Oahu’s top Tropical Flower destination on the island’s North Shore is Little Plumeria Farms
The world’s largest rare plumeria flower farm is in Hawaii
As a professional travel writer, Hawaii guidebook writer, and frequent Hawaii visitor, I toured Little Plumeria Farms in June 2023. Featuring 20 acres of orchards with flowering trees, the expansive farm is truly stunning. On my recent visit, I participated in a small-group tour led by the owner (and world-famous surf and shorebreak wave photographer) Clark Little, along with his talented son, Dane.
I was fortunate to be one of the first journalists to visit this beautiful Plumeria Farm after it opened to the public, so it was truly an incredible and exciting experience. I love touring flower gardens in my travels, and I adore tropical plants, so I was very excited to visit this hidden gem of a destination. The Little Plumeria Farm is filled with rare hybrid flowers of every color of the rainbow. As a matter of fact, it’s the world’s largest rare hybrid plumeria farm so it’s certainly a special place. The farm’s sprawling acres of colorful flowering trees feature an extensive array of hues and fragrances.
When I arrived at the farm this summer, a sea of vibrant plumeria blooms greeted me — accompanied by a sweet scent dancing in the warm Hawaiian breeze. The experience is quite spectacular and instantly transports you to a tropical paradise. Therefore, I highly recommend visiting here on your next Hawaii trip!
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply someone seeking a bit of tranquility, this hidden oasis on Oahu is a fabulous place to visit while in Hawaii.
I’m thrilled to share my Little Plumeria Farms adventure with you and help you plan your visit, too!
Where is Little Plumeria Farms located?
Located on Oahu’s North Shore, in the laid-back surf town of Haleiwa, this legendary, family-run plumeria farm is a must-visit destination. Although it opened in 1973, the family recently opened it to the public for the first time in May 2023. So, it’s still considered a hidden gem because they only host a limited number of visitors each season.
Little Plumeria Farms was originally started by Clark’s dad, Jim Little, a half-century ago. The farm today is operated by all three generations of his family – Jim, Clark, and Clark’s son, Dane.
Little Plumeria Farms is an enchanting and peaceful tropical paradise that feels far away from the rest of the island. It’s truly a beautiful sensory experience to stroll around the rarest plumeria trees in the world. Guests learn all about the flowers, how they grow, and how they are named.
Jim and the family members created cool names for the flowers, such as Hawaiian Rose, JL Metalica, Kimo, and Hurricane — to name a few. Since the tour is run by the owners, you’ll also hear fascinating stories about the family’s farm.
What’s so special about Plumeria flowers (and Little Plumeria Farms)?
This incredibly gorgeous flower farm is home to the largest collection of rare hybrid plumerias on earth. So if you are an avid gardener or interested in flowers, please add this to your “not to miss” list. Most of these hybrid blooms and were developed by Jim Little and his exceptional talent for hybridizing plumeria flowers.
What are plumeria flowers?
Plumeria are beautiful tropical flowers that are also called Frangipani. They are grown on small trees and come in a multitude of colors and unlimited shades — including bright pink, yellows, corals, reds, and purples. The fragrance of each color varies and often ranges wildly.
The flowers were originally brought to Hawaii in the late 1800s by Dr. William Hillebrand. Most species are deciduous, and they shed their leaves during the winter. In Hawaii, you will see these flowers growing everywhere, as they are part of the islands’ natural landscape! They are a favorite tree at large resorts, and you’ll also see them lining the streets and surrounding homes and schools. The flowers are used to make beautiful and elaborate leis of all colors and designs.
My recent tour of Little Plumeria Farms
See the video below of Clark Little discussing Little Plumeria Farms on a tour in 2023.
My exploration of Little Plumeria Farms was delightful, with every step revealing a new facet of the island’s natural beauty. The well-maintained trees and gardens showcase the many varieties of iconic plumeria. These exceptional trees surround you in brilliant colors and you simply can’t take your eyes off them. Everywhere you look is a different shade of blossom.
Visiting the Little Plumeria Farm on a tour
My tour of Little Plumeria Farms began a few miles away — at the North Shore Macadamia Nut Company, a rustic shop. It’s filled with fresh and delicious macadamia nuts! (And much more)! Visitors to the Little Plumeria Farms must park in the lot adjacent to the store in order to meet the shuttle vans that transport small groups of guests onto the farmland.
For this excursion, I was with my husband, Chris, and dear friend Bonnie, who lives on Oahu and drove us to the north shore that day. We had arrived early, so we spent some time shopping for macadamia nuts at the fantastic North Shore Macadamia Nut Company. Of course, we purchased several bags to bring home. This shop is overflowing with local food specialties and should not be overlooked.
The nuts are grown locally at Kamanui Orchard, considered Oahu’s top macadamia farm. Situated on the foothills of Mount Kaala (the island’s tallest peak at over 4,000 feet high), the farm encompasses 24 acres of land with over 1,700 nut trees.
We had a lot of fun browsing this family-run indoor-outdoor shop. In addition to macadamia nuts in a variety of flavors, this store also sells plenty of local food products that are suitable for unique and thoughtful gifts.
How does the farm tour start?
When the Plumeria tour shuttles arrived in the parking lot, our group of about 15 people gathered together by the white vans clearly marked with Little Plumeria Farms on the sides. We checked in with the friendly driver, a staff member from the farm.
The ride to Little Plumeria Farms is rather quick. It’s easy to see you’re heading into a secluded and private property as gates are opened for the shuttles to enter. After heading up a dirt road lined with plumeria trees, visitors arrive at the main center of the farm that features a tiny gift shop and a restroom area.
When we arrived, we realized right away that the Littles are a lovely, knowledgeable family who are completely passionate about plumerias. Our tour was led by Clark Little and his son, Dane. Both are professional gardeners and have in-depth knowledge of the farm. They have worked on the farm for many years — and know everything there is to know about plumerias.
They also love to share the farm’s history and explain the significance of plumeria in Hawaiian culture.
Touring Little Plumeria Farms
The tour is casual, fun, and interesting. Our enthusiastic group followed the Littles and their staff members down a path to the nursery, then through the peaceful orchards filled with plumeria trees, each one bursting with beautiful blooms.
Clark and Dane are very friendly and engaging. They encouraged the group to wander around and ask questions along the way. The Littles point out several different types of flowers, explaining how they are cultivated and cross-pollinated. Visitors have the chance to examine and admire each flower’s distinctive characteristics and to sniff the lovely tropical fragrances (and it was impressive how different the scents are).
The Littles gave us paper bags so we could pick as many flowers as wanted. Everyone is involved in picking flowers, taking photos, and asking our hosts many questions about the flowers and farm. (You can purchase thread later in the gift shop if you’d like to make a lei from the flowers you pick)!
Clark Little’s Tour of the plumeria flower orchard
Clark offered a lot of fascinating information during the tour. He says there are over a thousand plumeria seeds planted in the nursery and added, “There are 5,000 plumeria trees planted in the ground here, which include hundreds of different varieties — soon to be thousands.” All three generations are working to propagate the flowers and keep the legacy going.
In addition to the flowers, the views from the farm are amazing, and you can see mountains and the Pacific Ocean beyond the orchards. During the tour, guests visit the plumeria nursery area and are invited to stroll around the farm’s rare hybrid plumeria garden, with unique, cross-pollinated species named for family members.
There are plenty of opportunities for capturing memories through gorgeous photography here! Some guests had high-end photo equipment and spent time photographing the flowers and the natural surroundings. Others were gardeners and asked the family members specific questions about cultivation and suggestions on how to grow the flowers properly in other regions.
Learn all about plumeria cultivation
See the video below to watch Clark and Dane Little discuss seeds, cuttings and all things plumeria!
One of the highlights of my visit was the tour’s in-depth look into the art of plumeria cultivation. Clark and Dane love to educate visitors about plumeria propagation and enjoy sharing tips on how to grow them and keep them healthy. They shared their expertise and explained the importance of soil composition and the delicate balance of sunlight and water. As these engaging experts traced the journey from seed to blossom, I developed a new appreciation for the meticulous care that goes into cultivating these iconic flowers.
Ready to book your Oahu vacation? Click here for my personal hotel recommendations: where to stay in Waikiki
What Flowers can I buy at Little Plumeria Farms?
Yes, there’s a gift shop at Little Plumeria Farms! If you are a gardener or someone who has even a slight interest in gardening (or an appreciation of tropical flowers), I encourage you to purchase seeds or a cutting here. It’s the ultimate souvenir from your visit. This magical plumeria farm is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am sure you will want to bring home a tiny piece of it – in the form of a plumeria plant, of course!
You can purchase several items in the gift shop, including hats, t-shirts, and art pieces that are all related to the farm. I wanted a keepsake from this experience so I purchased a plumeria cutting (which looked like a 12” inch wooden stalk) for about $35 dollars. Also, I purchased a small packet of seeds. The experts in the shop packed my purchases properly. They carefully placed the cuttings and seeds in plastic with the proper tags affixed to them. (These items must be certified by the Department of Agriculture for travelers to take aboard an airplane).
Purchasing plumeria cuttings and seeds: My experience
I brought the cuttings and seeds home with me to New Jersey, USA about 5,000 miles away from Hawaii (and not a tropical location).
After I arrived home in mid-June of 2023, I was so excited to plant them! I planted the cutting and the seeds in different pots, according to instructions. I kept them outside on a sunny patio all summer and watered them generously. They grew like crazy! I think these are the fastest-growing plants I have ever seen. Currently, my plumeria cutting is now very large (see photo of me). It transformed into a thriving plant with many large green leaves. (The seeds I planted also grew very quickly and are almost as large).
I was shocked when so many sprouts popped up after one week! I had so many seedlings that I gave two plants to my sister and two others to my mother — and still have several fast-growing plants. However, I have not yet had any flowers but I’m hoping to see a bloom over the next year. At the end of the summer, I moved them inside our sunroom, so I’m looking forward to seeing some blooms in the spring (hopefully)!
The leaves are supposed to drop off in the winter, but so far, my plants still have their leaves.
How to book a tour at Little Plumeria Farm
The Little Plumeria Farms’ tours are available from April until October when the flowers are blooming. For more details, visit the Little Plumeria Farm website: https://littleplumeriafarms.com
Tips to view (and smell) the flowers at Little Plumeria Farms
Watch my quick video below with some close-up views of the stunning plumeria flowers!
How to have the best visit to Little Plumeria Farms
- Book your tour in advance. This tour sells out quickly! Also, don’t wait until you get to Hawaii to reserve your spot.
- Where to go for the tour: Currently, the plumeria farm staff picks up guests for the tour in the parking lot of the nearby Macadamia Nut Company. The farm is a great place to spend a few minutes browsing and purchasing a variety of macadamia nuts. Take a stroll around the store and buy a few local gifts for yourself (and some to take home).
- What to wear: Wear a sun hat with a wide brim and comfortable shoes (sneakers or hiking boots are best). The plumeria farm, is well, true working farm and you will be walking on dirt and mud most of the time.
- Bring sunscreen and a water bottle. Do not underestimate the strong Hawaiian sun!
Where to stay to visit the Plumeria Farm
Click here to see my own personal hotel recommendations: where to stay in Waikiki
NOTE: There are NOT many hotels close to the Little Plumeria Farm. The closest hotel on the North Shore of Oahu, is the luxury resort, Turtle Bay.
- Where is the farm located? Little Plumeria Farms is on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s across the island from Waikiki, where most of the hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues are located on Oahu. You can easily drive to the farm (about 35 miles / a 50-minute drive, depending on traffic). Be sure to plan your visit around the traffic, which can be quite heavy at times. You can also make this just one stop on a longer visit to the iconic North Shore of Oahu. Note: taxis and ubers / rideshares are VERY limited on the North Shore, so be sure you have a ride back into town if you get a ride and don’t drive yourself.
- When are the tours? You can take a Plumeria Farm tour in the morning or afternoon. Please note the exact time when you book your tour. Arrive a few minutes early because guests are transported there via shuttle bus. You will be walking around in bright sunshine and the Hawaiian sun is very hot! You are outdoors on this tour. Although you can stand under the trees for a (little) shade, it’s very hot in the mid-day sun.
- Restrooms: It’s important to note: the restrooms at the Plumeria Farm are more modern (and nicer) than the Macadamia nut store. (Just an FYI). Generally speaking, it’s also not easy to find restrooms on the North Shore. Please keep this in mind as you plan your day.
Tour Prices for Little Plumeria Farms
Guided group tours are about an hour and include picking your own plumeria flowers, so you will have a colorful assortment of blooms when you leave. (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).
Prices are $45 for adults and $25 for children 13 and under. For private tours, contact Little Plumeria Farm directly for options, prices, and details.
Planning a trip to Oahu and want to visit the Little Plumeria Farm? Interested in booking a hotel in Waikiki, Oahu?
Summary: Why Little Plumeria Farms should be on your must-See list when you visit Hawaii!
My visit to Little Plumeria Farms was a symphony of colors, scents, and genuine Hawaiian hospitality. On your next visit to Oahu, be sure to carve out time to visit this enchanting escape. You will love this exceptional destination!
Thinking about visiting other Hawaiian Islands? Read my other popular posts: Maui and The Big Island (ultimate comparison guide) and How Long is a Flight to Hawaii?