Hawaiian Names with Diacritics
Endangered Species Status
Plant Form / Growth Habit
- Non-Woody, Spreading
Mature Size, Height (in feet)
- Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1
- Herbaceous, Medium, 1-3
Long lived (Greater than 5 years)
- Ground Cover
- Specimen Plant
Additional Landscape Use Information
ʻIhi is not a difficult plant to grow if some general cultivation rules are followed: full sun with a fast draining soil holding little moisture.
These are great potted plants for the often harsh conditions on full sun and windy porches or lānais. If kept in containers, best to use a 4 to 6 inch cement, terra cotta, or unglazed ceramic pots which are preferred over plastic ones. These types of potting containers tend to breath better and allow potting mix to dry out quicker, essential for the health of these xeric plants. Too, the weight of the pots will help these succulents from toppling over in windy conditions and as they grow larger in the pots. Use a very dry potting mix (i.e. cactus mix) with perfect drainage. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]
Plants prefer to be root bound and will do well as long as soil is remaining in the pot.
Plant Produces Flowers
Additional Flower Color Information
This ʻihi has bright lemony yellow flowers.
- Year Round
Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information
Each flower opens for one day. If there are several flowers on each stalk, flowering can last for several days.
Additional Plant Texture Information
Leaves are about 2 inches long or wide.
- Medium Green
Additional Pest & Disease Information
ʻIhi is prone to slugs, ants, mealy bugs, scale, thrips, spider mites and aphids, root mealy bugs and scale. Fungal rot can be a major problem so do not let water remain on the surface. ʻIhi needs well drained soil. Water in the morning to allow the pot to dry out during the day.
Not recommended for those who love to water plants!
An application of a balanced slow release fertilize with minor elements every 6 months. Foliar feed monthly with kelp or fish emulsion, or a water-soluble fertilizer with a dilution of one half to one third of recommended strength.
None necessary except to remove dead leaves and spent flower stalks, but will eventually drop off if left alone. Plants can be divided. [Native Nursery, LLC]
Additional Water Information
Once plant is established, let plant dry out between waterings
Soil must be well drained
- Full sun
Additional Lighting Information
In full sunlight stems get to be about the thickness of a cigar.
Does not like wet conditions and will rot in constantly wet soils. If you like to water ...water ...water your plants, then do get this plant.
Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)
- Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
- 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
Additional Habitat Information
This rare species of portulaca is restricted to a few coastal sites Molokini, Puʻukoaʻe Islet (Maui) and Kamōhio Bay, Kahoʻolawe. It is known to grow in volcanic tuff, detritus at base of sea cliff and on steep rocky slopes from about 30 to about 375 feet.
ʻIhi (Portulaca spp.) are members of the Purslane family or Portulacaceae. Many, such as portulacas and lewisias, have succulent leaves and very colorful flowers that are commonly seen in home gardens.
There are four species of Portulaca native to the Hawaiian Archipelago.
The generic name Portulaca is the Latin name for purslane (P. oleracea).
The specific epithet molokiniensis refers to Molokini Islet off Maui's southern coast--one of the few places this endngered species can naturally be found growing.
This endangered endemic portulaca is similar to its close relative, the indigenous Portulaca lutea. But the two plants in cultivation can be ditinguished by the following characteristics:
- a taller upright growing plant with thicker stems and leaves
- stalks with denser flower clusters
- flat seeds are tiny and spiny.
- generally a prostrate growing plant
- few flowers closer to leaves
- flat seeds are tiny and smooth.
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Other Nursery Profiles for Portulaca molokiniensis