11 Ground Cover Plants Hawaii – A New Breath To Your Greenery

In typical climates like Hawaii, native plants sound ideal thanks to their great adaptability and endurance.

If you are looking for options for fast-growing ground cover plants Hawaii for your tropical-themed garden, stop by our article today.

Besides improving the greenery of outdoor spaces, the ground cover organisms also help prevent soil from erosion and fight against weed invasions.

Applying the mixed-species plantings, for example, ground cover and evergreen Hawaii are worthy vegetation for your green spaces.

11 Common Ground Cover Plants Hawaii

ground cover plants hawaii
Ground Cover Plants Hawaii

If you want to introduce some Hawaiian vibes to your garden, here are some ground cover plants native to Hawaii: A’ali’i, Ilima papa, Pā‘ūohi‘iaka, Ākia, Pōhinahina, Bacopa, and more.

Scroll down to know!


The origin of this sprawling shrub is the Soapberry family. Standing out from the pale green or yellow foliage are burgundy, scarlet, or plum purple flowers.

You rarely have difficulties in finding this species as it grows through the island of Hawaii.

This plant has impressive wind resistance, explained by its name ‘A’ali’i (i.e., the pillar against the wind in Hawaiian). The drier the environment and the more sunshine and wind, the lusher the tree grows.

‘A’ali’i are quite suitable for planting at the outermost edges of terraces, where they can shield other ground plants inside.

Ilima Papa

The shrub Ilima papa has an average height of 7.5 cm and can spread around 1.5 cm over time. The yellow flowers are usually called the “mini version” of Hibiscus.

Mossy leaves are shaped by soft and rounded shell-shaped curves. You can use these pretty petals for other decorative purposes.

Contrary to its mushy appearance, Ilima papa can survive well in different harsh conditions, including wind, salt air, or even drought.

Therefore, you don’t need to worry about its durability or longevity when growing it.

Do not hesitate to sow Ilima papa in the corners of the garden or somewhere with full exposure to the sun, rough soil texture, etc.


Despite being a wild vine species, this species does not twine other objects to survive. They share the same height and expansion as Ilima papa.

Pastel blue cup-shaped flowers make their appearance much more identifiable. Standard green leaves have smooth or pointed edges depending on the distribution areas.

Resistance is at a good average level. They can grow in windy, sunny, and even salt areas with mild to moderate intensity.

Places with fully sunny or medium shade are wise planting spots, but remember to spare a 30-45 cm distance for the surrounding plants.


Akia is the most characteristic undergrowth plant of the island of Hawaii.

Talking about Akia, we remind you of 3 visual points: Dense bushes about 25-60 centimeters tall, small, round olive leaves, and trumpet-shaped pale yellow flowers.

Over time, you’ll see these flower clusters transform into tiny orange clusters. The fresh scent that spreads lightly in the space is also a favorite advantage of Akia, yet you had better not consume them.

Besides durable resistance in many environmental conditions (like other Hawaiian plants), Akia can protect itself from pests. It does not require a strict watering schedule or caring techniques.

You can save much time and effort when planting this one, but you should trim them sometimes to stimulate tree branching.


best ground cover for hawaii
Pohinahina In Hawaii

Pohinahina contributes to the landscape of many local beaches along Hawaii (such as Waikiki or Maui). People often like this plant to the muse of the beach.

Clusters of pale purple blossoms bloom on small silvery green leaves.

Pohinahina is fairly taller than other ground cover plants (at least 60-centimeter height), so don’t be surprised to see Pohinahina planted as green hedges in some places.

Pohinahina easily becomes a messy shrub in golden development. We recommend regularly trimming to keep the plant in your desired shape.


Bacopa enjoys and blooms fruitfully in moist soils, distinguishing them from others above. The leaves are thick with a glossy, succulent surface that grows opposite each other.

Five-petaled flowers are mainly cold tones such as white (common), light purple, or light blue.

Bacopa has been shown to have many health-related benefits. It has also been widely applied to traditional medicine in several Asian countries.

You need to pay attention to give enough moisture in your Bacopa area. A minimum light source of 6 hours is required to support photosynthesis.


Hinahina attracts gardeners thanks to its straight stem shape and flower fragrance, something quite unfamiliar in ground shrubs. The leaves are less pigmented green but more white or silvery.

If you toss to find a plant for the sandy soil in your garden, you cannot ignore Hinahina. Sand coupled with dry heat is their preferred environment.

For the plant to grow well in normal soil, make sure the soil is well drained, as wet soil can easily threaten Hinahina’s life.

Golden Glory

Golden Glory is a great choice if you yearn for bowery and green vegetation for your small garden. Foliage is thick with broad coverage, which is ready to absorb plenty of light sources.

This plant’s strength also lies in the strong root. The roots are usually very deep and firmly rooted in the soil, so they easily conquer steep slopes and prevent soil erosion.

This common cover crop species is weakly salt tolerant. Therefore, it is better not to plant Golden Glory in coastal areas.


Kupukupu belongs to the genus of ferns, so the leaves typically have long, straight sword shapes. The plant has a relative height that the tallest can be up to 60 centimeters.

Ferns are slightly different, as they prefer degrees of shade (medium shade, partial shade) and moist soil rather than plenty of sunlight or heat.

If you grow them under the same conditions as Alilia or Pā’ūohi’iaka, they will still survive with less vigor.


hawaii ground cover plants
Nehe In Hawaii

The first herb on the list is Nehe. At first, Nehe was easily confused with grass variety because of its foliage structure: light green, small, and densely intertwined.

The pale yellow or white flowers are similar to daisies but are tinier.

Its small size does not affect its endurance in humid conditions. In particular, Hawaiian people consider Nehe as a solution for coastal gardens.

Keep an eye on pests and diseases during the planting period. Nehe doesn’t seem to be able to get rid of insects or foliar parasites. Let it stay away from snails, worms, or bugs.


Closing today’s list is a vine shrub with fancy star-shaped flowers. The green foliage of I’lie’e is soft, scalloped, and has low average coverage.

You can easily catch this low shrub sprawling on the ground and forming a light green mat dotted with bluish white flowers. That’s so pleasing to the eyes.

I’lie’e enjoys the sun and dry weather, but only in moderate amounts, so you should consider the location before cutting them into the soil.

A drought or rainy season can deprive a tree of life. Summer is the perfect period to plant the I’lie’e.


In general, those 11 ground cover plants Hawaii are all hardy, resilient, and extremely easy-going plants. Some plants exhibit strengths in certain habitats.

Look closely at the environmental conditions where you plan to keep the ground cover.

For example, choose ‘A’ali’i for windy corners or plant Hinahina for vacant sandy land. That way, you can promote their beauty and advantages in weed suppression and soil erosion control.

You will get worthy results after attempting to find and nurture plant varieties into a fully green space. The fresh landscape will help you escape from the occupied moments of daily working life.

Samuel Mark

Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

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