Common Plants Used In Hawaii Landscape Design

There are many common plants used throughout Hawaii in landscaping and design. Often times you will see these same plants used over and over throughout residential and commercial landscapes. Some of the most common and tropical looking plants include: ti leaf, laua’e fern, and gardenia bushes.

Ti leaf plants come in a variety of colors and are one of the most commonly used plants found in landscaping throughout Hawaii. The most commonly used ti leaf plants are the green variety and red variety. Here are samples of both and how they can be incorporated into your landscape design.

green ti leafred ti leaf plantseashore paspalum2

The laua’e fern is one of the most commonly used ferns throughout Hawaii for landscaping. It’s unique glossy green leaves have two types of leaves – spore bearing and vegetation. This plant is not native to Hawaii however can be seen used as a runner or groundcover in Hawaii yards.

lauae fern

Gardenia bushes are among a favorite shrub used throughout Hawaii yards, partly because of the delightful smelling flowers the shrub produces. This plant does particularly well in high humidity warm weather so is perfect for growing in Hawaii. There are many different varieties of gardenia, some actually are native to Hawaii, however the most commonly used gardenias usually are not native Hawaiian plants.


In future posts we’ll take a look at more commonly used Hawaiian plants for landscaping and design.


Native Hawaiian Plants For Landscaping

Hawaii’s unique year-round warm weather poses some difficulties for landscaping. Because of the climate many common plants typically used in the mainland are not optimum to grow in Hawaii. However, there are many native plants to Hawaii that are much easier to grown and maintain and once established, generally require little watering saving you time spent in your yard, and money spent on watering.

Mulch should be used to help soil retain moisture. Hawaiian landscapers can even use mulch along walkways and borders as a simple no maintenance solution that looks both clean and stylish all while conditioning the soil and helping to retain moisture.

Ground Covers require less watering and for the most part require no mowing or trimming. Ground covers can also be used along walkways and borders or can be used in place of grass and once established require minimal watering and maintenance. Some of the common ground covers used in Hawaii are:

  • Ilima Papa
  • Akia
  • Wedelia
  • ‘Ala’alawainui
  • Native Flowers can be used to add color and texture to your landscape design. Some common flowers used in Hawaii landscaping include:

  • Sida
  • Scaevola
  • Ohia Lehua
  • For more information on Landscaping options for design click here

    Seashore Paspalum

    Due to Hawaii’s unique year-round high humidity warm weather, the typical types of grass grown in the mainland tend to fail or do very poorly. Because of the many climate conditions there are only a few varieties of grass seen throughout the Hawaiian islands. One strand of grass in particular is the Seashore Paspalum which can be used for homes, or landscaping that resides near the beach due to this strain’s high tolerance for salt spray. The Seashore Paspalum type grass spreads and creates a dense turf with slightly coarse blades and is great for foot traffic. This type of grass does well in moist conditions and can tolerate full sun or partial shade year round. It’s a good idea to flood your lawn if you have this type of grass and live near the ocean to wash out the accumulation of salts every so often, perhaps once per year. This type of grass should be kept at about 1 inch in height, and is commonly seen used on golf courses near the ocean. Here are some photos of Seashore Paspalum to get an idea of what your lawn might look like with this type of grass:

    seashore paspalum3

    seashore paspalum2seashore paspalum1