The Mediterranean climate is characterized by having dry and very hot summers and mild winters. The plants that we want to have in the regions that have this climate must be able to withstand the strong summer sunshine, as well as the lack of rain , especially if we are going to plant them in a low-maintenance garden.
Finding plants for the Mediterranean climate is sometimes a very complicated task, because we do not always find those that are to our liking. But that won’t happen to you anymore. In this special we are going to give you a list of plants that you can have both in gardens and on Mediterranean terraces.
- 1 Trees
- 1.1 Ornamental
- 1.2 Fruit trees
- 2 bushes
- 2.1 Climbers
- 3 aromatic
- 4 flowers
- 5 Palm trees and the like
- 6 succulent plants
- 6.1 Cacti
- 6.2 Succulents
Let’s not fool ourselves: ornamental trees that are planted in gardens with a Mediterranean climate need at least weekly watering, especially during the summer. But they are very decorative species, which grow well in the limestone soils typical of these regions. Among all, we recommend:
- Acacia baileyana (mimosa): evergreen tree with flowers that resemble a small pompom, 1cm, and yellow. It grows up to 8 meters high.
- Albizia julibrissin (Silk Tree): deciduous tree up to 15m tall, with a wide crown and pink inflorescence.
- Bauhinia variegata (Cow’s foot tree): deciduous tree up to 12m. It has oval leaves, up to 20cm, and pink or white flowers.
- Cercis siliquastrum (Tree of love):deciduous tree up to 6m, with simple rounded leaves and lilac inflorescences.
- Prunus pissardii (Ornamental Cherry): deciduous tree up to 15m, with purple leaves and pink flowers.
There are very few fruit trees, and most want plenty of water. However, there are some that resist periods of drought well:
- Ficus carica (fig tree):it is deciduous, and grows up to 5 meters. It produces figs with a sweet flavor during the summer (August in the Northern Hemisphere).
- Prunus dulcis (almond):it is the only species of Prunus that has managed to naturalize in the Mediterranean. It grows up to 6-7 meters, and is deciduous. At the end of winter it is filled with white flowers, and in autumn its fruits, the almonds, ripen.
- Punica granatum (pomegranate):it is a tree of up to 6 meters that has deciduous leaves. During the autumn-winter its fruits, the pomegranates, ripen.
- Olea europaea (olive): it is an evergreen tree that grows up to 5-6m. Fruits in autumn.
Shrubs are very useful when you want to have a dreamy patio or terrace, or you need to fill in empty spaces in your gardens. If you live in a Mediterranean climate, we suggest the following:
- Polygala myrtifolia (polygala): plant that grows up to 2m in height. It has evergreen leaves, and very decorative pink flowers.
- Nerium oleander (oleander):plant that reaches a height of 2-3m. It has evergreen leaves, and flowers that can be white, pink or red. It is a poisonous plant.
- African tamarix (taraje): shrub or small tree up to 3m high. Its flowers are very small, pink, but very abundant.
- Euonymous (evonymous): very decorative evergreen plant, green or variegated. It grows up to 3m in height.
Climbing shrubs are the ones that bring joy to the garden or terrace, especially if they produce brightly colored flowers. The most used are:
- Bouganvillea sp (all species): deciduous plant with pink, orange, red or white inflorescences. It grows up to 6m in height. You need support.
- Plumbago auriculata (plumbago):plant with spectacular bluish or white flowers. It grows up to 3m high, so it is usually planted on balconies or on walls facing the streets to cover them.
- Jasminum officinale (jasmine) –This is a plant that grows up to 6-7 meters. It stands out for having white flowers which give off a pleasant and soft aroma. It also needs support to grow.
Aromatic plants are those with which it is possible to make the place where they are smell wonderful. The most used in Mediterranean climate are:
- Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary):has small, lanceolate, green leaves and lilac flowers. It can grow up to 1m in height, but usually it does not exceed 40-50cm.
- Lavandula sp (all species of lavender): are plants that are not only aromatic, but also repel mosquitoes. They grow, depending on the species, up to 1m in height.
- Petroselinum crispum (parsley): it is a perennial herbaceous plant that is mainly kept in pots. It has bright green leaves and grows up to 30cm tall.
- Salvia officinalis (sage):this species is one of the species that best withstands the conditions of this climate. It has grayish-green leaves and lilac flowers. It grows up to 50cm tall.
- Thymus vulgaris (thyme):plant up to 40cm tall with very small, green or greyish-green leaves. Its flowers are purple or white.
A garden without flowers is a garden that lacks something, it lacks color, it lacks life. Even if you are in an area with a Mediterranean climate, you can also have a very cheerful garden with these flowers:
- Gazania rigens (gazania):this curious perennial plant has flowers that open with the sun, and remain closed on cloudy days. Flowers that by the way resemble those of daisies, white, orange or red.
- Calendula officinalis (pot marigold):plant grown as an annual. It grows up to 50cm tall, and has orange flowers.
- Dimorphotheca ecklonis (dimorfoteca):this is a perennial plant that grows up to 30-40cm in height, with red, white, or lilac flowers.
- Lobelia erinus (lobelia):plant that behaves as a short-lived perennial if winter temperatures are mild. When it blooms, it is filled with beautiful little lilac flowers. It grows up to 20cm in height, and you should know that it is poisonous.
Palm trees and the like
Palm trees and those plants that have a similar appearance are often used to give that exotic and tropical touch that is so sought after in these gardens. But what are their names?
- Butia capitata (Jelly Palm):palm tree that grows up to 6 meters high. It has pinnate, slightly arched leaves and a trunk thickness of up to 45cm.
- Chamaerops humilis (Palmito):multi-stemmed palm, that is, with several trunks, with palmate green leaves. It grows up to 2m tall, and has a trunk thickness of up to 30cm.
- Cycas revoluta: it is a plant that grows up to 1.5 or 2m in height. It is not a palm tree, but the truth is that they look a lot alike.
- Zamia furfuracea (Zamia):this is a plant that has pinnate leaves, with leaflets up to 1cm wide. It is not a palm tree.
Cacti are those plants, mostly thorny, that are not lacking in xerogardens, or in patios. All are highly recommended, since they withstand the intense solar radiation of the Mediterranean like no other plant, but we recommend the following:
- Ferocactus sp (all species): cactus with spines of very curious colors: yellow, intense red, orange. Its flowers are small, but decorative, with colors ranging from red to white, passing through yellow. They reach 50-60cm in height.
- Echinocactus sp (all species): globose cactus with thorns and very showy flowers, except those of Echinocactus grussoni which have very small ones. Depending on the species, they reach a height between 10cm and 70cm.
- Rebutia sp (all species): small cactus with a height of 15cm, globose with thorns and with spectacular, large flowers, up to 2cm in diameter.
Succulent plants are those that store water in their leaves. They do not have thorns, so they can be kept in gardens where there are children and/or pets without problems. The most recommended are:
- Sedum spectabilis: plant that grows up to 40cm, with green and serrated leaves, and clustered pink inflorescences.
- Aloe sp: there are many species of Aloe that you can have, among others Aloe vera, Aloe arborescens, Aloe plicatilis or Aloe saponaria. All of them are characterized by having long, thin, fleshy, green or grayish-green leaves. The inflorescence is red, yellow or orange. They reach a height between 30 and 2m.
- Aptenia cordifolia (Cat’s Claw): plant with triangular green leaves and pink flowers. It does not exceed 10cm in height.
And so far our selection of plants for the Mediterranean climate. We hope it will serve as a guide to have a spectacular garden or terraces