Urban Garden Center Gardens

  • Type of Garden: Public Garden
  • Established: 1988 (prior to 1965 was occupied by the Navy, National Guard, flood zone area; 1965 to 1988 community gardens; 1988 started fruit and plumeria gardens)
  • Size: 30 acres
  • Average Time To Walk Through: 45 minutes
  • Elevation: 17 ft. parking area
  • Soil: Various soil types, with 6.5 to 7.2 pH
  • Rainfall: Average 20 inches per year, predominantly in March and November
  • Best Season for Viewing: Spring
  • Wheel Chair Access: Limited
  • Lost or Found: Located at the Main Office
  • First Aid Kit: Located in the Field Office and Classroom
  • Garden tours are by appointment only. E-mail OahuMG@hawaii.edu to schedule an appointment for group tours in the Fall.  
  • Garden Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (except holidays).
  • Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except holidays). All visitors must check in at the Main Office.

Aloha COVID Style

Compost area


Gardenia Garde

Sundial garden

Volunteers Covid Style

Fruit orchard

Fruit Tree Container Garden

Bonsai garden

Caterpillar tunnel

Boardwalk Garden

Fruit Orchard + Theft Issues

Peace Garden

UGC Plant Sales

Animal Garden

Some of our gardens

Ecosystem Forest: Currently under renovation, the forest will contain native and Polynesian introduced plants.  Coastal, mesic, and dry land are the three primary ecosystems in the landscape.  Additionally, two species of Azadirachta, or Neem Tree are in the landscape, with other non-native plants such as cotton, Erythrina sp., bamboo and some ferns.  An amphitheater is located here for school tours to do activities.

Subtropical Fruit Orchard: Citrus and mango cultivars occupy about half of the 4 ½ acres.  Collections of guava, lychee, longan, mountain apple and avocados are examples of what is found in the orchard.  Fruits such as carambola, otaheite gooseberry, chico, black sapote, abiu, wi, tamarind, jack fruit, breadfruit, and others make up for the rest of the fruit orchard.  
Heleconia: There are 41 different Heleconia sp. on display here. 
Plumeria: Over 70 different cultivars are in bloom during the season.
Herb Garden: The original Herb Garden was designed and implemented in 1989, showcasing a variety of herbal themes in designed landscapes.  The original four quadrants are currently being renovated with organic gardening practices to revive the original herbal themes and show diverse landscape materials.  The herbal themes, working clockwise from the front-right quadrant, are culinary, medicinal, other, and Asian spice.  

Idea Garden: Sample of what gardeners can grow on Oahu.  UH varieties of, for example, cucumbers, soybeans, or lettuce are grown to show how these have been adapted to Hawaii’s climate. Hard to find cultivars of different vegetables and grains are grown seasonally. Various containers and beds for physically challenged and senior gardeners are on display.  
Vines: Thirty different subtropical vines are found on fan trellises and arbors.
Greens/Lei: Different plants used for lei making are found planted behind the Hedge Maze.

Flowers around the garden

Crotons: A colorful rainbow of different varieties lines the front entrance to the facility.
Hedge Maze: Over 60 different plant materials are at the hedge maze.  Plantings are spaced two feet apart.  Trimming is done every 3-4 weeks.
Compost Area: Various compost bins are being demonstrated for the home gardener.  Home-made bins are also on display.  Various mulches are also on display.  Approximately 2,500 cubic yards of mulch are spread yearly in the garden areas.  Currently, a compost demonstration site to provide compost for our gardens has been started.
Trial Garden Site: Volunteers are allowed to garden and are encouraged to grow various crops.  Produce is the property of the Urban Garden Center volunteers and staff. Winter melon, soybeans, beets, bittermelon, virus-free Tahitian taro, okra, yard-long beans, and eggplant are just a few of the common vegetables grown by volunteers.  Vine-type vegetables are found growing on the trellises.  School tours with advance appointments have access to visit the garden site during the year.
Greenhouse: A 4,800 square feet shade house (20% shade in front and 80% shade in rear) is used to propagate and grow plants for future landscape projects as well as for germplasm collection of anthurium, orchids, and other ornamentals.
Hibiscus: There are Hibiscus sp. cultivars with flower colors including red, pink, yellow, orange, white and colors in-between planted here.
Children’s Garden:

1.  Pizza: Plants that are commonly found on a pizza are found in this garden, such as basil, pineapple, wheat, tomato, parsley, chili pepper, and green pepper.  

2.  Animal:  Plant collection with animal names in major categories (wild animals, farm animals, house hold pets, birds, ocean creatures and insects) are found in this garden.  

3.  Hawaiian Alphabet Tree: Native Hawaiian trees representing the 13 letters of the alphabet (5 vowels, 8 consonants including the okina) found in the Hawaiian language are located in this garden.  

4.  Sundial: A combination sundial and compass features have been incorporated in this garden.   

Bamboo around UGC

5.  Sensory: Accessible to the physically challenged, this garden is equipped with hand railings and the only one with concrete walkways.  Plants with color, texture, geometric growth and patterns are planted in two raised garden beds.   

6.  Boardwalk: Accessed by two different bridges, visitors can walk along a unique boardwalk and see a collection of plants with varied color, shape, and texture.

7.  House: A story book house can be found here.  There are five different rooms with plants associated with each room (such as bottle brush tree in the kitchen or shower tree in the bathroom). 

8.  Butterfly: Kids will enjoy walking through a caterpillar tunnel and watch Monarch butterflies hover overhead.  9.  Alika Rabbit Garden   The tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor was adapted for this garden theme. 

Variegated Plant Collections: Over 12 different plants with splashes of white and green occupy this site.   Day Lily Trial Gardens  Different varieties of heat tolerant day lilies are shown here. 

UGC Office

Hawaiian Herbal Garden:  Organic practices are used in growing Hawaiian medicinal plants such as aloe, kukui, laukahi, and ti. 

Gardenia Garden: Sweetly scented gardenia bushes and trees are planted.

Bromeliad Collection:  These unique plants are found in the bus turnaround area and along the sidewalk leading to our main office.

Container Gardens: Throughout the gardens, various containers have been arranged along pathways and around buildings.

Rose Trial Garden: Through a partnership with the Honolulu Rose Society (HRS), the Grand Opening of the UGC Rose Garden took place in February 2010 featuring 135 roses in 9 varieties.  The area continues to be developed and improved to showcase the latest and greatest roses.  It currently features over 280 rose plants in over 85 varieties (June 2021).  Please visit the HRS Urban Garden Center webpage at http://www.honolulurosesociety.org/ugc-rose-garden.html for more information.

Sunflowers at the Garden