Plants for a Mexican style garden
Typically..... Bromeliads, bougainvillea, orchids, dahlia, agave, yucca, are all great options. Before planting, find out which plants will grow best in your region
Bougainvillea- ornamental vine in warm climates - common colors are purple, pink and red. I would add bright orange and yellow trumpet vines. All vines mentioned end up invasive in the ground, no matter what the literature says, and are best confined to containers and trellises.
Dahlia A native of Mexico, these plants come in many colors and grow in regions with no frost. If you don't mind digging them up to store over winter, grow them. Very large and showy flowers. My neighbor has been growing dahlias for years, of every imaginable color, and they're spectacular. He digs them up in fall, and re-plants in the spring. I do not have that patience. Nor do i wish to do any more staking and tying than I already do. They get tall. Many beautiful garden flowers besides dahlias are native to Mexico.
Agave Large succulent makes an excellent focal point - drought-tolerant, endures temperatures into teens. I am searching fo the perfect dwarf Agave for my Pa. Zone 5 climate.
Yucca A perennial shrub with evergreen, sword-shaped leaves and a white flower - native to hot, dry regions
I love Yucca plants. The sword-shaped foliage, and some striking variegated varieties, are perfect as specimens, or as part of a grouping of raised beds and containers. It can go into a few different garden styles. I use them in my succulent and cactus garden beds, and there are a few in my zen gardens, as backdrops for my solar pottery cascading fountains and meditating frogs. They grow tall and fan-shaped, and look amazing growing behind a buddha. And they're just the thing for Mexican, southwestern, and xeriscape gardens. My favorite variety is "Colour Guard". Smaller and better suited for intense plantings.
Mexican Bush Sage A shrub that attracts bees, butterflies and birds - silver-grey foliage with violet blooms in late summer
My prejudice against them is due to the terrible gardening practice of the gardener not considering the size and spread of mature plants, and then not controlling them once they figured it out. These are aggressive spreaders if not contained.
Yellow Bells A small ornamental shrub with tubular flowers
Your tropical houseplants would love a summer outdoors, too.
My cactus bowl is pictured below.
They look great as part of a larger
garden design at ground level, or sitting on
My Peanut Cactus below,
blooms a few times each summer, and the blooms are beautiful
Click the little pics below to view photos of one of my newly-added young cactus and succulents plants i placed in raised gardens, as an example of a planting that can be used in the Mexican Garden, and these are plants that do well in most areas. These are perennials, so they return each spring, and grow well in cooler Pennsylvania climate. I forget the name of the large, leafy succulent... I think it's a euphorbia. I lose lots of plant tags.
The cactus plants in this raised bed are Prickly Pear Cactus. It has beautiful yellow blooms, and Hens and Chicks is great as its ground cover. Dried chollah cactus and Margarita Tree branches are placed for effect, and support of plants as they mature.The succulents began life in an indoor succulent bowl arrangement i created 2 years ago. After summering outdoors, it quickly grew large and beautiful. So this is its permanent abode.
"Colour Guard" Yucca plants are a pretty green and yellow, and i like the height it adds, along with the foliage backdrop. It will grow to about 3 ft. in open plantings, and if it does that in the raised bed, it'll be split up and some moved around the garden. One in the center of the background will be all that's needed. The hens and chicks will also spread, so they will also be separated and used in other areas of gardens.
If i were using raised planters to decorate the mid-level of a Mexican Garden theme, I could paint the boxes white or a bold color with outdoor paint. But I like the plain cedar, because once you paint over its natural weatherproofing, you will have to keep up with painting maintenance. Bright, colorful pottery planters can sit between the legs, as a lower level garden display. Plants on hooks can hover from the lattice top of the fence. This method is actually more intensive in terms of bang for your landscaping buck.... the box is in the middle, and plants in pots all around and above. Yet it only takes up 4 ft of your garden's length. Plants can grow closer together in the raised bed method, and not in rows, which wastes space. And did i mention..... NO bending!
Colorful floral and foliage
xeriscape plants work very well. Check the plant hardiness map for
your area before choosing your design. Exotic-looking tropical plants,
cacti and succulents, lemon and orange trees in large colorful pots. Using
resin or plastic pots is best. Most have draininge holes,The trees can be
moved around if you change your design or add to the landscape. And
they're quite inexpensive.
Lots and Lots of Plants In Pots and pottery pieces in the garden.
Plants In baskets on the floor,
hanging from above, and hanging on the wall. I like reed and wicker
baskets, but i go for weatherproof resin wicker and woven baskets. I have
a collection of woven baskets that can be used in sheltered areas. And I
would use one of my large vintage picnic baskets as decorative plant and
food holders. My brightly-colored enamelware, and tole-painted metalware
with floral designs on light-colored backgrounds would be displayed
I favor certain plants. Giant or Tropical Hibiscus for height and giant flowers with big color. Groupings of mid-size height lilies In bright reds, orange or yellow. I would use aloes, variegated hostas. I'd include annuals that grow lushly and flower profusely. I like agave, yucca, trumpet vines of different colors in pots (see my statements about the invasiveness of vines in-ground). The issue with most foliage plants is that you'll need to give those protection from the very hot sun in the summer. I've had enough hosta tragedies to illustrate my point. There are many partial shade succulents and vines that are useful, and that can be brought in as houseplants in cold regions in winter. I would have to have Yucca plants, xeriscape and desert plants and climbing vines. Carefully arranged so that they have similar maintenance needs.I'd mix certain small vegetable plants into the foliage in-ground or in pottery, and in the raised garden beds. Spiky garlic or regular chives and scallions look wonderful in any arrangement, and it's perennial. Plant once and you're done. They're non-spreading, and they love a good haircut when you need them in cooking. A few areas with mexican cilantro's a nice idea.
see my Red Giant Hibiscus along my
front yard fence click the pic below.
The garden at night should feel like a Mexican party. Outdoor lights on strings don't have to be very bright, rustic and colorful matching or mismatched chairs, and brightly-colored pottery and terracotta pots with succulents and cacti. Flowering succulents and cacti are very beautiful, and last a while. And they don't need much water or care. I would buy or create small solar fountainscapes (i made up that word while adding fountains to my own gardens) to add a coolness to the atmosphere and a relaxing sound amid all that color.. Probably made from stone or pottery. Pottery centerpieces full of fruits, and bright pottery tableware. Very small solar water features can be spread throughout the garden. No cords, no electricity, no hassles.
Lastly, place a large and colorful margarita pitcher on a table. A word about Mexican glassware.... Gorgeous, mouth-blown and heavy glass. Tumblers would be weighted and can be set outside with lemonade, or be ready for the bartender to work his/her magic in the evening.
Download A Courtyard Garden Plan
by Southern Living
If you'd like to download
some very pretty container garden design plans, that you can adapt to your
Mexican Garden landscaping ideas, just click the pics below to download a
.pdf format design.
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