My private
gardening tips

On this page I am sharing some of my own gardening tips related to Dubai and the UAE.
I am no studied landscaping architect, but I have had my own gardens in Dubai since 2006. And because my plants section is getting lots of attention and I have many emails in this regard, I thought to create this section to tell you about some of the plants and trees I have tried and tested myself, in order to save you money and time!

I noticed that there is not so much information available in the internet about the plants and gardens in our region of the world.

In the garden shops, you can find a large variety of imported plants and flowers, but not all of them will do well in the long run. Sometimes you will be sold great looking plants, which then soon need to be replaced, or which don't make it past the hot summer months, forcing you to spend lots of money every year.

So let me first tell you here about some of the ones that work:

Gardening Tips 1:
Flowers to grow

Lots of beautiful flowers in the shops! Which ones shall you choose?

There are 2 species which are actually grown in the UAE as opposed to imported, making them cheaper and more durable. You will see both of them used widely around the city - the Municipality plants them in parks, around interchanges, etc.

Vinca, or Madagascar Periwinkle
(Catharanthus roseus)
Vinca is a heat and drought tolerant annual, perfect for hot, dry areas like Dubai. It is moderately priced at around 2 AED per pot (the flowers in the banner on the right side), and will last you through the summer, even exposed to the sun. Common colors include white, rose, pink, purple and red, adding nice contrasts to your garden.

They can quickly grow to 30-60cm high.

On the picture, you can see how my grass suffered during the summer heat, while periwinkle is still bushy and colourful.

Petunia
(Petunia Hybrid)
Petunia is widely popular in the UAE and grown here due to its beautiful flowers. Not just plain, this flower is also available in many patterns like stripes, speckles and borders in an extensive color palette that includes purple, mauve, lavender, pink, red, white and yellow. Look out for the huge carpets grown along the highways!

They look great on the ground, but also spread nicely from hanging baskets.

They are also very affordable, since grown locally, but wil most probably not make it through summer in Dubai.

Gardening Tips 2:
Bushes to grow

Desert or Foxtail grass
(Cenchrus ciliaris)

One of the easiest and cheapest plants to grow in UAE is this bushy grass. The arabic name is Sabat.
Although a grass, it can grow very bushy and up to 1m height, and if you plant several next to each other, it looks very nice to cover up fences, walls, etc. You can often see it planted along streets.

When you buy it in the garden shops, you can get the small plants starting from 5 AED per pot, and you will see that they grow very fast without much effort.

This plant can even be found growing in the wild in the northern part of the UAE. It is native to many African countries and also the Arab peninsula and does not require much water nor any fertilizer.

Apart from the long leaves which even in summer stay green, I also like the bushy, hairy spikes which contain the seeds.

Gardening Tips 3:
Small trees to grow

Frangipani
(Plumeria)

Frangipani was one of the first plants I bought in the UAE. It was inexpensive and I knew we would get nice smelling, white flowers. At first, I was disappointed because it took so long to grow. But once the plant had rooted, it just exploded in years 2 and 3! We had to cut it back several times as it was planted to close to the garden door.

That was how I found out that by sticking the cut branches back in the ground, you can cultivate your own frangipani!

I had very few cases where this didn't work, and every time I had to move house, took a few branches of my first tree with me!

On the first picture you can see a cut Frangipani branch which was without any fuss simply dug into the soil, and has been thriving since almost a year.

The second picture shows a much larger Frangipani tree (here, I did not want to wait and bought one from the nursery, and it grew nicely already in year 1.) You can see the shade it is providing, and I love the smell of the flowers!

In Persian, the name for this plant is "yas" or "yasmin". In India, the name is "champa" or "chafa".

To be continued soon!
Please visit again in next days for more updates (last: April 26, 2015)

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