Mediterranean plants

Plants associated with this term are normally of strong structure and have the ability to withstand drought conditions. They have adapted to survive in extreme heat although their native environment would have been dry summers and mild but wet winters. Often more than not they thrive in full sun but periodically can cope in partial shade.

Cotinus coggygria (Smokebush) an effective foliage plant. It will thrive in full sun but is deciduous and so offers no winter interest. It provides orange-red-purple foliage from spring to autumn. This plant is very easy to look after and only requires the removal of unnecessary growth for a desired shape. In Spring, to check for dead, diseased or damaged stems and remove. It is usually fine in most soils although not poor. It does need some nourishment. An application of manure or humus rich matter can help.

Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese windmill palm) a fully hardy specimen with strong architectural qualities. A quick growing specimen and ideal for climates where there can be severe winters. A point of concern is maybe in a sheltered location. It is not so fond of strong winds. However, they adapt well to full sun and shade.

Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange Blossom) A fragrant neatly shaped shrub. An evergreen, it has attractive leaves and highly scented flowers. It also provides food for beneficial insects. It’s highly scented flowers appear in late spring and if clipped after flowering a second flush can often occur in late summer/early autumn.

Cistus ladanifer (Crimson rockrose) A hardy choice. An evergreen, offering a profusion of colour throughout summer. It has adapted to cope with a poor environment where the soil has little nutrients. The flowers only last a day but so many in succession you would never notice. You mustn’t prune a cistus though, just pinch the spent growth off. Cutting back to the older growth will kill it.

Lavatera x rosea (Tree Mellor) A semi-evergreen providing continuous blooms all summertime. This variety is a shrub although there are perennials varieties available. L. thuringiaca is a perennial that comes into fruition in summer. You just cut the stems down in autumn. As with L x rosea the flowers attract butterflies and relatively speaking quite low maintenance save cutting back to avoid it becoming leggy each year. 2nd or third leaf node when they appear. The new growth will be luscious and less tired. It is not a fan of heavy clay soil, free draining soil is ideal as it prefers a light medium. It can cope with salt laden winds too.

Bougainvillea An evergreen climber/vine. It will thrive in full sun but when established will benefit from a little shade. Bougainvillea’s must be protected from frost so a container is probably more sensible unless the temperature in your location doesn’t go below 10 Celsius. Below this temperature and still protected, the leaves will fall off but it will survive. As the dormant period approaches the plant will no longer need irrigating so a good idea to stop watering. It does tend to need feeding. A high nitrogen to get it’s foliage under way. After this, a more balanced NPK 10-10-10, to encourage flowers.

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I'm Craft Gardener with several years experience. Due to the massive impact the internet has had on advice, forums and consultancy services - it seems knowledge and experience is everchanging and we should therefore share techniques and offer others alternative routes in pests, diseases and weed treatments. The very smallest alterations in aspect, soil conditioning and pruning can determine a plants vigour, health and lifespan hugely. My blogs and online assistance should motivate and interest even the most amateur of green fingered people. As my ex partner used to say "it's green isn't it"?