Hawaii is known for its lush, tropical vegetation and bright, aromatic flowers. That said, it’s not surprising that the Hawaiian island of Oahu is home to many beautiful botanical gardens! These places collect some of the island’s most spectacular plants and display them to the public. At these gardens, you’ll view thousands of tropical, native species like the rare Red ‘Ilima, Pamakani, Kilauea Portulaca, and more. Here are just a few of the best botanical gardens on Oahu!
While the botanical gardens of Oahu are fantastic places to experience Oahu’s wild side, there are many more fun things to do here! For those who don’t want to waste valuable time searching, our complimentary Oahu Travel Guide is the perfect resource. Access your copy today for our hand-picked list of the best restaurants, shopping, and festivals on Oahu!
The Best Botanical Gardens on the South Shore
Foster Botanical Garden
The lovely Foster Botanical Garden is nestled in Honolulu’s bustling urban center. It’s a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the South Shore! Here, we recommend exploring the conservatory or outdoor butterfly garden. Each summer, you can even listen to a wide variety of live music!
Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden
Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden’s name comes from its original owner: Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. She donated her garden to the city of Honolulu for the townspeople to enjoy. The garden is still in development, but its goal is to focus on the cultivation of native Hawaiian plants. It’s a work in progress, but you can still visit! Admission is free and the park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ho-omaluhia Botanical Garden
Originally designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect Kāneʻohe from flooding, this garden now houses tropical plants from all over the world. The plants in this 400-acre garden are grouped geographically, and the selection covers the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Africa.
Wahiawa Botanical Garden
Also known as the “tropical jewel” of Honolulu botanical gardens, the Wahiawa Botanical Garden stretches along a 27-acre ravine in central Oahu. The weather is ideal for tropical flora that require a cooler climate. The Department of Parks and Recreation also schedules periodic summer performances at this garden!
Koko Crater Botanical Garden
Koko Crater Botanical Garden is truly one of Oahu’s best botanical gardens! It’s unique not only because it is in a crater, but also because it features dryland plants that thrive in desert-like conditions. Koko Crater is typically open each day between sunrise and sunset.
Other Oahu Botanical Gardens to Visit
Just a few miles away from Waikiki, the Lyon Arboretum comprises almost 200 acres of tropical rainforest. Thanks to its location in the Manoa Valley, these lush gardens are home to more than 5,000 tropical plant species. There are several different themed gardens that you may stroll through here. Choose from a range of tours including self-guided ones led by Arboretum Docents. 2018 marks the centennial of Lyon Arboretum, so be sure to take a look at their calendar of events!
Waimea Valley Botanical Garden
In addition to more than 5,000 kinds of tropical and subtropical plants, the Waimea Valley Botanical Garden has its own 45-foot waterfall! In fact, Waimea Valley is the only Oahu botanical garden to feature one. Here, you’ll discover 41 themed gardens in the 300-plus acres that Waimea Valley encompasses. These include the colorful Lei Garden and the fragrant Hibiscus Gardens.
The Kamehameha V Cottage and the Hitachi tree are the biggest draws to the Moanalua Gardens. Prince Lot Kapuāiwa, who went on to become King Kamehameha V, built the historic Kamehameha V Cottage. The Hitachi tree is so named because the Hitachi Group has used it in commercials and logos. It’s a gigantic monkeypod tree whose spreading limbs are over a century old. Visiting this garden is a truly unforgettable experience!
After a busy day of exploring the many botanical gardens on Oahu, return to the comfort of one of our beautiful, beachfront properties. You’ll be close to all of the best attractions like waterfall hikes and the Ala Moana Shopping Center! Imagine waking up in an incredible home and looking out over gently crashing waves. Many of our rentals are steps away from the gorgeous beaches of Oahu.
When you book our beachfront Banyan Tree vacation rental, you’ll be situated in the heart of the South Shore! This classic, recently remodeled Hawaiian home sleeps 12 and features original lava rock-wall details and open, breezy rooms. The best part? You can see the glassy blue sea from the kitchen, master bedroom, and living room. If you don’t want a window between you and your view of the ocean, you can even open up the living room to let the breeze in!