Jon Radder ( @JRad ) recently talked about his use of natives in his post Volunteers . I mentioned I’d put a couple of ours up, as well. We came to natives slowly after realizing that traditional garden railroad plants like dwarf spruce are not available in our state while others like sedum and thyme will not grow in our micro-climate. Our plants have to bear the brunt of the tropical sun followed by equally tropical deluges, so they can go from desert dry to jungle wet in moments. This can rot roots and create idea conditions for bugs and mold in moments, rendering all but some very hardy rosemary to more or less suffer and eventually fail.
Here are the la’au kama’aina that have worked.
Our first and most lasting success has been a native succulent, akulikuli.
You’ll note the link says “ground cover.” We covered the top of “Hell’s Mountain” with the stuff, and it gives a nice impression of a wooded hilltop. After a good rain, the flowers can be breathtaking!
Another reasonably successful plant has been pohinahina. I am told this may be available in the “Contiguous 48” but may be considered an “invasive.”
The leaves are clearly not to scale, but the stuff is proving tough as nails. The cuttings sprout roots pretty easily in a bowl of water, but I have been unable to get them to successfully transfer into soil. Luckily, I get to trim this stuff pretty often, so I have lots of opportunities to try!
Ulei probably has the best potential to represent a tree (Read the link, the pronunciation is key on this one, as it has a potentially humorous / scandalous homonym!)
Unfortunately, the Fur Girls seem to take delight in snapping the branches and / or digging this thing out of the ground. Mine has never bloomed, and this is the last survivor of three plants. Cuttings do sprout roots in water, but, again, I’ve not yet been able to propagate the cuttings.
I recently bought 'ala’alawainui wahine because the label said it liked bright, dry conditions. Note this is the opposite of what the website says! I guess I forgot to take a picture. If It takes, I have some rock retaining walls that would benefit from a few cuttings.
Finally, while not natives, we discovered grocery store roses do pretty well. When Y.D. and I saw, a Maui Rose, a local cultivar, we had to snap it up. I’ll let the photo below show why:
And there you have it!