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

Cork oak

Botanical Name: Quercus suber
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 60 ft.   Width: 40 ft. - 50 ft.

Mediterranean fan palm

Botanical Name: Chamaerops humilis
Plant Type: Palm
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 20 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 20 ft.

Mediterranean olive + cvs

Botanical Name: Olea europaea
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 35 ft.   Width: 20 ft. - 30 ft.

Shrubs

Autumn sage + cvs

Botanical Name: Salvia greggii
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Bush germander

Botanical Name: Teucrium fruticans
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 8 ft. - 10 ft.

Dwarf olive

Botanical Name: Olea europaea 'Little Ollie'
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 6 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Dwarf strawberry tree

Botanical Name: Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 8 ft. - 12 ft.   Width: 8 ft. - 12 ft.

English lavender

Botanical Name: Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Lavender cotton

Botanical Name: Santolina chamaecyparissus
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Orchid rockrose

Botanical Name: Cistus x purpureus
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 8 ft.

Purple lavandin

Botanical Name: Lavandula x intermedia
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Rosemary + cvs

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

Spanish lavender + cvs

Botanical Name: Lavandula stoechas
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Sweet lavender

Botanical Name: Lavandula x heterophylla
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Perennials and Grasses

Mediterranean spurge

Botanical Name: Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Moonshine yarrow

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

Purple three-awn

Botanical Name: Aristida purpurea
Plant Type: Grass, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Purpletop vervain

Botanical Name: Verbena bonariensis
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 3 ft.

Ground Covers

Creeping rosemary

Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 24 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 6 ft.

Ground morning glory

Botanical Name: Convolvulus sabiatus
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Sageleaf rockrose

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

Silver carpet

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

Sunset rockrose

Botanical Name: Cistus x pulverulentus 'Sunset'
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 6 ft.

Container Plants

Blue rose echeveria

Botanical Name: Echeveria imbricata
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: Morning sun
Height: 6 in. - 12 in.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Flapjack plant

Botanical Name: Kalanchoe luciae
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.

Sticks on Fire

Botanical Name: Euphorbia tirucalli '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.

Succulents

Blue finger

Botanical Name: Senecio talinoides ssp. mandraliscae
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.

Blue fox tail agave

Botanical Name: Agave attenuata 'Boutin Blue'
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 5 ft.

Octopus agave

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

Red yucca + cvs

Botanical Name: Hesperaloe parviflora
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 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, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.