If you’re new to Dubai, and a keen gardener you may be wondering how you’ll be able to adapt to the high temperatures. The truth is that a wide variety of plants that can be grown both inside and outside in Dubai, and many residents are passionate gardeners. A quick look round many Dubai communities should convince you that it’s perfectly possible to maintain a beautiful garden, despite the heat. We bring you a guide to gardening in Dubai. The Dubai Gardening Season The prime gardening season in Dubai runs between November and late March when temperatures are cooler. Gardeners will need to carefully consider planting times to make the most of this key period. In winter months, Dubai blooms in colour with the Municipality creating a variety of displays. These often incorporate reliable bedding plants, such as zinnias and petunias. Plants that cope well with the heat Year round in Dubai, it’s important to choose hardy plants that are able to cope well with extreme heat. ‘Succulents’ or water-retaining plants are well adapted to arid climates and soil conditions. They are able to store water in their leaves, stems, and roots in order to survive long dry periods. Succulents don’t have to be boring! There are a wide variety of hardy succulent plants that will add a splash of colour to your garden or balcony, including sweetheart plant, hibiscus, natal plum and purple queen. Bounainvillea is a popular addition to many Dubai gardens. This plant, native to South America, grows in vines, bushes and trees producing bright purple flowers. Palms are a common choice for Dubai gardens, however certain palm species aren’t able to tolerate the extremes, so it’s a good idea to consult a professional before buying. Plants for Shaded Areas Gardening in Dubai is all about planning. By creating areas of shade in the garden, you will be able to introduce plant varieties that aren’t able to survive in the sun, such as Gardenias or Phoenix. Visit your local garden centre to find out more about plants to incorporate in shady areas. Plants to Avoid There will of course be some varieties that will struggle, wherever they are planted. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid plants originating from locations where temperatures are hot during the day and cool at night. Plants from South Africa and California often struggle in the hot Dubai nights. Equally the Sweet pea, native to Italy does not tend to grow well in Dubai gardens. Indoor Gardening Many Dubai residents, opt to keep indoor plants to add some greenery and colour to their homes. Orchids can grow really well at temperatures of 18°C and 24°C so are a good choice for Dubai homes. Low light levels aren’t usually a problem, and they are relatively easy to care for. In winter months, they can even be put outside in the shade. Caladium or “elephant ears” are another common houseplant in Dubai, thriving in humid conditions. Feed them regularly with plant food to make sure that they produce new leaves. For more information on gardening in Dubai, there a variety of good online resources including the blog My Little Garden Dubai, which includes advice on growing a variety of plants and vegetables. The Dubai Garden Centre website also features a range of plants for outdoor and indoor Dubai gardening.
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