June is from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, but is currently residing in New York. She loves to cook naturally with plants from her garden.
Some of the Most Beautiful & Unique Tropical Botanical Gardens are Found on the Hawaiian Islands
Hawaii is renowned for its vast variety of plant and flower species which have arrived at the Hawaiian Islands from all over the world. The tropical botanical gardens found in Hawaii are known to be some of the most beautiful, unique and diverse of all the botanical gardens in the world.
Many garden lovers travel to Hawaii just for the sole reason of seeing and experiencing the rare and exotic plants that are grown in the Hawaiian botanical gardens.
This page will show you a few of the very best Hawaii botanical gardens located on each of the islands of Hawaii. Each island has their own unique destinations and I have selected a few from the many on each island to show you here.
Each Hawaiian Island Has It's Own Unique Tropical Gardens to Visit
Every Hawaiian Island has its own tropical, botanical gardens. We will visit each island and I will tell you a little about a few of the botanical gardens that I think, in my humble opinion, are the most worthwhile to visit.
There are so many gardens and each one is unique in its own way; however, no one that is visiting for only a week on an island hop has the time to see them all!
I have selected what I think are the very best gardens on each Hawaiian island that should not be missed, to help you plan your Hawaiian Islands garden vacation.
Map of Oahu
The island of Oahu is home to many beautiful botanical gardens. If you do not island hop, and plan to only visit this island for a week, you would still not be able to see them all. I have selected two of my very favorite botanical gardens from this island to share with you.
Foster Botanical Gardens
Foster Botanical Garden is in Honolulu, on Oahu. Walking into this botanical garden is like walking into a magical, tropical, fairyland of gardens.
This Hawaiian botanical garden is the oldest in Hawaii and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been collecting and growing specimens for a period of 140 years from all over the world's tropics.
The gorgeous garden is a living museum of exotic, rare and unique beautiful plants and trees. Many of the rare plants are endangered in their own native countries.
From the rare orchids in the "Lyons Orchid Garden" to the unusual flowers like the gigantic "Corpse Flower", pictured here to the above right, this beautiful, fascinating garden is a magical, serene and educational experience.
The gardens origins began in 1853 when Queen Kalama leased a small area of land to a German botanist and physician named William Hildebrand, who later sold the 5.5 acres to a couple, Captain Thomas and his wife Mary Foster.
The oldest, towering trees that you see on the property were originally planted by Dr. Hildebrand, who is also famous for writing Flora of the Hawaiian Islands in 1888.
He wrote this book when he returned to his German homeland upon the sale of the property.
Mary Foster bequeathed the property to the City of Honolulu upon her death. The original property was further developed and expanded to 13.5 acres by Dr. Lyon and Paul R. Weissich
Foster Botanical Gardens Are Currently Landscaped Into The Following Sections:
Lyon Orchid Garden - a collection of Old and New World orchid species. Most of the orchids here were planted from Dr. Lyon's private collection.
Main Terrace - the oldest part of the garden dating from 1853, was planted by Dr. Hildebrand and where the Hillebrands built their home.
Middle Terraces - is the heart of the gardens. It features palms, aroids, heliconia and ginger. When walking through this area you are surrounding by the exotic perfume of the ginger plants wafting with the warm, tropical breeze.
Economic Garden - herb garden, spices, dyes, poisons and beverage plants. This section is home to the many healing or medicinal plants used in Hawaii.
Prehistoric Glen Cycad Collection - primitive plants from around the world.
Outdoor Butterfly Garden - gorgeous bloom and butterfly displays.
Exceptional Trees - 24 trees designated "exceptional" throughout the Garden. This section has several one-of-a-kind specimens and protected trees of exceptional stature.
Telly the Talipot Palm at Foster Garden
Visting Hours at Foster Botanical Gardens
$5.00 - General, 13 years and older
$3.00 - Resident of Hawaii, 13 years and older with ID
$1.00 - Child, 6 to 12 years old
FREE - Child, 5 years old and under (must be with adult)
$25.00 - Annual family pass
Garden Hours - Open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Closed Christmas and New Year's days.
* Guided tours are offered at 1:00 p.m. on Monday through Saturday of each week. Reservations are suggested as tours are based on availability of volunteer docents. Other tours may be arranged upon request. Call (808) 522-7066 for information.
* The Garden is a favorite place for weddings and photo taking. A permit is required for weddings and commercial photography.
Call (808) 522-7066 for wedding information.
For further information, please contact:
The Department of Parks and Recreation
180 N. Vineyard Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Phone: (808) 522-7065
Foster Botanical Garden - Honolulu, Hawaii
Waimea Valley has always been a spiritual center to the Hawaiians on the North Shore of the Island of Oahu. Despite how the Christian missionaries attempted to destroy the sacred heiaus (temples), the Hale o' Lono Heaiu, and other Hawaiian religious sites in the Waimea Valley, are still in use today.
Years ago, when I was a little girl, Waimea Valley was a wonderful, untamed tropical jungle, full of lush vegetation, exotic plants and waterfalls gushing down from the mountain into the pools below.
There were wild taro and banana patches; towering coconut trees intermingled amidst the ulu (breadfruit) trees; old puka puka (porous lava rock) stone walls built by the menehune (little people) surrounded an ancient and sacred heiau reminiscent of ancient Hawaii.
When I Was a Child....
The only way that you could access the falls back then was by following the trails on foot or on horseback. Some places were so overgrown than my Father and Uncle had to hack through the vines with their machetes to make a trail to get through.
Once we were able to slip and slide over the wet, moss covered rocks and make our way through the giant hapu'u ferns and the canopy of trees covered in vines, the delight at the end of the trail was to be able to swim in the ice cold pool of fresh mountain rainwater gushing down from the high cliffs of the valley walls.
It was great fun diving off of those cliffs!
To us keikis (children) it was a sacred and magical place. When we were pau (finished) swimming we would eat wild waiwi (strawberry guavas) while sitting at the edge of the pool listening to the stories my Uncle would tell about the menehune building the walls in the dark of the night by the light of luna (moon).
I can remember the chicken skin (goose bumps) I would get while thinking I could feel the eyes of the menehune watching us from the shadows of the deep dark jungle beyond the rays of the sunlight that filtered through the thick mantle of trees.
Waimea Valley Audubon Botanical Gardens
Since my childhood days, the valley has seen many changes.
First the road into the valley was paved so that the tourist could drive into the newly paved parking lot instead of hiking into the valley.
A concession stand was built so that those that were adventurous enough to dare the hike could have refreshments of soda and chips upon their return.
For the ones that weren't so adventurous, they began putting on hula shows and cliff diving shows to entertain while they waited for the return of the hikers.
There is now a tram that takes visitors to the shows and gives a guided tour of 78 archaeological sites along the way or if you choose you can rent a bicycle and ride the trails.
Waimea Valley is now a protected garden of over 1800 acres that is home to 36 major botanical collections, representing some 5,000 species from all over the world.
One of the Many Peacocks Living at the Gardens
It is also a bird sanctuary that was established by the Audubon Society. When the Audubon Society could no longer afford the cost of the up keep the Valley with bird sanctuary and gardens were turned over to the guardianship of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).
The plant collections focus on an excellent collection of very rare native Hawaiian plants, Polynesian introductions, and plants of the island's ecosystems. It is one of the finest collections of Polynesian plants in existence, including endangered species native to Lord Howe Island.
The garden is also home to individual gardens dedicated to rare plants from Guam, Madagascar, the Mascarene Islands, the Ogasawara Islands, and the Seychelles.
Visitors can walk the trails today and see the remains of ancient Hawaiian villages and explore the life of kahiko (ancient) Hawaii with craft demonstrations, cliff diving, hula dancing, and language lessons. The park perpetuates the old Hawaiian lifestyle.
For More Information About the Park Please Visit:
Visiting Hours at Waimea Valley Audubon Botanical Gardens
$10.00 - Adults
$6.00 - Kamaaina (Residents with state ID)
$5.00 - Keiki (Children)
$5.00 - Seniors, and Military.
Garden Hours - Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
Closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
For further information, please contact:
59-864 Kamehameha Highway
Hale'iwa, Hawai'i, 96712
Located in Waimea Valley inland from Waimea Beach Park on the North Shore of Oahu
This beautiful coffee table book by David Leaser pays homage to Hawai'i's botanical gardens and the lush foliage found within them.
Included are historical notes and tidbits bringing each major garden in Hawai'i to life in the comfort of your own home.
The pages overflow with gorgeous photography of plumerias, hibiscus, banyan trees, orchids, proteas, and so much more.
Highlighted are garden pioneers such as Mary Foster (of Foster Botanical Garden fame), who solicited the help of botanist Harold Lyon to restore the Foster Botanical Garden, as well as others who developed their own botanical gardens, many for private use.
Tropical Gardens of Hawaii
Hawaii Botanical Gardens - Hawaii (The Big Island )
It was difficult choosing only two of the gardens on the Big Island of Hawaii. There are not only many beautiful gardens, but hundreds of orchid and plant nurseries that double as gardens with guided tours. The island is like a huge green house.
A Garden in a Valley on the Ocean
A "Must See" on your Hawai'i vacation is on the eastern part of the island almost 9 miles from Hilo. The Garden is located off of the Hamakua Coast on the Four-Mile Scenic Route, at the back of Onomea Valley.
This award-winning garden's dramatic entrance gate lies just across the street from a beautiful new visitor center with ample free parking surrounded by the lush rain forest jungle. Upon entering the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens Visitor Center notice the ohi'a logs that are supporting the roof of the lanai (porch). The ohi'a is indigenous to Hawai'i and only grows in the volcano areas.
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens Bordwalk
The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a museum of living plants that attracts visitors from all walks of life including, but not limited to, artists, photographers, gardeners, botanists, scientists, and nature lovers from all over the world.
This one-of-a-kind garden is tucked away in a 40-acre valley, that is home to a magnificent collection of tropical plants from all over the world. It is protected from the trade winds by its high walls brimming with lush, tropical vegetation. The rain forest is growing out of rich, fertile volcanic soil and boast over 2,000 species of plants, more than 125 families and over 750 genera.
Some of the garden's enormous mango and coconut palm trees are over 100 years old. Tropical plants that struggle to grow in homes and gardens across America reach gigantic proportions here. It has an almost Jurrasic Park feel to it as if you had gone back in time and walked into a prehistoric jungle.
Now that the rainforests are being decimated at an alarming rate, and the natural habitats are all but vanishing from off the face of the earth, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is working to preserve as many species as possible for our future generations.
Visiting Hours at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens
$15.00 - Adults
$5.00 - Keiki (Children) Ages 6 - 16
Free - Children under 6
Garden Hours - Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with Garden admissions ending at 4pm.
Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Golf Cart Assistance
Visitors walk the 500 foot dramatic, beautifully landscaped boardwalk down into the Garden on the ocean. This boardwalk alone is a photographer's paradise that should not be missed.
The boardwalk is not wheelchair accessible. The Garden provides golf carts to transport wheelchair-bound visitors with their companion and their wheelchairs up and down the boardwalk. Once you've exited the boardwalk, you may use your wheelchair through most of the Garden. Only non-electric wheelchairs are permitted entry into the Garden.
For a $5 fee, Golf Cart assistance can be provided to those visitors that are not wheelchair-bound but otherwise physically limited.
To preserve the serenity and non-pollution of this beautiful garden we discourage the use of golf carts on the boardwalk unless absolutely necessary, and only after seeking and receiving permission to do so.
27-717 Old Mamalahoa Highway
P.O. Box 80, Papaikou, HI 96781
Phone: 808-964-5233 FAX: 808-964-1338
Or Visit the Gardens Website at:
If you have a real interest in gardening (not just a casual gardener) with tropical flowers and plants from Hawaii or you are a botanist interested in the flora and fauna of Hawaii, then this book is for you!
This book is a horticulturist delight full of information on Hawaii's tropical plants. It includes information on disease prone species, historical data, planting suggestions and outcome in different locations and altitudes, insect vulnerability, and so much more.
On the down side, the book does not contain color photographs. However, the in-depth information covering such a high volume of cataloged Hawaiian plants more than makes up for the lacking and cannot be found in any other publication I am aware of
World Botanical Gardens
World Botanical Gardens is 275 acres of beauty.
The northern acreage of the Garden borders on the unique three-tiered Umauma Falls that is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the Big Island with a 300-foot drop from the crest of the falls. The falls are a feed off from the Hanapueo Falls above it.
Locals still love to fish these falls for fresh water opi (shrimp) and small fish.
As you drive up the access road from the World Botanical Gardens main entrance, you will reach an overlook of Kamae'e Falls.
At the overlook you can view the waterfall gushing down a sheer rock cliff covered with ferns and other native vegetation to a crystal clear pool below.
Also visible from this vantage point is a view of Mauna Kea volcano and the green pastures of a local cattle ranch.
Lower Umauma Falls
World Botanical Garden is Centered in a Rain Forest
The World Botanical Garden is always a blaze of vibrant, tropical color from the orchids, hibiscus, heliconia and red wiliwili blossoms (to name a few) while the air is heavy with the heady aroma of wild white ginger, yellow ginger and sweet red geraniums.
The gardens have shady, wide, paved walkways that guide visitors along a cascading creek, beneath towering rain forest trees draped with the pendulous tropical vines and gigantic leaves of the Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Pinnatum) throughout the rain forest.
This is another area we use to hike and swim when we were kids, and when my kids were younger, for free. Since the World Botanical Gardens purchased the property, only about 20 years ago, the gardens are still considered young but have continued to grow into a huge commercial garden.
They now are exhibiting a large variety of plants with more than 5000 species. Hundreds of wild orchids are now growing along the paved trails and around the trees and they cling to the gardens 80 meter (over 262 feet) long Orchid Wall in the Rainbow Walk.
Visit their Arboretum where you will see the exotic, tropical edible plants such as mango, guava, papaya, pineapple, banana, breadfruit, coffee and many, many more on their horticultural tours. You are given the opportunity to experience the flavors of the fresh luscious ripe fruits.
They have also added fun things for the kids and those with a more adventurous spirit; a Children's Maze, a Segway Tour and a Zip Line Adventure.
A Children's Maze, the second-largest herbaceous maze in the world, has been created from thousands of mock orange bushes planted in a regular array of hedge work. Visitors, young and old alike, can have a great time figuring out their way as they wandering through it.
Zip Isle Zip Line and Segway Adventures
In 2010 the Segway and Zip Isle Zip Line Adventures where added to the cost of the gardens entry fee for those with a more adventurous spirit.
The guided tours packages are a bit pricey, but well worth it for what they include. Included is a 30-minute Introductory Segway Tour with a certified Segway guide.
The guide will instruct you on the fundamentals of riding a Segway through the scenic Rain forest Trail where you can visit historic areas and explore the rain forest.
Then you can zoom over a canopy of tropical trees and acres of lush tropical gardens on a 2-hour Zip line! The zip is on a 7-stage Zip Line on a breath-taking 150 foot suspension bridge giving you a totally unique way to 'hang loose' and see the scenic Hawaiian countryside from a 'birds-eye' view.
You will experience the thrill of a lifetime while viewing the unique features the Big Island has to offer such as Mauna Kea volcano, waterfalls, and the rain forest.
Visiting Information at the World Botanical Gardens
General Admission for a One Day Pass Self-Guided Gardens and Waterfalls Tour:
$15.00 - Adults
$ 6.00 - Kaimaina (Residents with State ID)
$ 7.00 - Teens (13 - 17)
$ 3.00 - Keiki (Children) Ages 5 - 12
Free - Children under 5
Garden Hours - Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
Click this Link for Further Tour and Package Pricing:
World Botanical Gardens Location & Contact Info:
Mile Marker 16 on Highway 19
31-240 Old Mamalahoa Highway
Hakalau, Hawaii 96710
Local Phone: 808-963-5427
Toll Free: 888-947-4753
Hawaii Botanical Gardens - Maui
Maui is home to an incredible assortment of botanical gardens, that range from lavender flower to multi-herbal gardens; from silversword to proteus; and from endemic tropical to worldwide tropical. Most of the gardens are open for either guided or self-guided tours. We will only be covering a few from the multitude of selections Maui has to offer.
Garden of Eden Arboretum - Puohokamoa Valley
Maui Garden of Eden
One of my most favorite spots in the world use to be Hana, Maui.
On the road to Hana you will find the Garden of Eden Arboretum of the Puohokamoa Valley. This is a unique 26 acre garden that is really geared more for the tourist, but it is beautiful, it is fun and it is an experience.
Keopuka Rock, which you may have seen in the film "Jurassic Park", is located on the property.
There is an extensive macaw and peacock aviary, waterfalls and a collection of over 500 different species of tropical plants, including the most extensive collection of Ti plants in the State of Hawaii.
Ti has a long history of usage by the Hawaiian people for medicinal preparation and healing; in ceremonies and rituals; and in preparing and serving food. It is considered one of Hawaii's most useful plants.
In the bottom of the photo of Keopuka Rock, shown on the right, there are four different varieties of ti plants.
All of the plants at the Garden of Eden come from South Pacific, South American and Central American rain forests.
There are also many species of plants which are indigenous to Hawaii. The park was designed by Alan Bradbury with the aim of restoring the area's natural ecosystem.
Bud the Birdman performs daily with his 10 best trained show birds, including macaws, parrots and cockatoos. Kids and adults alike love this bird show.
As you can see from the photo on the right, Bud's birds are so well trained they will perform like this for photo shoots, no matter who is posing for the photo.
Visit the Park's Photo Gallery
Visiting Hours at Garden of Eden Arboretum
Garden Hours: Daily
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Wedding Packages Are Available
For further information, please call (808) 572-9899