Look… There is a sunflower field right off a busy highway in Central Maui.
In Search of Giant Yellow Flowers on a Hawaiian Island
I didn’t expect it. A large field dotted with almost two-foot long sunflowers looked out of place against dramatic mountains towering in the background. The most incredible thing, however, was that these sunflowers bloomed in the least expected place, right off a busy highway in Central Maui.
Sunflower Field on Maui
The sunflower field is a new addition to the remarkable landscape of Maui. For 145 years, the 36,000-acre parcel of land in the central part of the island was used as a sugarcane plantation. The sugar industry was on the rise in Hawaii for a while. During that time, it was one of the cornerstones of the entire island’s industry that employed many locals.
The demand for Hawaiian sugar was high, but unfortunately not for long. After World War II, the mainland, a primary consumer of Hawaiian sugar, started to favor cheaper products imported from abroad. The sugarcane companies from the islands couldn’t compete with them. Eventually the entire industry collapsed.
But the fertile soil of Central Maui couldn’t be neglected for long. Pacific Biodiesel, a local company with an eco-sustainable mission, has planted sunflowers on 115 acres of the former sugarcane plantation.
Where to Find Sunflower Field on Maui
The sunflower field is located in Central Maui, right off Kuihelani Highway (Highway 380) near Honoapiilani Highway (Highway 30). Although a private property, no fences separate the field and prevent random travelers from stopping for a quick photo opportunity.
Yet caution is needed. The 4-lane highway is busy. Park along the shoulder of the road and admire Maui’s sunflowers from a distance. If you still must cross the highway, do it with extra caution.
Maui’s sunflowers are a biofuel crop. Pacific Biodiesel harvests its giant flowers 110 days after planting them. The oil the company extracts from the plants is used for different purposes by small and large businesses on Maui.
Interestingly enough, the field of sunflowers has never been intended to become a local attraction. But it has turned into exactly that – an extension of the natural beauty of the island, enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.
Map: Directions from Lahaina and Kahului
It takes 25 minutes to get to the sunflower field from Lahaina, the busiest town on Maui. The distance from Kahului is roughly 6 miles (10 minutes).
Tips for Visiting the Sunflower Field
When to See Sunflowers
The sunflowers on Maui bloom several times a year, depending on the time they were planted. You can see them in their prime glory in November and December, in June and even July. We visited Maui in early March, and the flowers were still blooming. But it was obvious that the blooming season was coming to an end.
People flock to Central Maui during the months when the sunflowers bloom. There is nobody to stop them from entering the field. But if you enter, do it with respect to the private property. Don’t pick or trample the flowers.
When you visit the flower field in Central Maui, keep an eye on sunflower-loving insects. Bees love these plants. So try not to get stung by them while taking pictures of the sunflowers and the mountains behind them.