Hawaiian Islands. During the summer, the strelitzia’s brilliant orange blooms provide a cheerful contrast to the otherwise blazing hot climate.
The flower spikes emerge from leafy basal rosettes, protruding upward on long stalks and bursting into showy orange and purple blooms. Their exotic and unusual shape represents the namesake “bird in paradise,” attracting pollinators, admiring viewers, and adding a vibrant tropical flair to Hawaiian landscapes.
With their ability to thrive in both full sun and partial shade, strelitzia makes an excellent choice for gardens throughout the Hawaiian Islands, providing splashes of vivid color during the hot summer months with their nectar-rich blossoms.
Hibiscus is one of the most iconic Hawaiian flowers, known for its huge blooms and various colors. The large, showy flowers appear in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, and white. Their thick, glossy leaves help reduce moisture loss, allowing the hibiscus to continue producing abundant flowers throughout summer.
Many hibiscus varieties are extremely tough plants, able to handle the hot afternoon sun and irregular watering that would cause other tropical flowers to wilt. Their hardiness and ability to flourish with minimal care have made hibiscus a favorite for Hawaiian gardens. The tropical flowers display colorful displays all year, brightening gardens and landscapes with cheerful blooms.
The vibrant hibiscus flowers are a beautiful sight to behold, witnessed by residents and visitors to the Hawaiian Islands, representing the tropical splendor and joyful spirit for which Hawaiian gardens are known.
5. Blue Ginger
Blue ginger plants bear clusters of vivid blue tubular flowers that provide a splash of color in shaded areas of the garden. The narrow, upright leaves enable these adaptable Hawaiian flowers to tolerate the high humidity typical during island summers.
Though blue ginger is generally grown in partial shade for optimal flowering, the plants can still produce blooms even during the hottest months if the soil is consistently moist. The tubular ginger flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies with their striking color and nectar-rich blooms.
Although less common than the familiar red and yellow ginger lilies, blue ginger varieties illuminate shaded landscape sections with brilliant azure flowers. Their adaptability and ability to thrive in Hawaii’s humid climate with minimal care make blue ginger a valuable addition to color and interest within Hawaiian landscapes. The brilliant blue blooms light up otherwise dim corners, providing a cheerful contrast during the hottest and sunniest parts of the year.
6. Hawaiian Lily
Hawaiian lily plants evoke visions of Hawaii’s lush tropical landscape with their tall, strappy leaves and showy trumpet-shaped blossoms in vibrant shades of pink, orange, and red. Their sword-like foliage features waxy coatings that help limit water loss, enabling these plants to tolerate warm weather and thrive in humid conditions.
The thick, succulent leaves allow Hawaiian lilies to persist through drought by storing water to sustain the large, colorful flowers. Hawaiian lilies are generally summer-blooming plants, producing vibrant clusters of blossoms throughout the warm season as long as their soil is consistently moist.
The exotic tropical lilies add splashes of color to Hawaiian gardens with their large, showy flowers that resemble bursts of flame against the lush greens of their foliage. Hawaiian lilies represent the islands’ natural beauty and rich biodiversity, flourishing with ease and abundance to embellish landscapes throughout Hawaii with their eye-catching displays.
7. Ohia Lehua
Native to Hawaii, ‘Ōhi’a lehua trees produce clusters of tubular red blossoms that attract native honeycreepers seeking nectar. The flowers feature long, trumpet-shaped corollas in vivid shades of red that stand out vividly against the leathery green leaves. Their oblong, leathery leaves are well-adapted for Hawaii’s dry summers, allowing the ‘Ōhi’a lehua to tolerate long periods of drought and heat.
The leaves have sunken veins that reduce their surface area, minimizing moisture loss through transpiration. The bright red blooms provide a splash of Hawaiian color even during the hottest and driest times of year that are typical of Hawaii’s climate. The native ‘Ōhi’a lehua tree represents the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, accustomed to producing its striking red flowers even through intense tropical conditions.
8. Hawaiian Red Hibiscus
Hawaiian red hibiscus bears large, vivid red flowers that stand out boldly against Hawaii’s lush tropical backdrop. Their thick, glossy leaves feature waxy coatings that help prevent moisture loss, allowing these showy blossoms to continue throughout summer.
Hawaiian red hibiscus is remarkably drought and heat tolerant due to their thick stems, large leaf size, and ability to reduce transpiration, characteristics that make them ideal choices for island gardens that experience long hot summers.
The bright red hibiscus blossoms attract pollinators and brighten gardens and landscapes throughout summer. Their size and hardiness allow Hawaiian red hibiscus to tolerate intense tropical conditions that would cause other flowers to wilt, enabling them to produce abundant blooms even during the hottest, driest weather.
The large red flowers shimmer vividly against lush tropical foliage, representing Hawaii’s natural beauty and resilience in the face of harsh summer climates. The drought tolerance and ability to thrive in full sun with minimal care have made Hawaiian red hibiscus treasured additions to tropical gardens across the Hawaiian Islands.
9. Red Cranesbill
Red cranesbill produces drooping clusters of bright red blossoms, forming eye-catching displays that beautifully contrast with the plant’s deep green, palmate foliage. This Hawaiian flower’s deeply divided and lobed leaves create more surface area, aiding transpiration and helping the plant cope with the warm, humid conditions typical of island gardens.
Though red cranesbill is mainly grown for its colorful flower heads, the plants continue producing bountiful blooms throughout the summer months as long as adequate moisture is provided through regular watering and humid conditions. The lobed foliage allows red cranesbill to flourish in the steamy tropical environment common throughout Hawaii.
The vivid red flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators, brightening gardens with cheerful blooms for most of the year. Though somewhat less common than broader-hued native Hawaiian blooms, red cranesbill adds a bold pop of color to island landscapes with its eye-catching flower clusters and adaptability to various cultural conditions, making it a valuable addition to Hawaiian gardens.
10. Hawaiian Gardenia
Beloved for its heavenly fragrance and lush appearance, the Hawaiian gardenia is a classic tropical flower. The showy blossoms have a heavenly fragrance that fills the air, evoking sensations of tropical paradise. Their thick, leathery evergreen leaves help reduce moisture loss through transpiration, making these fragrant shrubs able to thrive in the warm, humid Hawaiian garden climate.
Hawaiian gardenia shrubs bloom continuously throughout the summer months as long as they receive consistent watering and some protection from the hot afternoon sun. The glossy foliage and proliferation of honey-scented flowers create an inviting and lush tropical oasis that attracts birds, butterflies, and other native Hawaiian wildlife.
Even throughout the hottest and driest parts of the year, the Hawaiian gardenia perseveres, producing its heavenly-scented blooms that infuse the landscape with sensations of lush paradise through persistence and adaptation to island conditions.
Also known as plumeria, frangipani trees produce clusters of large and intensely fragrant flowers in shades of white, yellow, and pink. Their heavenly perfume fills the air, perfuming outdoor spaces and evoking sensations of tropical paradise. Frangipani’s waxy, oblong leaves help minimize water loss and preserve moisture within the plant, allowing these trees to handle the hot and dry conditions typical of Hawaiian summers.
The frangipani’s thick, leathery leaves and woody stems contribute to its tough exterior and enable the plant to withstand intense tropical sunlight easily. The fragrant frangipani’s ease of care and adaptability to island conditions have made these beautiful flowering trees popular for Hawaiian landscapes.
Throughout the warm seasons, the intoxicatingly scented blooms brighten gardens and surrounding areas, attracting butterflies, birds, and other wildlife with their colorful nectar-filled flowers and heady perfume.
The naupaka is a delicate native Hawaiian groundcover with clusters of star-shaped white flowers in profusion. The petals of the flowers form five points, resembling a star when fully opened. Their deeply divided palmate leaves create more surface area, which aids in evaporative cooling through transpiration.
This adaptation allows the naupaka to thrive in the hot, humid conditions typical of Hawaii’s climate. The deeply lobed foliage and abundant flower production represent evolutionary traits that enable the naupaka to flourish in its native environment.
The profuse five-petaled blooms contrast the plant’s bright green foliage and continue throughout the summer months as long as the plants receive adequate moisture through regular watering or high humidity.
The naupaka’s ability to flourish in full sun with minimal care, producing its delicate star-shaped flowers year-round, represents an exquisite example of a plant finely adapted to its tropical island home. The native Hawaiian ground cover lights up landscapes with its profusion of white blooms, embodying the natural beauty and resilience of plants that evolved in Hawaii’s unique climate over millennia.
Mamane (Sophora chrysophylla) is a unique and ecologically significant tree native to the Hawaiian Islands. Found primarily in dry, coastal regions, this evergreen tree belongs to the pea family (Fabaceae) and plays a vital role in the island’s ecosystem.
Mamane boasts beautiful, silvery-gray leaves and striking clusters of bright yellow flowers. It is a keystone species, serving as a primary food source for several endangered native birds, such as the palila, whose survival depends on the tree’s seeds.
Furthermore, the mamane is intrinsically tied to Hawaiian culture and history, with its wood historically used for crafting tools and ceremonial items. Conservation efforts have become crucial to preserve this significant tree as it faces threats from habitat loss and grazing animals.
As a symbol of ecological balance and cultural heritage, the mamane remains a vital component of the delicate Hawaiian ecosystem and serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting native flora and fauna.
14. Easter Lily
A quintessential harbinger of spring, Easter lilies naturalize well in the shaded nooks of Hawaiian landscapes. Their tall, strappy leaves develop waxy coatings that help minimize moisture loss through transpiration.
This allows these showy blooms to last through the island’s warm and humid summer months. Introduced from Asia, Easter lilies are well-suited for Hawaii’s humid tropical climate, thriving with minimal care as long as soil moisture is maintained through regular watering or natural rainfall.
The lilies’ leathery foliage and thick roots enable the plants to tolerate periods of infrequent watering, though constant moisture is needed to promote bloom production throughout summer. When conditions are favorable, the lush foliage and trumpet-shaped white blossoms of Easter lilies brighten shady spots in Hawaiian gardens, representing springtime rebirth and hope even amid the warm tropical climate.
Bougainvillea brings a sense of the tropics to Hawaiian gardens with its vibrant papery bracts in fuchsia, orange, purple and white shades. The small, leathery oval leaves develop waxy coatings that limit water loss, enabling these vines and shrubs to thrive in the hot, dry conditions common during Hawaiian summers.
To guarantee continuous blooms from spring through summer on the islands, bougainvillea appreciates consistent soil moisture provided through regular deep watering and some protection from harsh afternoon sunlight.
When conditions are ideal, spectacular profusions of colorful bracts cover the vines and shrubs, lighting up Hawaiian gardens with hot pinks, oranges, and purples. The tough, resilient nature of bougainvillea enables the plants to tolerate periods of infrequent watering while still persevering through Hawaii’s tropical heat and humidity.
Though thorny and exotic in origin, bougainvillea has become a treasured element of Hawaiian gardens, infusing landscapes with a sense of the vivid tropics through its adaptability, resilience, and stunning displays of brilliantly hued bracts.
When provided the moisture and shade they crave, bougainvillea thrive in Hawaii, complementing the lush natural beauty of the tropical landscape with their vibrant splashes of color for much of the year.
16. Hawaiian Holly
Hawaiian holly shrubs produce elegant clusters of bell-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, and white that appear profusely along the branches. Their leathery, oblong leaves develop waxy coatings that help minimize moisture loss, enabling these showy blossoms to thrive in Hawaii’s hot, dry summers. After the flowers fade, ornamental red berries provide additional color and texture that persists through fall.
Hawaiian holly shrubs tend to be tough, resilient plants that mature well when grown in full sun with consistent soil moisture and moderate fertilizer throughout the summer months. When provided with the right cultural conditions, holly shrubs burst forth with abundant bell-shaped blooms that transition seamlessly into clusters of vibrant red berries, covering the branches and brightening Hawaiian gardens throughout the year.
The leathery evergreen leaves and woody stems enable the holly to tolerate periods of drought and temperature extremes once established, representing resilience and adaptation to life in the tropics. Though exotic in origin, Hawaiian holly has become a beloved component of Hawaiian gardens, complementing the native flora with its sequential shows of pink flowers and ornamental fruit while requiring minimal care in the islands’ humid climate.
Anthurium or tailflower plants produce dramatic heart-shaped foliage and long-lasting blooms in vibrant red, pink, white, and purple shades. Their glossy heart-shaped leaves develop waxy coatings that help minimize moisture loss, enabling anthurium to thrive under the warm, humid conditions common in Hawaiian gardens.
These attractive tropical flowers favor partial shade and produce vibrant flowers year-round as long as they receive regular watering to replenish the moisture lost through their large, showy leaves.
When provided with consistent moisture and adequate shade, anthurium plants burst into glorious displays of trumpet-shaped blooms atop slender spikes, brightening shaded nooks of Hawaiian gardens. The waxy leaves and thick roots enable anthurium to tolerate periods of dryness once established, representing resilience and adaptation to life in the islands’ seasonal climate.
The bright blooms and vibrant colors of Hawaiian flowers provide visual relief and cheer during the hottest and sunniest parts of the year.
- Hawaiian holly shrubs tend to be tough, resilient plants that mature well when grown in full sun with consistent soil moisture and moderate fertilizer throughout the summer months.
- The Hawaiian poppies, or Pua Kala, flourish in full sun and dry soil, representing an example of delicate beauty concealing tough resilience.
- Hawaiian red hibiscus bears large, vivid red flowers that stand out boldly against Hawaii’s lush tropical backdrop.
While harsh summer conditions may seem difficult for plants, we have seen how vibrant and resilient many Hawaiian flower species truly are. These tropical beauties have adapted over time to make the most of the resources available, producing colorful bounties year after year.