Fragrant flowers of Hawaii – scented, beautiful and exotic flowers (updated 2023)

The fragrant flowers of Hawaii and plants are abundant and relatively easy to grow and enjoy on the islands. There’s so many delicious smells coming out of the gardens around the Hawaii and easy to spot the lovely smells and beautiful flowers that come from these tropical plants

If you are visiting, look out for these heavenly scents or if you live here, why not add more scented Hawaiian flowers in your garden to enjoy.

fragrant-Hawaiian flowers
fragrant-Hawaiian flowers

Why have fragrant Hawaiian flower plants in your garden?

There’s nothing like strolling through a garden of Hawaiian plants and just happening upon some delicious tropical scents from the garden. These pleasing smells evoke such powerful signals and memories and always puts a pleasant thoughts to visiting a scented garden in Hawaii.

A scented garden surprises you

With so much diversity of plants and tropical flowers growing in Hawaii, why not add more scented Hawaiian flowers in your garden to enjoy? Look out for these amazing beautiful plants and scented Hawaii flowers that you can easily grow in you garden now.

What are the most popular scented Hawaiian plants?

These are the most Fragrant plants in Hawaii to enjoy

There are so many to choose from, but the most popular and well known flowers are used for leis primarily gardenias, plumerias, jasmine and puakenikeni flowers.

These popular flowers are used because they are abundant and used primarily in leis, displays, perfumes and all sorts of lotions, shampoos and other products. It’s easy to see that the fragrant and scented flowers of Hawaii always bring a pleasant memory of visiting the islands.

Pikake or Jasmine flower - the best smelling flowers
Pikake or Jasmine flower – the best smelling flowers

Pikake or Jasmine flower

With over 200 species of this scented Hawaiian flower that grows so well in tropical to sub tropical gardens and make the best smelling flowers. You have your pick of so many different varieties. Jasmines are grown for their unique and distinctive aroma. Very easy to grow and well-maintained Jasmines grow best in moist but well drained soils and thrive in full sun.

The flower is the symbol of forever love and is considered a holy flower in Buddhist belief and lifestyle. In Hawaii, pikake leis are treasured and given as a symbol of love and friendship.

Here’s some highlights to the jasmine sambac below

Plumeria flowers in Hawaii are  on of the best Fragrant flowers of Hawaii

Plumeria flowers

A short flowering tree Hawaiian scented plumeria called Pikake flower can also grow as a shrub. Plumerias are popular plants to have in your garden and in making the Hawaiian scented leis everyone treasures.

Coming originally from the dry arid areas of Mexico, they thrive in warm and dry environments, full sun and with well-drained soil with slightly acidic soil. Easy to grow and maintain, plumerias can be trimmed to a large shrub form for easy access to the flowers if you want to harvest them.

Here’s a fun visit to a plumeria farm below

Hawaiian ginger flowers are Fragrant flowers of Hawaii

Hawaiian ginger

There’s nothing like seeing a huge field of scented ginger flowers in Hawaii with all those heavenly scents. Although ginger plants can be invasive, it should be planted in pots or areas that can be kept in control.

The most popular of Hawaiian ginger plants are the red or awapuhi ‘ula ‘ula which has been used in many hair products and shampoos.

The white and yellow gingers grow wild in Hawaii and spread easily in invasive groupings but is one of the flowers in Hawaii that is so well loved for its scent and use.

With a variety of ginger flower colors, here’s the highlights

Gardenia are beautiful white flowers in Hawaii
Gardenia are beautiful white flowers in Hawaii

Gardenia flowers

A favorite Hawaiian plant grown on the islands for it’s intoxicating smells and lovely white flowers in Hawaii, gardenias are easy to grow and so well maintained.

Gardenias are admired for their large blooms, long lasting scents and even use as leis for special occasions. Even though it blooms year-round, you get more flushes in springtime to late summer in Hawaii.

Here’s little about growing gardenia flowers

Scented Hawaiian flower orchids
Scented Hawaiian flower orchids

Scented orchids

There are some scented orchids that are so sweetly flowered and treasured in Hawaii. If you are looking for something special to grow, you’ll find scented orchids in every orchid genera including Oncidium like Sherry Baby, Rasberry and Chocolate, Dendrobiums like Anosmum and Kingianum, lovely Zygopetalums, Brassavolas, Phalaenopsis and scented Cattleyas.

There are so many Hawaiian orchid plants in each family that you can grow depending on what you would like to have in your garden. You can check out this list of different orchids to look for when you want some lovely scents in your home or garden.

Scented orchids in Hawaii are an unexpected surprise

Puakenikeni Hawaii flower
Puakenikeni white Hawaiian flower

Puakenikeni plant

One of the most scented beauties to have in a Hawaiian plant garden, the puakenikeni or Fagraea berteroana. Puakenikeni were known as the ‘ten cent flower’ for the cheap leis that were made with these wonderful aromas from the flower. Puakenikeni are always treasured lei because of the wonderful fragrance they impart when draped around your neck.

A scented tropical tree or larger shrub, it grows well in a tropical environment with full sun, well drained soils and lots of water in dry environments. Creamy white Hawaiian flowers turn to shades of yellow to orange when they get older and fade.

The puakenikeni is a white Hawaiian flower that blooms year-round which is a wonderful beauty and scent you can always have in the garden.

Preparing pua Kenikeni flowers for lei

Tuberose flower

Tuberose flower

The tuberose in Hawaiian is called Kapalo and the scents from this lovely flower are sweet and long lasting. The delicate displays of the flowers are like the shape and form of roses unfolding, hence the name.

Tuberose is a popular flower to grow for floral displays and even in lei-making.

A gorgeous tuberose flower with amazing fragrance

Mock Orange flowers - hawaii flower

Mock Orange

A very hardy everygreen shrub with small star shape flowers with a sweet and mellow scent with vanilla and gardenia overtones. Easy to grow and maintain and does well in full sun with little care. Blooms constantly year-round making this a worthwhile plant to have in the garden with no fuss.

A popular and easy to grow shrub on the islands

Scented crinum lily -a white Hawaian flower
Scented crinum lily -a white Hawaian flower

Crinum Lily

The crinum lily which is from the amaryllis family is has a subtle with vanilla and citrus scent and quite sweet smelling.

Grown in Asia, sub tropical environments and in Hawaii, this popular and easy to grow plant thrives in full sun, moisture and well drained soils to produce showy scented white blooms on sturdy spikes that make a showy statement and has a wonderful but subdued tropical and sweet scent.

Scented tropical Rhododendrons or Vireya

Scented tropical Rhododendrons or Vireya

Tropical rhododendrons or vireyas as so sweetly scented in the morning hours and so aromatic to have in the garden.

Not all 300 species of vireyas are scented, so you can check out these particular vireya for their floral scents including: Coral Flare, Great Scent Sation, Scented Sun, Halo and Pink Jazz for adding some colorful and scented blooms to your garden.

Here’s more about tropical vireyas in Hawaii

Check out these other posts on growing a Hawaiian garden

Plant a garden in Hawaii

27 Hawaii fruit to try on the islands

Breadfruit in Hawaii

Staying healthy and boost your immune sytem

Pineapple season in Hawaii

Hawaii chocolate making and tour

Avocado season in Hawaii

Growing tomatoes in Hawaii

Mango season in Hawaii

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Pinterest Fragrant flowers of Hawaii

Hawaiian flowers FAQ

What are the most popular flowers in Hawaii?

Typically they are the scented flowers that can be made into lei like pikaki, jasmine, gardenia, plumeria and puakenikeni to name a few of the most popular white Hawaiian flowers

Thanks for visiting and checking out this post on Fragrant flowers of Hawaii. Bookmark this post for future reference when you are looking for some Hawaii activities, adventure or fun experiences.

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  1. Penelope Megquier

    We love the Islands so much. We usually go to Maui. We’re from Maine.

  2. Jackie K Smith

    Tuberoses will always bring memories of Hawaii and Mexico! Wonderful garden tour, Noel.

    • emorata

      Yes all these fragrant flowers of Hawaii are always so wonderful to come across and bring back memories

  3. Cindy Carlsson

    Sort of unfair to read about how lovely these flowers smell! It would be so lovely to float in their fragrance for awhile, but at least you gave us beautiful photos!

    • emorata

      You’ll have to visit to see and smell these fragrant flowers of Hawaii

  4. Carol Colborn

    I loved photographing the flowers and foliage of Hawaii. I especially enjoyed the flowering trees! Should have smelled them, too!

    • emorata

      Yes the trees and flowers of Hawaii are highly scented

  5. Cathy Sweeney

    Beautiful flowers! I remember my first visit to Hawaii and immediately taking in the gorgeous floral scents. It seemed like the fragrance of paradise. The plumerias are my favorites. I didn’t realize they originally came from Mexico.

    • emorata

      Yes Hawaii is full of fragrant flowers that really make an impact when you come to visit paradise.

  6. Jeff & Crystal Bryant

    Noel, you certainly captured some amazing beauties. Each Hawaii article seems to be another great reason to visit the Aloha state. We can almost smell the wonderful scents from each bloom.

    • emorata

      Yes a nice part of visiting is seeing and smelling these fragrant flowers of Hawaii and enjoying the flora here.



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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.