There are hundreds of varieties of tropical flowers in the world, and most are native to areas in the tropics and islands such as Hawaii, Costa Rica, Tahiti, and Barbados. Many people associate Hawaii with exotic flowers that can be found nowhere else in the world. The reason they grow so well in this location is because of the rich volcanic soil and warm climate.
Some popular varieties of tropical flowers include orchids, anthurium, protea, hibiscus, and bird of paradise. Like all flowers, they are found growing in the wild but can be cultivated and grown in gardens as well.
Many people also associate tropical flowers with leis, which are common in the Hawaiian Islands. One of the only places where flowers are worn on the body, leis are often made up of different kinds of orchids.
About Tropical Flowers
This genus of orchids consists of about 1,200 species, which can be found in tropical regions all over the world. Most species grow on trees, and some grow on rocks. Many develop a pseudobulb, from which one or two flowers bloom, which is attached to a stem that is more than 30 cm in length. Lily of the Valley and Wasselii, which consist of small white flowers, are two species of dendrobium orchid that are popular.
Cattleya is a genus of 42 species of orchids that are found in tropical South America and Costa Rica. These species are known for their large beautiful flowers. They are often considered the picture-perfect star of the orchid family. Flower size can range from 5 to 15 cm, and they can occur in every color except for blue and black. The number of flowers per stem can vary from one or two to 10 or more.
Hibiscus is a large genus of tropical flowering plants, consisting of over 200 species. The flowers of hibiscus are large, trumpet-shaped, and usually, contain five petals. Colors range from white or pink to red or purple. They are anywhere from 4 to 15 cm in diameter. The ma ‘o has hele hibiscus is the state flower of Hawaii, where it is commonly grown. Chinese hibiscus, with its, many beautiful hybrids, is one of the most popular types of tropical flowers.
Bird of Paradise
One of the most beautiful and exotic types of tropical flowers, birds of paradise is also known as strelitzia and crane flower. A native of South Africa, a bird of paradise resembles the head of a bird with a long beak. These tropical flowers appear at the ends of long stalks and consist of 3 orange sepals and 3 bluish-purplish petals. Birds of paradise make beautiful centerpieces and wonderful additions to landscaping in tropical regions.
Anthurium is a native of Central and South America and contains over 800 species. A popular addition to tropical bouquets, Anthurium flowers can take the shape of bright red hearts or tulip-shaped purple flowers. Flowers are long-lasting and occur throughout the year in tropical climates, with one flower emerging from each leaf. Some popular species of the family include calla lily, caladium, and philodendron.
Red Ginger is native to Malaysia but is commonly found in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Belize. Its brilliant white flowers appear on long red bracts. Also called Ostrich Plume or Pink Ginger, it makes a beautiful addition to bouquets and is often featured as a centerpiece.
With over 2,000 species in the Proteaceae family, protea varies vastly in size, shape, and color. A native Flowers, one popular species is the King Protea, which contains the largest flowering head of any protea species. Pink and white, this flower looks similar to an artichoke. It has an extremely long vase life and makes an excellent addition to flower arrangements. It is often also used when dried.
Tropical Flowers at Home – Getting Ready
First, decide on what kinds of flowers you would like to have. You will also need to consider the conditions in which tropical flowers grow. Perhaps you could turn an old shed into a greenhouse, or use a sunroom for your plants. Depending on what hardiness zone you live in, plants may be able to be kept outdoors during the summer months.
Planting the Seed
Most tropical plants grow from either cuttings or seeds, except for orchids, whose complex reproduction occurs through symbiosis with fungi. You can order bulk seeds for hibiscus, bird of paradise, plumeria, red ginger, and anthurium. Chances of plant survival are significantly increased if you start with cuttings or a starter plant, so we highly recommend beginning this way. Many companies based out of Hawaii will ship cuttings or starter plants right to your home.
Once planted, plants need to be properly cared for. Here are some tips for some of the most popular types of tropical flowers.
- Anthurium: should be placed in a well-lit area, but not in a place that receives direct sunlight. If not given enough light, plants will not flower. Anthuriums should be watered thoroughly and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. Don’t, however, allow the soil to dry fully. Use a slow time-release fertilizer, such as Miracle Grow, after a few months. Monitor plants for pests such as aphids, scale, mealy bugs, and thrips.
- Orchids: can be grown indoors without using a greenhouse. They should be allowed bright light to 50 percent sun in an area that receives 50 to 60 percent humidity. Keep orchids moist while actively growing, but allow drying between waterings during inactive periods. During active growth, they should be fertilized regularly. For proper growth, mature plants need a 15 to 20-degree difference between night and day. At night, keep plants in a cool place (no cooler than 50 degrees).
- Hibiscus: should be placed in a sunny area and sprayed with water once or twice a day. Hibiscus flowers can stain clothing, so use caution when handling plants. Make sure that these tropical plants are in a container that drains well. Add slow-release to the fertilizer in late winter. If night temperatures are above 55 degrees, you can keep your hibiscus outside.
Stuck on Repeat with Growing Gardening Tips
You may have noticed that the requirements for each plant vary only slightly. They each have the following in common, which applies to almost all tropical flowers:
- Humidity: Tropical flowers like humidity, and with that humidity, a lot of sunlight and a warm environment. Failure to produce a humid climate may result in a lack of growth or the inability to produce flowers.
- Water: Even though most tropical plants should be kept moist, they also prefer soil that has a good drainage system. Never let your plant sit in standing water.
- The right container: Tropical plants should be kept in plastic pots, rather than clay or terra-cotta pots. Plastic retains moisture better.
- Fertilizer: For continued growth and new flowers, fertilize during active growing periods
Hawaiian Tropical Flowers Guide
- Anthurium flowers often take the shape of hearts and are bright red. They can also appear shaped like tulips, and contain purple flowers. Anthuriums are a staple in many Hawaiian bouquets and arrangements.
- Bird of paradise, with its bright orange sepals and blue petals, is one of the flowers most associated with Hawaii and the tropics. Bird of paradise is often incorporated into arrangements, where it provides stunning color and texture.
- Dendrobium Orchids are another popular flower found in Hawaii. One type of orchid, Wasselii, contains small white flowers that are often used in making leis. Other dendrobiums produce colorful flowers that can be used as a corsage, worn in the hair, or used as a centerpiece on tables. There are over 1,000 species found in Hawaii.
- Heliconia, also called Lobster Claw and False Bird of Paradise, consisting of brightly colored, waxy bracts. They are related to Bird of Paradise and bananas. Parrot Heliconia is especially distinctive, as its yellowish-green flowers and black spots resemble parrot’s fathers. It is often added to tropical arrangements.
- Hibiscus can be found all over Hawaii; in fact, they are one of the few tropical plants that are native to the area. Flower blooms range in color from white or yellow to pink or red. There are many native names for the Hibiscus, including koki’o ke’ oke’o, koli’o, and mayo hay hele, which is also the state flower.
Leis all over
One of the things that make Hawaii unique is the lei– a wreath of flowers draped around the neck. Presented as a symbol of affection, leis are often presented upon arriving or leaving the state. They are also commonly worn on birthdays, weddings, or graduations.
Leis are usually made up of an assortment of Hawaiian flowers, including plumeria, Lehua, and orchids. They can also be made up of vines, ferns, or other objects, such as seashells or plastic flowers.
Bringing FLowers Paradise to you
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to Hawaii to enjoy its tropical flowers. Many companies will ship bouquets and arrangements of flowers and leis right to your door–no matter where you are. Caring for your Hawaiian flowers is easy if you follow these simple steps:
- Unpack tropical flowers immediately. Do not place it in the refrigerator.
- Cut 1/4-inch off the stem off and then place the entire stem in vase water at room temperature. Cut the stem at an angle.
- Add water: to the vase as necessary. Since tropical flowers like a lot of water, mist flowers daily to extend life. Change the water and trim stems every few days.
- Add bleach: to the water to prevent bacterial buildup. Some Hawaiian florists will supply you with a water clarifier and nutrient supplement as well.
- Avoid direct sunlight: Keep tropical flowers in a shady spot and out of the wind. Make sure they are in an area that is warm, and no cooler than 50 degrees. If cared for correctly, tropical blooms can last for up to 2 weeks.
To care for leis, follow these instructions.
- Spray leis: lightly with water. Place in a plastic bag and store in a refrigerator, or in an area that is 53-55 degrees. Flowers should keep in good condition for 3 to 5 days.
Popular Tropical Wedding Flowers
No wedding is complete without flowers. They add beauty to banquet halls, tables, and, most importantly, the bride and groom. Tropical flowers are one of the most popular choices for weddings because they add color, texture, and a sweet scent to wedding festivities. Regardless of your color scheme, the addition of tropical flowers can make for a breathtaking wedding.
There are three main kinds of tropical flowers that are used in weddings:
Orchids Tropical Flowers
Available in a huge assortment of colors, orchids can add either a hint of color or a huge splash. Dendrobiums are often used in leis, bridal bouquets, and hairpieces. Loose dendrobiums are often placed on wedding cakes. Traditional dendrobiums come in white, purple, lavender, pink, and yellow. These small flowers are both simple and elegant. If you’re planning a wedding in Hawaii, orchids are a must!
Anthuriums are another popular type of flower used in weddings. There are two main types of anthuriums used: tulip-shaped and heart-shaped. Tulip anthuriums are pastel purple in color and look similar to tulips. They are often used in bouquets and tabletop centerpieces. Heart-shaped anthuriums are bright red. They make great additions to bridal bouquets, wedding party bouquets, and serve as striking centerpieces.
Heliconia, with its vibrant oranges and reds, makes wedding decorating fun! Numerous flowers appear on long panicles, making them ideal for decoration. They are often seen in large bouquets and as centerpieces on tables. They are also often used to decorate reception halls.
If you are considering having a Hawaiian wedding, tradition calls for leis to be worn by the bride, groom, family members, and close friends. Many brides also opt to wear Haku. This means, of course, that you’ll get to incorporate even more flowers into your wedding!
- Leis are traditionally given to another as a sign of affection and to express joy or happiness, which makes them perfect for weddings. No traditional Hawaiian wedding would be complete without them. A bride’s lei is often made out of white dendrobium orchids but can be formed from other flowers.
- Haku is an ahead lei that is traditionally worn by brides in Hawaii. They often consist of intricately woven flowers and ferns, which include white, purple, or lavender dendrobium orchids.
- Maile Leis is one of the oldest types of leis still around. Many grooms opt to wear this type of lei for their wedding. They are leafy green, made of maile vines that grow in the Hawaiian mountains, and are open-ended rather than closed. Maile leis have a fresh scent, similar to vanilla.
The Advantage of Going Tropical
There are many advantages to using tropical flowers for your wedding. Here are a few:
- Tropical flowers have a long vase life: Once the wedding is over, you can still enjoy your flowers. If properly cared for, they can last for up to 2 weeks.
- Tropical flowers make nice favors: Guests can take leis home with them. What could be greater than that?
- Tropical flowers withstand heat: Unlike other types of flowers that are prone to wilting in hot weather, tropical flowers can withstand heat from photographic lights and general activity.
Enough flowers in the bunch
No matter what type of tropical wedding flowers you choose, be sure you have ordered enough! If you are planning a large wedding, you will need the following:
- Bridal bouquet
- Leis for family members and friends
- Maile lei
- Wedding cake flowers
- Ceremony flowers
- Reception flowers