A TRIP TO THE TROPICS The Hawaiian Tropics Botanical Garden – Hilo, HI

Filed under Plants, Misc by Lauren Cook on .

  One of my favorite things about traveling to tropical places is checking out all their local flora. The thing that tickles me the most is that most of the plants you see growing wild in some of your favorite vacation spots would only survive as mere house plants in Southern Illinois. “Giant-sized” Ficus, Draceana, Amaryllis, and Diffenbachia all growing wild on the side of the road. I never even knew jade plants flowered until I saw a jade tree in full bloom in Pasadena, CA.

  On my first trip to Hawaii last January, we  visited the Hawaiian Tropics Botanical Garden in Hilo, HI. Hawaiian Tropics was founded by Dan J. Lutkenhouse. Lutkenhouse traveled to Hawaii from San Fransisco in 1977 . He sold his trucking business to buy this run-down parcel of ocean-front property in Onomea Valley. He had come to Hawaii to start a new business, but he never thought he would end up devoting his life to preserving this little piece of heaven. It took Dan and his wife many years to reclaim the area from the vigorous brush growth and strangling vines of the jungle, but in the end it is all worth it because they revealed a giant, three-tiered waterfall!

Check out some of the cool plants we spotted growing amongst the volcanic rock of the Big Island!



So, how do you get that “Tropical-feel” at home? How about incorporating some of these hardy plants to turn your patio or pool area into a stay-at-home vacation.

    • Hardy Hibiscus

    • Hardy Banana

    • Canna

    • Bamboo

    • Crape Myrtle

    • Variegated Yucca