Plants for a Mediterranean Garden

Choosing plants for a Mediterranean garden is a hard thing to do if you live in wet parts of the US. But here in Kansas, many things that would go great in a Mediterranean garden would be great here too. I have never desired to try this style of gardening, but as it turns out, I already am. In some ways. Looking into these types of gardens, I realize that many of my favorite plants would work great.

To design a Mediterranean garden around your house may not be easy in the Central Great Plains, but you can you a lot of the best plants for it in our prairies, meadows, and rock gardens. Some the things that go great into this garden style include the following:

  • Lots of stone
  • Gravel paths
  • Boulders
  • Fruit (trees and vines)
  • Herbs
  • Drought and heat tolerant plants
  • Water elements
  • Lighting
  • Enclosed spaces

In a sense, the gravel garden design that was popular a few years ago, and probably is still in use. The only problem I had with gravel garden design was that there was some maintenance issues with keeping the gravel clean after trimming or in autumn. For a place with more evergreen or tropical foliage, and less leaf drop, this idea might work. But not very well in the Central Great Plains.

But you would not have to go gravel for the beds in a Mediterranean garden, just incorporate it into the pathways.

Mediterranean garden
A Mediterranean garden in a small backyard

Fruit Trees and Vines for the Mediterranean Garden

If you live in warmer climates, then the sky is the limit for the fruit trees you can grow in the garden. But here, we cannot plant citrus, olive, and other popular Mediterranean fruits. But using the right design styles, there is a lot of fruit which does well and you can have. Applying underground or drip irrigation systems may be necessary for good crop yields in extreme drought situations, but you will not use it in most years.

Fruit trees and vines which you can grow outdoors, without the danger of dying back to the ground include:

  • Grapes
  • Passionfruit Vine
  • Hops
  • Hardy kiwi
  • Peaches
  • Cherry
  • Plum
  • Apricot
  • Nectarine

Fruit Trees Which Should be Potted

A few fruits can be safely moved outdoors in our area, but need to be out back in a greenhouse, sunroom, or warm garage in the winter months. They would have to be potted in large containers, but with the ability to move them in and out each season.

  • Pomegranate
  • Dwarf lemon
  • Dwarf Lime
  • Figs
  • Dwarf Orange
Shakespeare garden
This Shakespeare Garden at Botanica in Wichita KS incorporates many elements of Mediterranean garden style

Herbs for the Mediterranean Garden

Many of our most popular culinary herbs are from Europe, around the Mediterranean Sea. Naturally, they would fit into this design style. Many of them however, may be limited like the above potted fruits, and need to be kept indoors during our tough winters. But, unlike potted fruit trees, containerized herbs are easier to move and take care of.

Hardy Mediterranean Herbs

These herbs are hardy at least to Zone 5, in the Central Great Plains, and do not need to be moved from the garden and back again. Some of these are native to the US, while most are native to the Mediterranean region.

Annual or Potted Herbs

These herbs either complete their life cycles within 1 year, or are hardy perennials to warmer Zones. The ones which are perennials in warmer climates need to be potted or replanted each year. Potted herbs should be brought indoors just like potted fruits.


Annual Herbs

Potted Perennial Herbs

  • French lavender
  • Bay laurel
  • Rosemary
  • Ginger
  • Curry
  • Spanish lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon verbena
  • Scented geranium

Perennials For the Mediterranean Garden

Many of your favorite native perennials would do well in this style of garden, as long as they are the ones which are most behaved. Many of the photos of Mediterranean gardens which I looked at had somewhat formal, contained plants, with lots of color and very full. But they were not so very crazy as some of the meadow and prairie plantings are.

The first list is Mediterranean native plants which do well in our dry, unirrigated gardens. Some may be repeats of the culinary herbs above.

Mediterranean Native Perennials


US Native Perennials



All of these plants and probably a lot more will work great for anyone designing a Mediterranean garden anywhere in the Central Great Plains or Midwestern Regions, in Zones 5 and higher. Many of these plants I already have in my gardens, though I design for a sustainable, prairie or cottage garden look. I do not have the gravel paths, though I do have a lot of stone around my garden.

Happy planting!

author of Mediterranean gardens

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