The Wahiawa Botanical Gardens origin dates to the 1930’s when the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association leased the 27-acre garden from the State of Hawaii to be used as an experimental arboretum. The goal was to import and test trees that might be useful for watershed restoration. This work was done under the direction of Dr. Harold Lyon, who was also the first director of Foster Garden and UH-Manoa’s Lyon Arboretum. Many of our oldest trees date to this era. In 1950, the property was transferred to the City and County of Honolulu and the garden opened to the public in 1957.

This garden is unique in that it is on a 1000′ elevation plateau, so we are able to grow cooler-loving plants than we can’t at our other gardens. It is like being transported to the rainforest with ferns, orchids, and aroid vines growing up the trunks of huge, majestic trees like ficus, kauri, rainbow eucalyptus, pili nut, earpod trees, to name a few.  You really have to look up, down, and all around to get the full experience. 

The Main Terrace is perfect for families and people requiring ADA accessibility. It is a more formal garden area popular for weddings and light strolling. There is a self-guided tour brochure that takes you through this area in less than an hour. More adventurous visitors can hike down into the gulch below to explore extensive palms, gingers, heliconias, bamboos, tree ferns, and a great native Hawaiian collection with `ohi`a trees, loulu palms, and all kinds of native plants.

On Instagram – @honolulubotanicalgardens

On Facebook – each of the 5 gardens has a unique FB page:

Wahiawā Botanical Garden, Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Foster Botanical Garden, Lili`uokalani Botanical Garden, Koko Crater Botanical Garden