Unlikely Harmony: Maple Trees in Tropical Hawaii

The 3 types of maple trees that grow in Hawaii are the Dwarf Japanese Maple (Joji), Queensland Maple, and the Red Maple.

Hawaii’s climate may not be the most hospitable for most maple trees, but surprisingly, there are several varieties that can flourish in these tropical islands.

In this article, we will explore a few maple tree species that have managed to adapt to Hawaii’s unique environment.

1. Dwarf Japanese Maple (Joji)

The Dwarf Japanese Maple, known as Joji in Hawaii, is a resilient maple tree that has successfully acclimated to the local climate.

With an average height of six to 10 feet, this compact variety adds a vibrant touch to the Hawaiian scenery.

Its striking leaves start out in shades of red and gradually transform to a lush green as they mature.

The Dwarf Japanese Maple is a popular choice among gardeners seeking a touch of elegance in their landscapes.

Benefits Of Growing a Dwarf Japanese Maple ‘Joji’ Tree In Hawaii

Growing a Dwarf Japanese Maple ‘Joji’ tree in Hawaii can have several benefits, including:

1. Suitable for Hawaii’s climate: The Dwarf Japanese Maple ‘Joji’ tree is one of the only maple species that can thrive in Hawaii’s climate. This makes it an ideal tree to grow in Hawaii, where the climate is tropical.

2. Great for small spaces: The Dwarf Japanese Maple ‘Joji’ tree is a small tree that can reach a height of six to 10 feet. This makes it a great choice for small gardens or container gardening on terraces and patios.

3. Beautiful foliage: The leaves of the Dwarf Japanese Maple ‘Joji’ tree start out red and turn green when they reach maturity. This makes it a beautiful addition to any landscape design.

4. Low maintenance: While Japanese maples have a reputation for being fussy, the Dwarf Japanese Maple ‘Joji’ tree is not that difficult to care for if planted in its preferred conditions. It is slow-to-moderate in growth rate, so it requires a bit of patience, but it is not high maintenance.

2. Queensland Maple

Despite its misleading name, the Queensland Maple is not a true maple tree.

However, its resemblance to maples has earned it this designation.

Belonging to the Citrus/Rue family, this large evergreen tree can be found in various parts of Hawaii.

With its broad and glossy leaves, the Queensland Maple offers a refreshing shade and contributes to the diverse flora of the islands.

Benefits Of Growing a Queensland Maple In Hawaii

Queensland Maple is a large evergreen tree that is not a true maple tree but has gotten this name due to its similar appearance. It is a member of the Citrus/Rue family and is native to Australia.

Here are some benefits of growing a Queensland Maple in Hawaii.

  1. Timber production: Queensland Maple is a valuable timber species comparable in quality to mahogany and walnut. It can be grown in Hawaii and used for timber production.
  2. Ornamental value: Queensland Maple is a beautiful tree with glossy green leaves and fragrant flowers. It can be grown in Hawaii as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
  3. Wind protection: Queensland Maple can grow well in protected areas and can provide wind protection for other plants.
  4. Habitat for wildlife: Queensland Maple can provide habitat for wildlife, including birds and insects.

3. Red Maple

The Red Maple, found not only in Hawaii but also in other locations, is a majestic deciduous tree that can reach towering heights of up to 90 feet, with a diameter of 4 feet.

While its smooth gray bark darkens and becomes rougher as the tree ages, its vibrant foliage adds a burst of color to the landscape.

The Red Maple’s ability to adapt to diverse climates makes it a versatile choice for many regions, including Hawaii.

Benefits Of Growing a Red Maple In Hawaii

Red Maple is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 90 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter.

It is named for its red flowers, red fruit, red twigs, and its brilliant red fall foliage.

Here are some benefits of growing a Red Maple in Hawaii:

  1. Ornamental value: Red Maple is a beautiful tree with striking scarlet leaves in the fall. It can be grown in Hawaii as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
  2. Fast-growing: Red Maple is a fast-growing tree that can reach up to 90 feet tall. This makes it a great choice for those looking for a tree that will grow quickly.
  3. Adaptable: Red Maple has adaptable roots that help it cope with differing soil types. This means that it can grow well in a variety of soil conditions in Hawaii.
  4. Wood production: While Red Maple wood is soft and often deformed, it can still be used for making clothespins, musical instruments, and boxes. It can be grown in Hawaii and used for wood production.


Does Hawaii produce maple syrup?

No, Hawaii does not produce maple syrup. Maple syrup farms and orchards are not found in Hawaii. However, there have been some attempts to produce maple syrup in Hawaii, but they have not been successful. Instead, Hawaii produces organic syrup made from palm trees.

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