Choosing plants for a garden in our Mediterranean
climate is the same as for all gardens: it requires careful
consideration. Choose plants for shape, texture, colour, consider
size, evergreen foliage or edible fruit. What are the plants
meant to achieve: to cover the soil, provide colourful bloom,
protect against wind or views? Consider house style, relaxed
and natural, or more formal with clipped evergreens?
Study the site. Drought-tolerant plants are
highly specialized and the position chosen should suit their
needs. Allow for future growth. Plant selection also
depends on you readiness to blend into the local setting and
the surrounding lands.
We've listed a number of plants that are
easy for beginners and widely available. You'll discover that
they are dozens more, but this should get you started. And
the plants that we've selected for the coastal garden section
can, of course, be used inland as well. All are drought-tolerant
unless indicated otherwise.
agapanthus provides year-round labour-saving ground
cover. Available in a bewildering range of cultivars,
they mainly differ in size and compactness of flower
umbels. Divide rootstocks after flowering. Flowering
will resume in 1 - 2 years.
vivid-flowering, quick-spreading ground covers to various
heights are most desirable. The African daisy flowers
best on free-draining sunny slopes. Water until established.
Easily propegated by cuttings.
vigorous climber or bank cover will delight you with
its extravagant colour display. Bougainvillea strives
on poor soil, drought, general neglect, but abhors root
disturbance. Plant carefully and stake well, and long
spiny shoots cover your house within the twinkling of
| Ficus carica
edible fig is fast-growing and undemanding, thrives
in hot sun and will reach 3 - 7 metres. Drought-tolerant
to the point that seedlings grow from stone walls where
roots are difficult to remove. Irrigation or fertilizers
promote sappy growth and reduce fruit quality. Beautiful
foliage patterns and delicious fruits.
| Ficus elastica
known as an indoor plant, the evergreen rubber plant
will thrive outdoors in mulched garden soil. Giant spreading
tree, requires little light. Most reach a shrubby 2
- 9 metres, drought-tolerant once established.
of the evergreen oleander quickly spread 2 - 3 metres,
giving instant cover. Leathery leaves cope with driest
air, roots search deeply for moisture. Plant in any
well-drained and mulched soil, even brackish or saline,
in hottest sun. Water to establish. All parts are poisonous
to the extent that pruned twigs used to burn your barbecue
| Opuntia ficus-indica
barbary fig grows next to Mediterranean farmsteads,
reaching tree-like proportion. Juicy golden fruit are
tasty, once peeled. A well-grown plant shows magnificent
outlines against an evening sky. Planted close together,
they gradually become an impenetrable hedge. A fallen
leave takes root, often quicker than when carefully
| Palm trees,
the Mediterranean fan palm is the only species native
to mainland Spain, many others will thrive. Try Brahea
armata, the blue fan palm, Brahea edulis,
the Guadalupe palm, slow-growing but beautiful Butia
capitata, or yatay palm, Jubea chilensis,
the Chilean wine palm, Phoenix dactylifera or
canariensis, the true date palm and canary date
palm respectively, or Washingtonia filifera or
robusta, the Californian and Mexican washingtonia.
Most palms need watering until established, which may
take several years.
come in many sizes from potted plants to all-embracing
vines. Flowers, from minute and exquisite to 12 cm across,
are of many colours. Flowering is best once hot summer
is over and lasts nearly all year. Fruits are exquisite
or insipid. Passion-flowers require minimal care. Plant
in humusy soil, head in sun, roots in shade. Cut half
back for vigorous growth.
have grown geranium all our lives, but may not realize
that they are natives of the Cape, which has a Mediterranean
climate and nobody to water them in the wild. Try to
simulate native conditions such as light well-drained
soil in warm, sunny positions. Water only when needed.
Pampering with rich soil, irrigation or fertilizer shortens
their life, full shade encourages lank growth.
| Punica granatum
deciduous, spiny-branched pomegranate, or granada
in Spanish, has many assets. Enjoy its magnificent coppery
spring foliage, golden in autumn, and bright orange
to red flowers. Tart, leather-skinned fruits can be
stored for refreshing drinks. Drought-tolerant, it requires
alkaline soil, sharp drainage, hot sun. An excellent
candidate for life with animals or a mainstay of dry
orange and purple flowers among evergreen banana-like
leaves give bird of paradise an exotic look. Pampered
and allowed to become crowded, this is an excellent
choice for hot locations, litter-free near the pool
or grown in a container on a terrace. Grown from seed,
they will flower after 6 - 8 years. Strelitzia nicolai
has less spectacular all-white flowers, but compensates
by reaching 4 - 6 metres.
| Vitis vinifera
deciduous grape vine soon covers an arbour. Locals will
gladly help you to choose suitable varieties and sites,
also with pruning. Tender leaves enrich Greek cooking.
are undemanding evergreen perennials with sword-shaped,
succulent leaves. Some with time turn into shrubs, even
trees. Essential in Mediterranean gardens, they are
at their best where their architectural outlines
and startling flowers stand out. Even young plants confer
instant style to a dull area. Tolerant of shallow ground,
coastal and desert conditions or wind, they like sunny
easy calla lily grows and flowers with no demands other
than natural winter rain and a reasonably light, mulched
soil in dappled shade. Dying down with summer drought,
it is restored by autumn rains, producing lush foliage
which frames magnificent flowers in early spring.
Sparsam mit Wasser
Garten am Meer