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The Oʻahu Plant Guide StoryMap (above) highlights a selection of plants, along with photos, to help start the native plant xeriscape journey.

Use the map and table below to select your climate zone and see a more complete list of plants. The zone links provide PDF documents with scientific names, common/Hawaiian names, and growing habits. Images are not provided. Most plants can be grown in a variety of conditions in two or more zones.

oahu planting guide vegetation map

Zone Number Zone Description

oahu planting guide zone 1  Zone 1

Dry (0-47" annual rainfall)
Elevation <150ft
oahu planting guide zone 2  Zone 2 Dry (0-47" annual rainfall)
Elevation 150-1,000ft
oahu planting guide zone 3  Zone 3 Dry (0-47" annual rainfall)
Elevation 1,000-3,000ft
oahu planting guide zone 4  Zone 4 Mesic (48-98" annual rainfall)
Elevation <150ft
oahu planting guide zone 5  Zone 5 Mesic (48-98" annual rainfall)
Elevation 150-1,000ft
oahu planting guide zone 6  Zone 6 Mesic (48-98" annual rainfall)
Elevation 1,000-3,000ft
oahu planting guide zone 7  Zone 7 Wet (>98" annual rainfall)
Elevation <150ft
oahu planting guide zone 8  Zone 8 Wet (>98" annual rainfall)
Elevation 150-1,000ft
oahu planting guide zone 9  Zone 9 Wet (>98" annual rainfall)
Elevation 1,000-3,000ft

Please reference the Oʻahu Waterways list for plants that require wet conditions.

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS:
The zones were created based on rainfall and elevation from data initially compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. BWS GIS staff revised the map in 2009. The plant information was gathered from the Manual of Flowering Plants of Hawaii by Warren L. Wagner, Derral R. Herbst, and S.H. Sohmer and from Hawaii's Ferns and Fern Allies by Daniel D. Palmer. The lists were compiled by Dr. Gregory Koob, who also provided plant information. The most recent scientific names, as updated by the Smithsonian Web site supplement to the Manual (as of April 2004), were used and these lists only include natives that were recorded to exist on Oʻahu. There may be other suitable Hawaiian plants that are not listed here because they were not historically found growing on Oʻahu. 

This resource would not be possible without the contributions from Forest and Kim Starr, Gregory A. Koob, and Amy Tsuneyoshi.

Some caveats to the planting list:

  • Some native plants listed in the planting guide are not commercially available at this time. The BWS recommends contacting a local nursery to see if a particular plant is available in your area.
  • The measurements given are approximations, conversions from meters, and rounded to the nearest whole number. They are considered the maximums, not necessarily the norms. Plants that have a wide range usually have that range due to environmental conditions (elevations, wind, stresses, etc.) but may just be a highly variable species.

Updated: 02/15/2024