Description

The Classic Mediterranean Garden style is centered around the olive tree. Native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, the olive tree is widely known around the world for its fruit, oil and ornamental landscape uses. These qualities have been long recognized throughout the Inland Empire where it has been has been a popular crop and garden tree for well over 100 years. Many mature trees can be seen in local landscapes that provide sculptural character and accent interest.

The Classic Mediterranean Garden style offers many planting choices. The plants listed below include plants native to California and the Mediterranean region, as well as many cacti and succulents that can be designed into creative combinations of foliage and flower color, texture and form. Fruitless cultivars of the olive tree are among the most popular choices in recent years when pollen and fruit is unwanted.

Plant List

Trees and Palms

Chamaerops humilis

Common Name: Mediterranean fan palm
Plant Type: Palm
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 20 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 20 ft.

Olea europaea + cvs

Common Name: Mediterranean olive
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.   Width: 20 ft. - 30 ft.

Quercus suber

Common Name: Cork oak
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 60 ft.   Width: 40 ft. - 50 ft.

Shrubs

Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’

Common Name: Dwarf strawberry tree
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 8 ft. - 12 ft.   Width: 8 ft. - 12 ft.

Cistus x purpureus

Common Name: Orchid rockrose
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 8 ft.

Lavandula stoechas + cvs

Common Name: Spanish lavender
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Lavandula x heterophylla

Common Name: Sweet lavender
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Lavandula x intermedia

Common Name: Purple lavandin
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Olea europaea ‘Little Ollie’

Common Name: Dwarf olive
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Rosmarinus officinalis + cvs

Common Name: Rosemary
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 7 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 12 ft.

Salvia greggii + cvs

Common Name: Autumn sage
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Common Name: Lavender cotton
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Teucrium fruticans

Common Name: Bush germander
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 8 ft. - 10 ft.

Perennials and Grasses

Achillea ‘Moonshine’

Common Name: Moonshine yarrow
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Aristida purpurea

Common Name: Purple three-awn
Plant Type: Grass, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii

Common Name: Mediterranean spurge
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Verbena bonariensis

Common Name: Purpletop vervain
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 3 ft.

Ground Covers

Cistus salviifolius

Common Name: Sageleaf rockrose
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

Cistus x pulverulentus ‘Sunset’

Common Name: Sunset rockrose
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Convolvulus sabiatus

Common Name: Ground morning glory
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Dymondia margaretae

Common Name: Silver carpet
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 in. - 3 in.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Container Plants

Echeveria imbricata

Common Name: Blue rose echeveria
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’

Common Name: Sticks on Fire
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 4 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Kalanchoe luciae

Common Name: Flapjack plant
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun, All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 12 in. - 18 in.

Succulents

Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’

Common Name: Blue fox tail agave
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Agave vilmoriniana

Common Name: Octopus agave
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 5 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

Hesperaloe parviflora + cvs

Common Name: Red yucca
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Senecio talinoides ssp. mandraliscae

Common Name: Blue finger
Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun, Partial sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Horticultural Preferences

Olive trees and their associated plants are highly adapted to the Inland Empire. Many plants have leathery leaves that resist wilting under moisture stress and can develop robust root systems to capture rainfall and irrigation water. Other plants feature pale color foliage and dense covering of hairs to reflect the sun and lower leaf temperatures. Cacti and other succulents store moisture in their stems and have very low transpiration rates.

Plants listed in this palette have proven to be widely adapted to a variety of soil conditions, including sandy, loamy, clayey and calcareous. They commonly grow best in full sun and are adapted to heat, aridity and cold temperatures.

Aesthetic Character

The olive tree sets the tone for a gray-green color theme in residential gardens. Its foliage character combines well with understory plantings of sage, rosemary, rockrose and yarrow. Succulents add bold shapes and textures that provide additional interest and planting variety. Many plants offer bright springtime flower colors as well as distinctive spicy fragrances.

Olives are commonly used as special feature plants or as a focal element within landscapes or gardens. Mature trees have bold trunks and low branching habits that can be pruned to reveal striking year round character.

Moisture Needs

Plants included in the Classic Mediterranean Garden palette are well adapted to the winter rainfall and summer heat conditions of the Inland Empire. Young plants will establish better and grow more quickly when provided with moderate amounts of summer water for the first 2-3 years. Once established, however, these plants will thrive upon normal winter rainfall and infrequent deep summer waterings.

The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy trees and understory plants throughout the average year. The high and low range of this irrigation schedule indicates these plants can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and maturity of plants. Winter rains during the months noted by an asterisk (*) can provide sufficient moisture to eliminate the need for winter irrigation. Many plants grown in containers benefit from weekly watering during the summer to offset the limited soil volume.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.