Hillebrandia sandwicensis (Aka 'Aka 'Awa)

Scientific Name

Hillebrandia sandwicensis Oliv.

Common Names

Aka 'Aka 'Awa

Scientific Classification

Family: Begoniaceae
Genus: Hillebrandia


Color: Pink and white
Bloom Time: February to June


Hillebrandia sandwicensis is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, similar to Begonia. It grows up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, spreading from the root into many soft green stems with a profusion of conspicuously large leaves. Each stem produces several clusters of delicate pink and white blossoms. It produces tubers, to which the above-ground parts of the plant die back to after having fruit in the summer. The seeds are tiny. Plants regrow in January. It blooms from February to June.

Hillebrandia sandwicensis - Aka 'Aka 'Awa
Photo via picssr.com


USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Hillebrandia sandwicensis is the only one of the 1400 or so species in the family Begoniaceae not to be a member of the genus Begonia. It is the sister taxon to the rest of its family. Additionally, it is the only member of its family natively found in the Hawaiian Islands.

Begonias are rather versatile in their requirements: Old-fashioned Wax Begonias are great in the shade, but several newer Wax Begonia varieties are perfectly happy in full shade to full sun. No matter where you plant begonias, it's a good idea to give plants a regular dose of fertilizer to help fuel the constant barrage of blooms they're bound to throw at you.

When it comes to watering begonias, finding a good balance is key for healthy plants. Most Begonia varieties need to be consistently watered but shouldn't get too wet (too much water can kill them). So, don't be afraid to let the plants dry out a little between each watering. Begonia boliviensis varieties particularly like sharp drainage, as they're native to growing on cliff walls.

Most Begonias grow upright. For containers or hanging baskets, look for Begonia boliviensis and Angel Wing types, which have a more cascading habit. See more at How to Grow and Care for Begonia.


Native to some of the Hawaiian Islands.


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