Go and Grow

Hawaiian Plant Fact Sheet

Whether you’re growing plants introduced to Hawaiʻi from other parts of the Pacific, or growing native plants found only in these Islands, keep in mind that different plant species may have different needs. Some plants need moisture often, while others should be watered sparingly. Some plants love sunlight all day, while others need shade.

For seedlings, make sure that your potting soil is moist, but not constantly wet—soil that retains too much moisture may result in plant rot! Warm weather is also good for many plant seedlings, but it’s best not to leave young seedlings in direct sun all day, as this may damage their delicate new leaves. After sprouting, keep the seedlings mostly in shade for the first few weeks, then, as the leaves grow out, allow the plants to have more sunlight.

Although some plants can live happily in one pot for a long time, once your plant is twice as tall as its pot, you should consider repotting it. Or once your plant is about 12 inches tall, or spreading out to 12 inches, consider finding a spot to plant it in your home garden!

The table below provides information about how long it may take for your seeds to sprout (or germinate), what kind of natural habitat they come from, and how much water and sun will support their growth.

Learn more about Native Hawaiian plants at Bishop Museum’s Ethnobotany Online Database

Hawaiian Name
Scientific Name
Habitat
Germination
Watering
Sunlight
Kukui
Aleurites moluccana
Coastal, inland, upland
3–4 months
 2–3 times a week
 Full sun
Noni
Morinda citrifolia
Coastal, inland, upland
2–6 months
 2–3 times a week
 Full sun
Milo
Thespesia populnea
Coastal, inland, upland
1–2 months
 2–3 times a week
 Full sun to partial shade
Kou
Cordia subcordata
Coastal, inland
1–4 months
 2–3 times a week
 Full sun to partial shade
Pōhinahina
Vitex rotundifolia
Coastal, inland
3–6 months
 1–2 times a week
 Full sun
Naupaka Kahakai
Scaevola taccada
Coastal
1–3 months
 1–2 times a week
 Full sun
Nanea
Vigna marina
Coastal
2–3 weeks
 2–3 times a week
 Full sun
Mānele
Sapindus saponaria
Inland, upland
2–3 months
 1–2 times a week
 Full sun to partial shade
Kolomona
Senna gaudichaudii
Inland, upland
4–8 weeks
 1–2 times a week
 Full sun
Loulu
Pritchardia spp.
Inland, upland
2–3 months
 1–2 times a week
 Full sun to partial shade
Lonomea
Sapindus oahuensis
Inland, upland
2–3 months
 1–2 times a week
 Full sun to partial shade

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