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Plants for Mediterranean Gardens

By Shelly McRae ; Updated September 21, 2017

In regions with dry summers and mild winters, the Mediterranean-themed garden provides year-round greenery, herbs and flowers. Characteristically, Mediterranean gardens include drought-tolerant plants that include perennial flowers, herbs and small, compact trees. Though the climate associated with Mediterranean gardens may not conjure up visions of lush greenery and abundance, with the proper plants, your garden will flourish.

Trees and Shrubs

The cypress tree is traditional to the Mediterranean garden. Typically envisioned as a large tree with a wide canopy and twisted trunk, the cypress is available in other, more compact varieties, suitable for residential gardens. If cypress isn’t available or you prefer something smaller and more compact, select a juniper tree for your garden.

Citrus trees, such as lemon and orange trees, along with olive trees, are typical to the Mediterranean garden. Complement these with hardy shrubs such as bottlebrush, oleander, jasmine and gardenia bushes.


Perennial flowers indigenous to any temperate region work well in the Mediterranean garden. Roses, geraniums, chrysanthemums, hollyhock, yarrow and thistle are just a few of the plants that tolerate the dry summers and wet winters of the Mediterranean climate.

Combine vertical growth with shorter, spreading perennials for visual interest. Lamb’s ear, daisy, lily of the valley, phlox and spurge provide horizontal growth as well as a wide variety of color.

Create a broad spectrum of color when selecting flowers for your garden with an emphasis on contrast. Every color, from the unobtrusive chartreuse of the lady’s mantle to the brilliant red of bee balm, are welcome in the Mediterranean garden.


The traditional combination of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme is a standard in the Mediterranean garden. Along with these include lavender, oregano, tarragon and marjoram, along with basil, lemon balm and mint.

Vegetables and Fruit

Mediterranean gardens are historically practical and include kitchen gardens. Along with the herbs, dedicate a part of the garden to growing food.

Eggplant, sweet peppers and squash are typical to the Mediterranean diet and so to the garden. Include tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and a variety of greens to round out the vegetable patch.

Grape vines, as well, are a part of the garden. These vines are trained onto pergolas or arbors. Not only do they provide grapes for your culinary pleasure, but shade from the summer sun as well.

The focus of the contemporary Mediterranean garden may not be as a source of food, but even if you forgo the vegetables, include fruit trees and grape vines in your garden for an authentic appeal.


About the Author


Shelly McRae is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, Ariz. Having earned an associate degree from Glendale Community College with a major in graphic design and technical writing, she turned to online writing. McRae has written articles for multiple websites, drawing on her experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.