Be Seen! 5 Colorful, Shade-Loving Plants For Kauai Landscapes

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“What can I plant in the shade that’s flowering and colorful?” It’s a common question from commercial property owners across the island.

Good news. You have options that will brighten up dark areas of your Kauai property. By blending in these vibrant, flowering winners that prefer shade, you can add fresh appeal to spaces on your commercial property that visitors might have ignored in the past.

Here are five colorful, shade-loving plants for Kauai landscapes — they make a bold impact and are happier where the sun doesn’t shine.

crotons are colorful, shade-loving plants that make a bold impact on Kauai landscapes


Crotons are available in a range of shapes, sizes and colors. Even better news: Beyond their visual versatility they are incredibly low-maintenance. These vibrant, leafy plants easily grow up to 5 or 6 feet tall. Use crotons as a border plant in a landscape bed or as a vibrant backdrop.

You can also grow crotons inside, and some resort properties like to keep them in planters staged in lobby areas. However, crotons’ colors really develop into richer hues when they are planted outdoors.

pink ginger are colorful, shade-loving plants that make a bold impact on Kauai landscapesPink Ginger

The tall leafy canes and bracts of red blooms on red ginger make this plant a spicy, tropical pick for your Kauai landscape. Pink ginger performs well in the shade, though it does require filtered light and will not produce its signature red-hot flowers in deep shaded areas of the landscape.

We love pink ginger because it adds height to the landscape and texture because of its interesting cone-shaped bunches of red flowers and slick, oblong leaf blades. Pink ginger is also easy to maintain, which is a win for Kauai property managers who want big impact and little stress.

heliconia are colorful, shade-loving plants that make a bold impact on Kauai landscapesHeliconia

This characteristically tropical plant is durable, long-lasting and comes in a range of varieties and colors—more than 350 types, actually. Their sizes range from 1 1/2–foot dwarf-sized heliconia to tree-sized plants that can grow upwards of 30 feet.

Heliconia are very popular in the landscape because of their striking appearance: Their petals, which grow on bracts, are shaped like spikes. Heliconia are readily available in Hawaii and grow here in the wild, so this native plant is an easy-to-maintain choice for property owners.

bromeliads are colorful, shade-loving plants that make a bold impact on Kauai landscapesBromeliad

Bromeliads are showy tropical plants that produce colorful flowers in all hues. There are upwards of 3,000 varieties—and the most popular (and only edible bromeliad) is the pineapple. You’ll get double the color from bromeliads with vibrant leaves that include magenta hues.

Their flowers are made up of a rosette of leaves and can vary in size from barely rising over the soil to up to 15 feet tall. They’re easy to grow on Kauai, and epiphytic species (known as “air plants”) of bromeliads enjoy rocky environments.

anthurium are colorful, shade-loving plants that make a bold impact on Kauai landscapesAnthurium

The anthurium is also known as Flamingo Flower, Tail Flower and Painted Tongue, and it can grow in the shadiest spaces of your Kauai property. The heart-shaped flower is actually a waxy leaf called a spathe, and its real flowers grow on a tiny spike that protrudes from the spathe called a spadix.

The flowering stalk of an anthurium is tall and slender, growing up to 15 feet in the landscape. This plant pick is perfect for adding height and color to dark areas of your landscape that could use a colorful pop of interest.  

Add Color To Your Shady Kauai Landscape

Most Kauai properties are microclimates in themselves, with areas of full-sun, complete shade and every light variance in between. The good news is there are a host of plants available for the darker places in your commercial landscape that might be ignored.

Let’s turn up the voltage with some shade-loving, colorful plants. Call us any time at (808) 335-5887, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.


Images: Bromeliad, Anthurium


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