Plants and shrubs suitable for the Middle East

Over the years our landscaping team members have accumulated a lot of experience with plants and trees that work well in this climate and that are not invasive to property or infrastructure. But there are a few we’d recommend you avoid in certain situations:

  • Damas trees (Conocarpus lancifolius and Conocarpus erectus) – these lush green trees grow at an extraordinary rate and are often used on property boundaries – but trust us, they are not worth planting - EVER! We’ve encountered numerous horror stories of roots blocking drains, breaching pipes and walls leading to massive bills for residents; we’re currently striving to eradicate them from all of our communities
  • Agave – these spiky specimens are certainly nice architecturally speaking but avoid planting plants with pointed leaf tips near to children’s play areas as they can give a painful wound if run into by accident
  • Ficus benghalensis and Ficus religiosa – avoid planting these large specimens near roads and paved areas as their root systems are extensive and could cause damage to structures

Trees and plants that grow well include:

  • Flame trees (Delonix regia) – grows to a modest height and provides a lovely orange halo of bloom in late spring
  • Neem trees (Azadirachta indica) – fast growing and evergreen (inconspicuous flowers)
  • Bougainvillea – low maintenance, dense and colourful, these are hardy but beware the thorns!
  • Grasses – such as Pennisetum setaceum or the purple variety, Pennisetum rubrum are all easy to propagate and require very little water
  • Succulents – such as aloe vera, yucca and agave – although please beware of the spikes around young children
  • Climbers – such as Jasminum multiflorum, Quisqualis indica, Clitoria ternate and Tristellateia australasiae can be trained along walls and across pergolas
  • Palms – such as Pheonix dactylifera (the classic date palm) or the taller Cocos nucifera add height to a garden or choose varieties with small root bases, such as Carpentaria acuminate and Copernicia alba