Hawaiian homeowners are fortunate in their ability to choose among a variety of native plants to create a landscape design. Whether you are seeking natives for a harsh beach environment or drought tolerant natives that will survive above average rainfall, Greg Boyer Landscape Corp can outfit your property with natives that will thrive in your garden environment. As a talented landscape architect who has created stunning designs since 1975, founder Greg Boyer has two convenient locations in Kilauea, Kauai and Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Here Greg discusses native plants that have been successful in the tropical gardens this landscape contractor has created in Hawaii.
5 Native Hawaiian Plants Ideal for Any Landscape
1. Naupaka Kahakai
Probably the most common shrub of all Hawaiian natives, the common beach naupaka can be seen on most Big Island shorelines living on natural rainfall. The leaves are thick pulpy light green color with small whitish flowers. The plant can reach a height of 10 feet but most shrub beds along the shoreline are 3-5 feet high but extremely wide. This is the perfect plant to crate privacy between your beach cottage and the local beach-goers that share the beach.
2. Koki’o Ke’oke’o (Native White Hibiscus)
There are several native hibiscus species in production. Koki’o is a favorite in the landscape industry. It has white flowers with a very long stamen and will grow in both wet and dry conditions. This plant likes to be pruned and can be shaped as a formal hedge or trimmed in a more organic style. Pruning them regularly will increase flower production and keep them from becoming leggy. If you need a plant that will take it hot and dry and still give you a ton of flowers, this is ideal.
3. Kupukupu Fern
Although there are many native ferns, few have been successfully cultivated and are available for sale. The Kupukupu Fern can be seen growing in full sun in the hot, dry lava fields but will adapt to a shady environment as well. As a native, this plant can live on natural rainfall in most island areas except the hot leeward coasts where 1 inch of water per week would be enough. This fern will spread fast to keep weeds from entering the planter beds. Having an edger between the lawn and this ground cover is advisable to manage the slightly invasive growing characteristics.
4. Aeae, Bacopa (Angel’s Tears)
Aeae is one of the few native ground covers that thrives in very wet areas. It will tolerate brackish water as well as fresh water and prefers to be kept constantly moist. The foliage is small shiny light green leaves with tiny light blue flowers. Is is an ideal plant for sunny wet areas of the garden and will also do well in a harsh salty environment. It likes to spread although it is not aggressive and it can even be mowed. This versatile plant will grow directly in ponds or streams, making it a good choice to soften the rock edges of your small pond.
5. Akulikuli (Hawaiian Portulaca)
Akulikuli has small light green succulent leaves with a tinge of red and will produce delicate star-shaped pink to light purple flowers. It is a spreading succulent that requires no trimming and thrives in a harsh beach environment. It requires full sun and will grow to a height of 2-5 inches. If you want a tough plant that requires no care, this is the perfect ground cover for your beach property.
With so many native plants to consider, choosing when and where to use them can be challenging. This is precisely where the plant specialists at Greg Boyer Landscape Corp can help you explore the possibilities. Visit their website for directions to their 5 acre landscape nursery facility in Kailua-Kona. Their knowledgeable team will ensure your private oasis has happy and healthy plants thriving in their new environment.