Kauai: A Tropical Garden Inspiration

The stormy weather hitting the bay area this past weekend and week makes me want to just snuggle up on the couch and watch the rain, from the comfort of my living room, not bothering to venture out in it. For me the weather seems like a very drastic change because I was just in Kauai on my honeymoon, enjoying the 80 degree sunshine-y weather by the pool (with a little rain for cooling). To warm up your week I figured I could share my experience on the “garden island” and some tropical garden inspiration. You just cannot go to Hawaii and not be inspired by the tropical plant pallet, even the plants just along the highway!

tropical plants

I love seeing all the Torch Ginger blooms, Plumeria flowers and Dendrobium Orchids planted in the ground as we explored the island. You also can’t help but fall (back) in love with Palm trees while in Hawaii. The tropical ferns add texture and interest to planting beds and create a very lush look. While on a day trip to Waimea Canyon State Park I discovered Kauai’s own vertical gardening techniques – ferns just growing on the dirt “walls” along the road – at least 12 feet tall. A very beautiful and natural sight.

One plant I saw everywhere that we are familiar with here in the Bay Area is Bougainvillea. The Bougainvillea can be a tricky plant to grow in our climate, particularly in the East Bay where we get frost, but in Kauai I saw it everywhere – including along the highway, growing as a shrub! Made me laugh to see a plant I have heard so many people try to grow without success and in Kauai it’s a highway plant! In the bay area we are fortunate enough to be able to grow some varieties of tropical and sub tropical plants, but they are not as lush as I found them in the tropical island region.

tropical plants1

We stayed on the south side of the island near the town of Poipou, our resort, the Grand Hyatt, had beautiful, lush grounds with many different tropical plant varieties. I noticed this particular planting on our last day at the front entrance. It could be recreated at home in the bay area if you did desire a tropical look in your garden and lived in a sunset zone that has coastal influence.


Of course some of the plant varieties would have to be switched, like the orchids for a plant with a similar effect, like a daylily (Hemerocallis spp.). A sub tropical garden look can happen in areas of the Bay Area, you just have to use hardier varieties that will survive outside of tropical areas like Kauai. We have installed quite a few successful gardens filled with beautiful Torch Ginger plants, Bougainvillea, Birds of Paradise and ferns in the San Francisco and Oakland neighborhoods. If you are interested in a tropical plant pallet be sure to do your plant research to pick the best varieties for your location. If you need help and advise feel free to contact us, we’re here to help and especially love creating plant pallets, contact us today! Hope the thought of a tropical paradise warmed your stormy day up, even just a little!

Here are a few more photos to day dream about, If you haven’t been to Kauai, I strongly recommend a trip:
tropical plants2

2 Responses to “Kauai: A Tropical Garden Inspiration”

  1. Blythe Buetzow

    I knew you would love the landscaping on Kauai – both planned and natural! Isn’t it a beautiful island?

  2. cassidywalkup

    It was amazing! Such a beautiful island, I took over 600 photos!

Comments are closed.