Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford
Mediterranean plants such as bougainvillea, lantana, arbutus, aloe vera and oregano can be grown in pots or planters, beautifying and perfuming your patio or balcony. Sunlight, size, water needs: read our guide and see these wonderful perennials thrive!
- Plant type
- Exposure to sunlight
- Water needs
Mediterranean plant characteristics
Mediterranean plants are resistant to a wide range of weather conditions, for instance mild but wet winters combined with hot, dry summers. They are particuarly resistant to drought and harsh coastal winds.
All the plants in this group have a few characteristics in common:
- modest water requirement
- considerable need for sunlight
- can grow in stony soil
In the next section we give you an overview of five types of Mediterranean plants that lend themselves well to this type of cultivation.
5 Mediterranean favourites
Bougainvillea is a climbing shrub originating from South America. Its mauve, red and white flowers pepper the picturesque facades of France's Côte d'Azur - where it can be planted outside directly in the soil.
For successful potted bougainvilleas, you'll need to:
- plan in two prunings per year, one in spring and one in autumn
- choose the best variety for the amount of space you have
- place your pots in a location exposed to direct sunlight
- arrange a dedicated interior space for wintering.
Lantana, a type of verbena, is very widespread in hotter climates around the world. In Europe, they're found along the Mediterranean coast. This abundantly flowering plant produces an essential oil with a wide range of beneficial properties: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic and antipyretic.
To let your lantanas thrive and beautify your patio or balcony with their bold colours, it's essential that you:
- carry out pruning twice a year, spring and autumn
- don't forget to bring it inside before the first frost of winter
- water regularly but sparingly
- choose a rich compost and fertilize twice a month until flowering, starting at the end of winter.
Aloe vera is a perennial used since ancient times for its many medicinal and cosmetic benefits. The gel extracted from the interior of the flowers is used as a moisturizer for the skin and hair. It can also be consumed as a drink. However, the yellow latex obtained from its leaves is toxic and has an irritant effect on the skin. This is used as a laxative.
For successful aloe vera cultivation, you'll need to:
- place place the plant in direct sunlight or partial shade
- choose an appropriate variety that won't become invasive (they can reach up to 3m in height)
- water very occasionally and sparingly
- arrange an inside space for it to spend the winter
In autumn, the forests of the Côte d'Azur are covered in millions of little orange balls. That's how you know it's arbutus season. These sweet, floury berries are a favourite with gourmet ramblers. They're also used for jam and sold at local markets and delis.
Arbutus can be grown in a pot provided that you:
- water sparingly
- choose a location with plenty of sunlight
- prune it once a year, in autumn
- use a rich compost
Marjoram, or oregano, is a herb heavily used in Mediterranean cuisine. It often features on pizzas and other southern European classics, as well as in herbal infusions. Marjoram is also valued for its medicinal benefits, especially in aiding digestive function. It has fungicidal and antibacterial properties. Although it grows wild in Mediterranean scrubland, it's also great for growing in pots. For successful marjoram at home, you'll need to:
- go for a location with plenty of sunlight
- maintain your plants carefully - pruning once a year in spring
- avoid excessive quantities of water
- store safely inside over winter
Learn more about gardening...
To find out more about gardening, follow our editors' advice and check out their other guides:
How to choose your planters?
How to decorate your balcony?
What vegetables and fruit to grow on your patio or balcony?
How to choose your balcony trees and shrubs?
How to choose your compost?
How to install a drip-by-drip irrigation system?
How to install underground irrigation?
How to choose your herbs?
How to choose your perennials?
When to water your garden?
How to grow an organic garden?
How to choose your flowering trees and shrubs?
10 beneficial plants for home and garden
How to choose your perennials?
How to design and decorate your garden?
How to treat an injured tree?
How to treat a diseased tree?
How to transplant your vegetable plants?
How to choose your crop sprayer?
How to choose your protective eyewear?
How to choose your respiratory protection?
How to weed your garden?
How to choose your lawnmower?
How to choose your strimmer?
How to choose your wood saw?
How to choose your hand trimming tools?
How to choose your fertilizer?
How to make compost?
How to landscape and decorate your garden?
How to trim your hedge?
How to choose your lawn?
How maintain your lawn?
Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 31 guides
From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford. After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life. From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.