The Weatherproof Warriors: 5 Native Plants For Your Authentic Hawaiian Landscape

Pohinahina and Lava Rock in a Native Hawaiian GardenAre you looking to weatherproof your landscape? Do you find it hard for anything to grow in your garden in this Summer heat?

If you answered yes or even maybe…then you need some help from the weatherproof warriors. I know of no better warriors to suggest than our own natives. They have been weathering this climate since the beginning of vegetation in these islands.

Hearty, wholesome, and heroic, these warriors grow practically anywhere. They need nothing more than what comes their way via the winds and rain. You can find them up in the mountains, down at the beach, and everywhere in between. They have even found themselves front and center at Kauai Seascapes Nursery. Because they don’t require any irrigation they are easily incorporated into the landscape.

Here are a few of the elite native plants that Kauai Seascapes Nursery carries:



A sprawling shrub, with an enduring life span, ‘A’ali’i, is great as an accent, in a container, as a hedge, and for erosion control. The name ‘A’ali’i ku makani means “standing in the wind,” which suggests the plants ability to grow in strong winds. True to its warrior nature, it is an excellent plant that will thrive in dry, windy, full sun areas where few other plants would survive.



A dense, sprawling ground cover ‘Akia has proven itself over the years to be one of the best landscape plants for Hawaii’s environment. They are extremely hardy, very resistant to pests, need very little water, and don’t need much maintenance. Sounds like the chief warrior to me! Not only is it tough, but beautiful as well. ‘Akia blooms little clusters of tiny, and fragrant yellow flowers that turn into small orange and red fruits. Tasty as they may seem, they are inedible. In fact, one must not chew on any part of the plant, because the stems of ‘Akia were traditionally used as a narcotic to catch fish.

‘Ilima Papa


With its dainty little flower, and small crawling limbs this plant can easily be misjudged. Don’t let its sweetness fool you! Ilima is a warrior. They thrive in extremely harsh conditions such as salt spray, wind, intense sun and heat, and even drought! This particular variety of ‘ilima lays flat and is best utilized as a ground cover. Flowers can be used for a lei befitting royalty or even as a garnish for sashimi.

Kupukupu Fern

Kupukupu Fern

The Hawaiian word Kupu means to sprout. This aptly describes this sword fern because its stems sprawl out across the surface of the dirt and take advantage of any open space. Therefore, when adding them to your landscape be sure to plant them no closer than 18 inches apart so they don’t overcrowd each other. Feisty little warriors they are! My favorite use for them in the landscape is as an accent plant around pohaku (stones).



The beach babe of the Hawaiian plants, Pohinahina often graces the local beaches and lowland regions. Its great for stabilizing the soil because it helps with erosion control. Often referred to as “Bullet Proof”, Pohinahina is a crawling, quick grower, that does best in full sun and is easy to take care of. I call it the Hawaiian sage because the silvery-green leaves have a sage like musk that can be made into some Hawaiian potpourri. Small purple flowers cluster at the top and have a striking presence in full bloom.

Proven Resilience

These 5 Hawaiian Warriors have proven their resilience to our tropical climate and have done so for thousands of years. Not only are they weatherproof, they are also pest resistant, and self sustained. They are integral part of any local landscape and will grace your gardens with strength and beauty for years to come.

Stop by the nursery to check out how we incorporate natives into the landscape!

One Response to The Weatherproof Warriors: 5 Native Plants For Your Authentic Hawaiian Landscape

  1. Kalena August 27, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Okupukpu means “fern” , the type of fern illustrated above is called, “Pamoho.”

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