How to Plant a Garden in Hawaii fast and easy (updated)

Gardening in Hawaii can be fun and challenging to grow your own food on the island. Learn how to plant a garden in Hawaii, If are looking for an easy and fast way to grow a garden no matter how large or small. If you love tropical fruits and veggies, follow the steps and tips below to get started and enjoy spending time on the garden and reap the benefits of growing some of your own food on the islands.

There’s so much joy in reconnecting with the land, no matter how small – it can even be a group of small pots with fresh herbs, tomatoes and easy to grow vegetables. Learning how to plant a garden in Hawaii is fun outdoors, getting your hands into the soil and so good for your mind, body and soul. It’s easy to plant a garden in Hawaii, the tough part is in the planning, prepping and eventual maintenance required for abundant produce.

Plant a garden in Hawaii

Some basics to gardening in Hawaii

It’s surprising how fast it is to start a kitchen garden and learning to growing your own fruits and vegetables here in Hawaii. A good part of the process is inspiration, knowing what you want to grow and the learning process. Now is a great time to start and here are some of the tools you need below to get going quickly in growing your own fruits and veggies.

Planning your edible Hawaiian garden

If the thought of being able to start growing your own garden sounds too intimidating, it really isn’t and you can always start small at first and control the entire process on your own time. You’ll definitely love the sense of accomplishment and seeing something growing from your efforts and yes love. Amazing to think that you can actually grow your own and have food ingredients fresh from your own yard to make some delicious and local.

Growing veggies in Hawaii

As inspiration, check out some of the wonderful and simple gardening websites or even You Tube videos of getting a garden started with easy fruit trees that grow well on the islands or even fast growing vegetables that you can harvest quickly here in Hawaii. Here’s some considerations and thought on getting that garden kick started below.

Decide how much garden area to plant and maintain

There’s a lot of work in prepping an area and making the soil workable and rich along with doing daily maintenance of a garden.  Decide how much area you can really dedicate to take care of including weeding, fertilizing, watering, pest control on a regular basis.

Growing fruits and veggies in Hawaii

Growing an edible garden with limited space

Check out what you can grow well in pots or a small space that doesn’t take too much space and effort for you to manage. These include herbs, garlic or onions, bak choy, lettuce and radishes that can do well in smaller spaces. If you grow vertically, you can also grow tomatoes, beans, cucumbers or pumpkins if you create trellised support for them to grow tall.

Tips to starting a garden in Hawaii

Tips to starting a garden in Hawaii

Check out these fantastic tips below on starting, growing and maintaining your edible garden to produce the best fruits and vegetables on your property.

Pick the right plants to grow in Hawaii

Choose plants that grow in Hawaii and in the right location

Even though Hawaii is perfect for growing a kitchen garden doesn’t mean all veggies or fruits will grow here. Depending on elevation,  soil condition and tropical climates, you need plants that will grow well in these outside tropical environments. Learning to plant a garden in Hawaii and choosing the best vegetables to grow starts with vegetable plants do well in Hawaii including: taro, eggplants, okra, beans, tropical peppers and herbs for instance. Check out these hardy and successful plants from UH Hawaii’s best growing plants for a kitchen garden below. For fruit trees or plants, check out these wonderful fruit trees like bananas, citrus, pineapples, papaya and this list here for more inspiration.

You can go on the University of Hawaii CTARH website here for seeds that have grown well in Hawaii and you can order by form on the site.

Good soil and preparation is essential

It takes a good base in prepping up your soil, adding good amendments, mulch and drainage for plants to grow well and fast in our sunny tropical environments. In Hawaii we have lava, sand, clay and very poor soils, so you need to learn what type of soil you have and want you can do to add more nutrients and even more soil to build up your beds. Depending on the size of garden you want to build, you can buy bags of good soil and mulch or have delivery service done to help you in building healthy soil and beds for planting.

Backyard landscaping and make your growing area accessible

Find a spot that is easy to move soil, nutrients, your tools and even water that you can do daily in an area that is accessible. When you make things easier to maintain your garden, finding an easy spot to get to everyday from your home is essential in making those daily chores possible is crucial. So plan ahead and find an area in the garden that makes it easy to get to and move all the necessary tools and other materials to the growing area.

maintaining a kitchen garden in Hawaii

Tending your garden in Hawaii

We have so many other conditions to consider here in Hawaii from heat and humidity, wildlife and ongoing pest control to consider in protecting growing starts in the growing process. A diligent process of checking daily on plant health, fertilizing and pest control is important to checking growth patterns and health during this crucial time frame. Plants crave good nutrients from the soil to develop good structure and food for consumption.

Growing tropoical fruit in Hawaii

Plants need 8 hours of sun to be healthy and productive

You need a place that actually gets sun to be able to not have shade, competing plants that take nutrients and other impediments to growing and producing the best produce for you. Make sure you site containers, planting beds in areas that allow for enough sun to grow viable and healthy plants to produce well.

Growing veggies in Hawaii

Consider succession gardening

For plants that can last longer seasons or can have seasonal crops that can be prepared in different beds for transition. Longer surviving plants like tomatoes, herbs and eggplant can be grown in one area while other plants staggered that produce at a certain time frame like corn, lettuce, beets, turnips and other seasonal crops.

Fertilizing your garden in Hawaii

Fertilizing your garden can be intensive or easy depending on if you use chemical or organic fertilizers. Many will opt for easy chemical purchases that you can buy from local stores and depending on your particular fruit or vegetable can be generic or more specific to a specialty crop or fruit. For a more thorough discussion on Fertilizing your edible garden, check out this guide for more details and what to do during the growth to production phase.

Organic fertilizers can be a little bit more work but yield good production with some effort and you can also purchase some of these directly from specialty retailers. This includes:

Composting – you can create a compost pile and spread or use as a top dressing to your plants

Compost tea – create a watered version from any of the ingredients below to spray or water your plants at various stages of their growth cycle.

Chicken manure

Male urine – has to be diluted but has excellent nitrogen which helps in the growth stage

Worm castings

Fish meal

Wood ash or biochar

Pest control in Hawaii

There’s a lot of pests that love to devour plants and fruit so being diligent in your daily inspections is necessary to plant health and creating produce for consumption. Things you can typically use including insecticidal soaps, traps or sprays are needed or organic treatments or even water spraying is what you may consider for producing healthy plants and produce. Check out these typical pests in the Hawaiian garden and effective treatments to maintaining plant growth.

Gardening resources for Hawaii

Weeding and other maintenance

Weeding is always crucial in a kitchen garden with weeds that can quickly take over a garden in no time. What is a small seedling ends up being a massive weed patch in not time. Weeds take up all the valuable nutrients, water and even sun from your kitchen garden so daily maintenance is necessary. The best way to control weeds in the garden includes the following solutions

Daily weeding of small seedlings before they get large

Deep mulching to prevent weed seeds to grow through

Using a weed cover with your desired plants growing through

Add a drip system to only the plants that will receive all the watering needs and not the weeds around them.

Daily visits to your garden, checking for pests and other damages to the plants that can be minimized including controlling snails, slugs and other aggressive insects and keeping them in check. Fertilizing for different stages of growth and fruiting. Watering needs especially on hot sunny days and staking your developing fruits and veggies that can easily drop or brake off.

Garden video inspiration

Check out these fantastic Hawaiian gardening video basics to get you started on growing abundant fruits and vegetables at home now.

Gardening 101 basics

Starting perennials in Hawaii

Check out these easy plants to grow in Hawaii for a tropical perennial vegetable garden.

Fast producing fruit trees in Hawaii

Easy and fast growing fruit trees to have in your Hawaiian garden.

Locally adaptable annuals in Hawaii

fast growing vegetables in hawaii

Check out these gardening resources

University of Hawaii Master garden growing links from CTAHR

Non-invasive fruit trees in Hawaii

Yard and garden nutrient management

Fast growing vegetables in a garden

Pineapple growing season in Hawaii

Hawaii chocolate making and tour

Avocado season in Hawaii

Mango season in Hawaii

Traditional Hawaiian food favorites

Breadfruit in Hawaii

Please pin this for later

Pinterest planting a garden in Hawaii

Conclusion to growing a garden in Hawaii

Let’s hear about your success stories and tips in the comment section below, thanks.

Gardening in Hawaii is a matter of learning what grows best in Hawaii, education, daily chores and inspection and just getting your hands dirty. Hopefully with all this care and fun in the process, you’ll also end up with some wonderful fruit and vegetables to enjoy from your own gardening pursuits when you plant a garden in Hawaii.

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  1. Jackie Smith

    I have loved following your gardening in Hawaii. I have yet to plant my seeds in Greece but you have inspired me to do so this week. It is fun to harvest your crops. I can hardly wait for your post on harvesting!!

    • emorata

      I actually started to harvest my first batch of bush beans which is exciting and a whole slew of herbs already being used from planing this garden in Hawaii

  2. Doreen Pendgracs

    Hi Noel. We still have snow on the ground & the ground is frozen. But I have planted some seeds inside. Lucky you to be gardening in Hawaii.

    • emorata

      Yes spring is amazing and planting a garden in Hawaii is fantastic in getting a head start and longer production season.



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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.