Plants for a mediterranean-garden

Posted By: Adrian Medina

It needs little watering, it is environmentally friendly and needs hardly maintenance.

For us, the typical Mediterranean garden is full of advantages.

But we know that creating your own can be a challenge if you don't have a lot of gardening experience. Because it is not always easy to know which species are most suitable for this climate.

If you also have doubts, take note, because in this article we are going to tell you the plants that you can have in a Mediterranean garden.

Ready? Let’s go for it.

What are the characteristics of the plants in a Mediterranean garden?

The variety of species that you can find in the Mediterranean climate zones is wide.

In this post we are going to see some of the most popular species. But in addition to that, we want you to be clear, they are the characteristics of Mediterranean plants, so you can choose the ones you like the most from this list and thus make a garden to your liking:

In general, these species have three points in common:

  1. Low water consumption: coastal plants are used to suffering from a dry climate, with very little rainfall throughout the year. So they are a perfect option to save water.
  2. Heat resistant: be really careful with this. A common mistake is trying to bring plants from northern Europe to our climate. But this type of species does not usually vary well in drought and in the high temperatures typical of the Mediterranean coast. In the case of the tropical ones there are several species that work well, but some of them will need almost daily irrigation.
  3. Very colorful: if you really want to replicate the whole essence of a Mediterranean garden in your home, you need to give it color. Coastal gardens are characterized by an intense display of colors and aromas, especially when temperatures change and plants that affect flowering.

Most Mediterranean plants are suitable for gardens in the interior of Spain, as long as during winter they are not exposed to temperatures well below 0 degrees.

25 plants to create a Mediterranean garden

Now we are going to show you some of the most commonly seen plant species in a Mediterranean garden.

To make it easier for you to choose them, we have divided them into five categories:

  • Trees.
  • Shrubbery.
  • Flowering plants.
  • Aromatic plants.
  • Climbers.

Let's go see them.

1. Trees for a Mediterranean garden

Not all plants in a Mediterranean garden are capable of withstanding direct sun exposure.

That is why it is so important to have trees that create shady areas in the garden.

These are some of the most common:

  • European Olea (olive): perhaps the most iconic evergreen in the Mediterranean mountains. With a gray-green trunk when young, as the years go by it darkens and becomes knotty. It is a very robust tree, which is covered in white flowers during spring. Around June, the flowers lose their petals and the fruits begin to form.
  • Cupressus sempervirens (cypress): the species of cypress typical of Mediterranean gardens, and one of the few conifers that has been able to adapt to this climate. It grows fast during its first years of life and supports frequent pruning.
  • Punica granatum (pomegranate): a deciduous fruit tree that reaches 6 meters in height. Its fruits appear between autumn and winter.
  • Ficus carica (fig tree): similar in size to pomegranate, the fruits of the fig tree develop throughout the summer.
  • Prunus pisardii (red cherry): a beautiful ornamental deciduous tree. During the fall its leaves turn between red and purple.

Ornamental species, such as Prunus Pisardii, may need up to one or two irrigations a week during the summer, while other species such as the olive tree are able to tolerate long droughts.

If you also want to have touches of a tropical garden, you can also plant palm trees. 

2. Shrubs for a Mediterranean garden

Among the plants in Mediterranean gardens there is usually no lack of shrubs.

The most common is to use them to form hedges, or as natural borders around the beds.

Some common species are:

  • Nerium oleander (oleander): widely used to make flowering hedges. The oleander grows to form plant masses of medium height, and during the summer it unfolds its pink flowers. But these flowers are poisonous if ingested and can irritate the skin, so it is convenient to place it in the outdoor area of the garden.
  • Eunymous japonicus (eponym): a shrub that is easy to grow and requires little maintenance. It supports frequent pruning and adapts well to the wind and maritime climate. It grows in the form of dense walls, which is why it is often used as a screen hedge.
  • Laurus nobilis (laurel): a classic scrub from the Mediterranean bush. It is a low-growing perennial shrub, often used for edging. Its leaves give off a soft aroma.
  • Western Thuja (tuya): a conifer typical of temperate climates. It can be pruned to shape it.
  • Pittosporum tobira (pitosporo): also known as Orange Blossom of China. A low-growing shrub widely used to form low hedges. It supports wind and environmental pollution well, making it suitable for central areas.

The variety you choose will largely depend on whether you prefer to have a formal or informal looking garden.

3. Floral plants for a Mediterranean garden

As we told you before, color is a main element among the plants of Mediterranean gardens.

Here are some very interesting species:

  • Gazania rigens (gazania): white, red or orange flowers. The peculiarity of this plant is that its petals open in the sun and close at nightfall.
  • Verbena hybrida (Verbena): The Verbena genus is made up of a wide variety of herbaceous species, some of which grow upright and others as upholstery. It displays some delicate flowers of very different colors, ranging from white, red, pink, blue and violet. It can live up to 3 or 4 years in temperate climates.
  • Tulbaghia violacea (tulbagia): This plant is very well adapted to the maritime climate. It is often used to form borders and flower beds. It withstands long periods of drought and grows well in all soil types.
  • Pelargonium peltatum (gypsy): the undisputed queen of the Andalusian patios. This hanging branch plant develops brightly colored flowers. Perfect to have it in a pot hanging on the wall.
  • Euryops pectinatus (yellow daisy): the yellow daisy is a very interesting flower for Mediterranean gardens. It bears drought and the petals of its flowers have a very intense color. In two years it reaches its maximum height.

In coastal gardens it is common to use these flowers in pots, decorating windows and balconies, or forming flower beds of various colours.

4. Aromatic plants for a Mediterranean garden

Many of the aromatic plants that you use every day in your kitchen come from the Mediterranean coast.

For example:

  • Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary): used since ancient times for its culinary and medicinal properties. It is a woody and perennial shrub that supports drought well.
  • Lavandula sp (lavender): all lavender species are suitable for a Mediterranean garden. During spring and summer you can enjoy its characteristic aroma that, in addition, drives away mosquitoes.
  • Petroselinum crispum (parsley): On a nutritional level, parsley is one of the most complete culinary plants you can have in your garden. Rich in vitamin C, it is good for the bones and the kidney. Regarding its ornamental value, in early spring it is covered with some very decorative white inflorescences in the form of umbrellas.
  • Salvia officinalis (sage): Sage can live both at sea level and in high areas. It is a perennial with beautiful purple bell shaped flowers.
  • Thymus vulgaris (thyme): This plant, also very typical in kitchens, displays small white flowers during spring. At this time it will fill your garden with its unmistakable smell.

Now we are going to see the climbers.

5. Climbers for a Mediterranean garden

In Mediterranean gardens, climbing plants often grow on pergolas or attached to house walls.

Here are five of the most popular options:

  • Bounganvillea (Bougainvillea): bougainvillea is noticeable in summer, when it unfolds its colorful pink flowers. Although in reality it is not the flowers themselves, but bracts. It is well adapted to both Mediterranean summer and winter.
  • Jasminus offiicinale (jasmine): the aroma of jasmine is unmistakable. You will notice it more strongly on sunny days, so try to place it in a place where it receives enough hours of daylight. It is a plant with slightly higher water needs than the rest, which during the summer will ask you to water it every other day or so.
  • Bignonia capreolata (climbing bignonia): a climbing plant with dense foliage, with very striking trumpet-shaped flowers. This plant, so typical of Mediterranean gardens, is a safe bet for any pergola or wall.
  • Plumbago capensis (plumbago): although it is a shrub, this plant has excellent climbing qualities. The flowers of the capensis variety are blue, but you can also find other varieties of white petals. It blooms almost throughout the year.
  • Wisteria (wisteria): The wisteria flowers fall in beautiful pink or purple waterfalls. Although it takes a few years to flower after planting it, we assure you that the wait is worth it. In addition, its woody trunk allows it to develop even as a small tree.

The intense colors of these climbers are often used in contrast to the typical white walls of Mediterranean houses.

Ready to fill your Mediterranean garden with plants?

As you have seen, there is a lot to choose from if you want to build your own Mediterranean garden.

But just as important as choosing the right species of plants is knowing how to distribute them.

Because the fundamental thing is to create a harmonious composition, in which the sun plants receive enough hours of light and those of shade are sheltered under larger ones.

If you have doubts, we can help you.

At Viveros González we are specialists in garden design, and we have made several Mediterranean gardens.

If you want us to help you, you just have to contact us and we will get going.

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