Hawaiian White Hibiscus: A Fragrant Island Beauty

HomePlantsFlowersHawaiian White Hibiscus: A Fragrant Island Beauty



The Hawaiian White Hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus), known for its delicate, fragrant blossoms, is a true gem of the Hawaiian flora. This evergreen shrub or small tree graces the islands with its presence, offering a serene and inviting ambiance to any landscape.

Botanical Name
Hibiscus arnottianus
Plant Type
Evergreen shrub or small tree
Up to 15-30 ft. tall
Oval, smooth leaves, often adorned with red veins
Thrives in tropical climates, USDA Zones 9 to 12
Sun Exposure
Full sun to part shade
Soil Requirements
Prefers dry to moist, well-drained soils
Hardiness Zones
Best suited for Zones 10-12
Flower Color
Slightly fragrant, pinwheel-shaped white flowers
Foliage Color
Dark green leaves
Season Features
Blooms almost continuously throughout the year
Special Features
One of the few hibiscus species with fragrant flowers
Distribution and Habitat
Native to the moist to wet forests of the mountains of Moloka’i and O’ahu, the Hawaiian White Hibiscus is a symbol of the island’s rich biodiversity.
This plant is not known for being toxic, making it a safe choice for gardens.
  • The Hawaiian White Hibiscus boasts large, white flowers with a conspicuous, protruding pink-to-red staminal column, creating a stunning visual contrast against the foliage.
  • The plant’s ability to bloom almost continuously throughout the year makes it a desirable addition to any garden or landscape.
  • Propagation can be achieved through seed, semi-hardwood cuttings, air layering, or grafting.
  • Beyond its ornamental allure, Hawaiian White Hibiscus holds cultural significance in Hawaiian traditions, often symbolizing purity, beauty, and hospitality.
  • One of its subspecies is Hibiscus arnottianus ssp. immaculatus, is endangered and extremely rare, highlighting the importance of conservation efforts.
  • As an endemic species, it faces challenges from habitat loss and the introduction of invasive species.
  • Watch out for sucking insects and leaf spot, which can be managed with proper care and attention.

Hawaiian White Hibiscus stands as a symbol of natural beauty and cultural significance in the tropical landscape. With its exquisite blooms and lush foliage, it continues to enchant gardeners and nature enthusiasts around the world, reminding us of the delicate balance between human endeavors and the preservation of our natural heritage.


Can Hawaiian White Hibiscus tolerate cold temperatures?

While it prefers warm climates, it can withstand brief periods of cooler temperatures but may suffer damage if exposed to frost.

How often should Hawaiian White Hibiscus be watered?

Water regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Adjust watering frequency based on environmental conditions and soil moisture levels.

Does Hawaiian White Hibiscus require pruning?

Pruning can promote a bushier growth habit and encourage more prolific flowering. Trim back leggy or overgrown branches in late winter or early spring.

Are Hawaiian White Hibiscus plants deer-resistant?

While not entirely deer-proof, their thick foliage and prickly stems may deter deer from browsing.

Can Hawaiian White Hibiscus be grown in containers?

Yes, Hawaiian White Hibiscus can thrive in containers, provided they have adequate drainage and receive sufficient sunlight.

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