South-facing gardens: pick the best plants

aay - plants for south-facing gardens montage - Gardening ideas - Craft -

Passion flower (Passiflora caerulea), Tamarix ramosissima ‘Pink Cascade', rosemary, Euphorbia characias subsp wulfenii, Pennisetum alopecuroides, Cistus x purpureus, cotton lavender (Santolina chamaecyparissus), Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant', Chamaerops humilis

Light and bright, the south-facing garden will receive sun all day long. Which isn't always as lovely as it sounds - soil is quick to dry out and plants can get scorched. Give this space over to Mediterranean plants, a gravel garden or more tender plants that love to be baked.

Plants to pick for a south-facing garden

South-facing walls get limitless warmth, so choose plants that love the sun. The passion flower (Passiflora caerulea) basks in hot sunshine, and, although it prefers moist, rich soil, it will tolerate dry ground. The fig, Ficus carica, loves the shelter of a sunny wall - and the large leaves form a pretty backdrop to the sun-ripened fruit. Mediterranean plants are also ideal for a sunny garden. Tamarix ramosissima ‘Pink Cascade' is a small tree with graceful arching branches and a cascade of feathery pink plumes that would look great centre-stage amid rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Euphorbia characias subsp wulfenii and olives (Olea europaea is the most hardy).

Try these: Gardening in hot, dry conditions brings a range of textured plants to the gardener. Grasses, such as Pennisetum alopecuroides, tall Stipa gigantea and Melica altissima would mix gracefully with show-stopping Cistus x purpureus, a voluptuous shrub with large pink flowers splashed with purple. Cotton lavender (Santolina chamaecyparissus) forms mounds of silvery grey feathery foliage, erupting with pinheads of yellow bloom in July, while felty spires of Onopordum acanthium, towering above the foaming blue froths of Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant', would look sensational.

Jungle-style architectural plants will evoke warmer climes, but be warned: it can become an expensive obsession! Essential plants include Agave americana, Phoenix canariensis, Chamaerops humilis, Echium fastuosum and Callistemon citrinus.

Tip: Drought-tolerant plants are perfect for low-maintenance gardening. Reduce weeding and watering by planting them through a weed-proof membrane disguised with a gravel mulch.

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As all of your outside space might not face the same way...
...plants for north-facing gardens

...plants for west-facing gardens

...plants for east-facing gardens

See our gardening calendar for what to do each month


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