For a wonderful trip through the world of Hawaiian and Polynesian plants, come by the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Set in the heart of Kahului, this six-acre tropical garden features a huge array of native plants, all expertly arranged to thrive side by side. Their coastal sand dune landscape serves as the perfect backdrop for all the plant species, while the climate keeps them in peak condition year-round.
In order to get a glimpse of all the beautiful native plants, you’ll need to pay a small fee for admission. The nominal charge helps pay for the cost of upkeep, which is no small feat with so many amazing trees, shrubs, and other plants in a well-curated environment. After paying for admission, you’re free to explore the garden to your heart’s content. Bring a book about native plants for help identifying what you see – or install an app on your phone.
If you’d like to learn even more about the garden, sign up for the docent-led tour instead. Although it’s an extra charge, the in-depth educational experience is well worth the cost. Always led in small groups, these tours take you on a one-hour journey through the garden, allowing you to learn a ton of info about the native plants. Although the docent provides a wealth of info all on their own, you’re also free to ask as many questions as you’d like.
While their garden serves as the star of the show, their workshops, classes, and special events bring people in from far and wide as well. Out of all their events, La Ulu – Breadfruit Day is the most popular. During that annual event, they welcome the community to come by for free to enjoy great food, attend workshops, and shop their huge plant sale. They’re always adding new events to the calendar, too, so it’s always wise to check back often to see what pops up.
Their most popular workshops include:
At the Kulolo workshop, you get to learn exactly how to make three different types of this amazing dessert. All the recipes feature the key ingredients: taro, sugar, and coconut milk. But the preparations differ just enough for you to find your favorites.
Take the Dye workshop to see just how to turn gorgeous Hawaiian plants into vibrant natural dyes. You will go through the whole process of collecting the best plants for your desired hue, and then preparing the dye from scratch. After that, you’ll use the natural dye to transform plain kapa cloth into a vibrant work of art.
Want to dress up your hotel room or give your hosts a memorable gift? Just sign up for the Living Wreathe workshop to create a stunning display that will last for years to come. The class will lead you through the process of selecting your plants and arranging your display, allowing you to walk away with a wreathe to cherish.
Want to support the garden and get free admission all year long? Just sign up for a membership. In addition to unlimited free admission, you’ll get their newsletter twice a year and plenty of emails in between, updating you on all the latest garden happenings. You’ll also get a 10% discount on all plants and other merchandise sold during special events. Deals on workshops and the like will come your way as well.
-If you want to support the garden without signing up for a membership, consider making a purchase through the Chocolate Laulima Program. With each purchase, the Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate company donates 40% of the proceeds to the garden.
-Kids under age 12 and seniors can visit the garden for free, as can locals with a state ID.
-Watch their Facebook page for announcements about plant giveaways and other special events.