Flowers are without doubt the best addition that you can make for your garden, but with Dubai’s long summer it’s better to choose plants that are hardy enough to cope with drought conditions.
Here are a few plants to consider that are tough enough to deal with the heat, and also fill your garden with scent and colour:
As a general rule, you should always look for succulents that retain moisture. You’ll be able to spot them by the shape of their leaves. Moisture-retaining plants either have small, thick leaves or thin, needle-shaped leaves. Broad-leaved plants evaporate moisture quickly and so find it difficult to survive in hot, dry conditions.
Delightful, distinctive and beloved of bees, Lavender is a tough, hardy plant that brings colour and scent to any garden. A lavender bush should last between three to five years, needs very little looking after and can cope with dry, hot conditions. The flower spikes can be cut and dried, and then used all year round to scent your home with a natural perfume that no ‘synthetic’ lavender air spray can ever match. Trim back at the end of the flowering season to encourage new growth the next year.
2. Tradescantia Pallida- Purple Heart or Purple Queen
Bold, vibrant and very purple, Purple Queen is popular throughout Dubai. It can cope with both full sun and shade, so is suitable for all areas of the garden. It is also very easy to propagate – if a piece snaps off simply push it into the soil and it will quickly root to form a new plant. It can, however, cause irritation so keep pets and children away.
3. Carissa Macrocarpa- Natal Plum
An evergreen, thorny bush with pretty white and pink star-shaped flowers and red fruit. It’s a dense-growing plant that, thanks to those ferocious thorns, works well as a deterrent hedge too, keeping animals and people out. The Natal Plum copes well with salty conditions, so it’s a perfect choice for properties near the coast. It also makes an excellent pot plant.
Although the blooms are fleeting, the hibiscus is welcomed in any Dubai garden thanks to its stunning architectural presence, bold flowers and subtle scent. They’re not keen on full sun in the height of summer, so move them to a semi-shaded area and then return them back to full sun from October onwards to prolong the flowering season. The trumpet-shaped flowers are beautiful and unfurl first thing in the morning. Sadly, they only last a day but are quickly replaced by a new flush of blooms.
5. Agave Nisra
This imposing plant makes a superb structural element in any garden. It’s a native of Mexico and as such is well used to hot, dry conditions. Contrary to popular belief it is not actually a member of the cacti family. It’s also known as the Century Plant, so don’t expect a flourish of blooms every year. It does, however, provide a fixed focal point and that wonderful slate grey colouring provides a fabulous blank canvas against which you can plant bold, bright annuals.
Remember that all of these plants can tolerate hot, dry conditions with ease, but they hate being overwatered. That makes them ideal for an arid garden with limited water. Nurture them all and you should have a garden full of colour and scent all year round.