The author lives in a quiet seaside community in lower Puna on the Big Island. He's an avid gardener, traveler, and photographer.
Hawaii is famously known for its exotic flora – an astounding variety of tropical flowers in every color, shade, and hue of the rainbow!
But the islands also have an abundance of flowers in simple, plain white color. From pure white to creamy white, these beautiful flowers grow everywhere: in the gardens and parks, on the beaches, in the rainforests, or along the roadsides. White tropical flowers come in a multitude of sizes and shapes; some are native to Hawaii, others are introduced species.
To compensate for the lack of brilliant colors (as often seen in tropical flowers), many white tropical flowers have developed a unique characteristic: they secrete intoxicating scents. The perfume is usually released during night time, making these flowers more “visible” and thus attracting insects for pollination.
Note: The photos in this gallery are photographed at the author’s property in lower coastal Puna on the Big Island (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 12b). The flowers featured here represent only a small percentage of white flowering species that can be found in Hawaii. There are many more! For example, orchids alone have hundreds of white color varieties.
White Flower Gardening Tips
- White flowers provide a “cooling” effect for the garden, especially in Hawaii where it’s hot and humid year round!
- They are a perfect choice for dark or shady corners of the garden because they magically lighten up those areas!
- They appear to “glow” at dusk, especially when planting en masse, creating a dreamy and enchanted look for the garden in the evening.
- They blend in well with flowers of any other colors, as well as the surrounding green foliage, because white is a neutral color.
- When planted next to other brightly colored flowers (e.g. red, yellow, orange), white flowers reduce the intensity of those bright colors, thus giving the garden a more balanced, harmonious look.
Did You Know
White is the color most associated with light, purity, and peace.
In Western culture, white flowers symbolize virginity, devotion, and virtue; they are traditionally used in weddings (white roses) or religious celebrations (Easter lilies).
In Eastern culture, white is the color of mourning and white flowers are often seen at funerals as they symbolize reincarnation or new beginning.
The author planted many white flowers in his garden. His favorite is the elegant white ginger.
All photos were taken by the author with an Olympus Stylus TG-630 iHS digital camera and iPhone 6.
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2016 Viet Doan (punacoast)
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Viet Doan (author) from Big Island, Hawaii on September 05, 2016:
I love white bougainvillea too! They look spectacular when mixing with colorful bougainvillea like purple, red, magenta, etc. My garden is quite low maintenance, the flowers thrive and multiply practically on their own. I just trim back now and then to keep things from turning into a jungle! Thanks Alun, so glad you enjoy the hub. Aloha, Viet
Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on September 05, 2016:
Very good selection of your photos Viet Doan, and I'm sure many like me will envy you living with these flowers in your own garden on Hawaii's Big Island! I have seen many of these myself, though not in Hawaii, and agree with all the points you make about the merits of white flowers. The Bougainvillea in particular attracts me - possibly my favourite tropical plant, but I've never seen one as pure white as the one you show here. Cheers, Alun
Viet Doan (author) from Big Island, Hawaii on September 04, 2016:
Aloha AliciaC! I'm so glad you enjoy this article and the photos. Happy gardening!
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 03, 2016:
This is a lovely article. The flowers and the photos are beautiful and the facts are interesting. It looks like you have a wonderful garden!
Viet Doan (author) from Big Island, Hawaii on September 03, 2016:
Mahalo Blond Logic! You know, I wish I could "attach" the fragrant of these flowers into this hub so readers could enjoy the garden walk even more! So glad you like the photos. Yes, thank you Mother Nature. Aloha!
Mary Wickison from Brazil on September 03, 2016:
Isn't nature wonderful! These images are stunning and are a credit not only to mother nature, but also your photography skills. (and a green thumb). You're right, about beautiful flowers not always having to be a display of color, white flowers against dark green foliage, such as gardenias, are always an eye catcher. The scent as you say, push these hue colored challenged flowers to the forefront for many gardeners.