trees with salinity resistance

Which Trees Should I Plant For My Island Retreat?

  Living in a country surrounded by the sea, there are many times when we are faced with the question “What plants and trees should I put in my garden? ”, which are not only able to withstand the climate of an island, but also to impress. Homes with a magnificent view of the blue, accompanied by the right plant species, always create impressive visual effects. But why are not all species suitable? Unfortunately, not all plants can withstand the salinity of coastal soils, water droplets and strong winds, a phenomenon common to our beloved Aegean islands. It is not rare to find stunted plants, with symptoms such as drying of the leaf tops.

But let’s briefly look at what salinity is and how it affects our plants. Salinity is the presence of high concentrations of sodium (Na+) and chlorine (Cl) ions in the plant’s root environment. This happens because the energy flowing through the water molecules is reduced, as the latter are attracted to the salt ions rather than the plant roots. As a consequence, soil that has ‘salt’ behaves as dry, as very little of the soil water is eventually taken up by the plants.

But enough of the details and let’s get to the main point, starting with the most suitable trees for an island garden.

Tamarisk (Tamarix)

Undoubtedly, tamarix is the “king” of plants with salinity resistance, since it thrives even at a minimum distance from the sea foam. It reaches a height of 6m and a diameter of 4-5m, and has a fast growth rate. Three species are usually sold in Greek nurseries, Tamarix tetrandra, which blooms in spring with white flowers, Tamarix parviflora, which blooms in early summer with pink flowers and finally Tamarix ramosissima, which blooms in late summer.

2 Tamarix trees near the sea Tamarix near the sea

Olive tree (Olea europaea)

For the olive tree, recommendations are superfluous. Perhaps the most beautiful and with the longest fruit-bearing history. It is evergreen and thrives in sunny locations, with well-drained soil. In addition to saline soil, it has excellent drought resistance. Its flowering begins in May, and the fruits ripen in the fall. In Greece there are more than 43 varieties of olive trees, each with its own particular characteristics.

Olive tree leaves with olives Beautiful olive tree suitable for islands


Mulberry tree (Morus)

One of the most popular deciduous trees in the Greek landscape, due to the rich shade provided by its foliage, especially during the summer months. It has excellent resistance to drought, frost, salinity and atmospheric pollution. At the same time, it has no special soil requirements, as it thrives even in arid soils. In sunny places it gives impressive results. It can be found in fruit-bearing varieties, such as white and black mulberry (or common mulberry), but also in fruitless varieties, the so-called ornamental mulberry. The latter is mainly used for decorating areas such as parking lots of buildings, where the fruit is not desirable to fall to the ground.

mulberry tree or morus suitable for island Mulberry tree with red berries

Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua)

Ideal choice for an island garden. The carob or woodcock is a fruit-bearing, evergreen tree. Its glossy leaves, combined with its fruit (the carob) will give any garden a sense of stateliness. It is no coincidence, after all, that the word karati, has come from the word kerati (the dried seed of the carob tree), which in ancient times was used as a unit of weight for gold and precious stones. As for the soil and climate conditions, it likes dry and warm climates and is particularly resistant to salinity. It will grow very successfully in any soil, even the most arid ones.

Ceratonia siliqua or carob tree Carob tree ideal for garden on islands

Fig tree (Ficus carica)

The fig tree is one of the most beloved fruit trees that are strongly associated with the Greek summer, mainly for its sweet fruit. It loves the sun and high temperatures, and is sensitive to very cold temperatures. It thrives in all soils, with the exception of clay soils, which retain large amounts of water. Of course, one of the reasons why it is preferred is that it does not need much care, which is particularly important for most homeowners in island areas, who often visit their holiday homes only in the summer season. What could be better than a tree that does not bother us with its care and at the same time offers us tasty delights? And an additional tip for the fig tree, if we want it to produce more figs, it is advisable, although it can withstand drought, to assist it with some watering. For more information about the fig tree follow the link.

Fig tree Ficus carica suitable for islands

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

One of the best known deciduous trees in the Mediterranean garden, originating in Persia. It reaches a height of up to 4 meters and forms a dense crown. The trademark of the pomegranate is its reddish-red crown-shaped fruit. Of course, its red-orange flowers, which appear from spring to autumn, are also impressive. It shows resistance to low temperatures, but not below -10°C, and loves sunny areas with high temperatures.

Punica granatum or pomegranate on island Punica granatum on island

Oak tree (Quercus ilex)

The holly oak, or white oak, is a beautiful evergreen tree, native to the Mediterranean. It reaches a height of up to 15 meters. Its rich cylindrical crown, combined with its grey-green leaves, creates a very beautiful composition with the olive tree. It thrives in moderately moist soils with good drainage. It is a very drought resistant tree, once acclimatized to the site, as well as cold.

Quercus tree leaves and fruit Quercus tree amazing for all gardens

California or Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia Fan Palm)

The most classic choice of trees in coastal areas is none other than palm trees and not without reason as they are very resistant to strong winds, drought and sea salinity.  They can even reach heights of up to 15 meters and combine this height with a fast growth rate. At the same time, it gives the space an exotic touch associated with holidays and relaxation.

Washingtonia Fan Palm Washingtonia Fan Palm a tropical vibe to your island garden


Originating from distant Mexico, the yucca is an extremely hardy tropical plant. It’s very high resistance to soil salinity and droplets carried from the sea, combined with its impressive foliage, makes it a favorite plant on the islands. It has long lanceolate leaves 1,5-2 m in size. It flowers in late July, with beautiful white bell-shaped flowers. It multiplies very easily, even if it has a cut stem.

Yucca plant blossom and leaves Yucca plant blossom and leaves

Photinia tree (Photinia)

Photinia is classified as a shrub, but it can also take the form of a tree. It is loved by landscape architects because of the strong color contrasts of its foliage, red in the warm months and green in the cool months. In May, it fills with white flowers, which carry a wonderful fragrance, which result in red fruits that ripen in the fall, enhancing its ornamental value. This evergreen shrub loves the sun, but is also resistant to very low temperatures. Naturally, it has been added to the list of plants suitable for islands, as it is resistant to salinity and also to arid soils.  Finally, the rapid growth of the photinia is remarkable, reaching even 4 meters, a feature which makes it the first choice of plants for hedges.


Photinia shrub that creates a hedge

The list of plant material does not end there, however, as the trees will be complemented by ornamental shrubs ideal for hedges and climbing plants, which, when placed on pergolas, will provide shade.

Briefly, the most popular and not unfairly ornamental shrubs are:

  • Viburnum tinus
  • Metrosideros excels
  • Eleagnus ebbingei
  • Pittosporum tobira
  • Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Lavandula angustifolia
  • Santolina chamaecyparissus
  • Vitex agnus-castus
  • Pistacia lentiscus
  • Nerium oleander
  • Polygala myrtifolia
  • Plumbago auriculata

While of climbing plants are:

  • Ampelopsis quinquefolia
  • Hedera felix
  • Bougainville
List of shrubs, climbing plants and trees suitable for islands List of shrubs, climbing plants and trees suitable for islands
ficus carica-fig tree

Uncovering 10+1 Secrets of the Fig Tree: A Garden Treasure

  Most of us in Greece remember that there was always at least one fig tree in the neighbourhood where we played as children. So, agriculturists and non-agriculturists alike, we know how to identify this tree, even in winter when its leaves have fallen. For others, summer is synonymous with company, the sea, a cool glass of water and a plate of figs.

  1. Historical facts

   The fig tree has existed in Europe since prehistoric times, symbolising fertility. From ancient times, the fig tree was worshipped as the tree of Dionysus, while the ‘Vasilika’ variety was cultivated in Attica. Later, it was the first tree mentioned in the Bible (7,000 BC in Jericho). The oldest fig tree on the planet is found in Sri Lanka and is estimated to be about 2 300 years old. Its name is ‘Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi’ and it belongs to the variety Ficus religiosa. Legend has it that under this tree the Buddha found enlightenment.

     Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, ficus religiosa   Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Sri Lanka

    2. Features

   The fig tree, or Ficus carica, belongs to the family Moraceae and is one of the most popular deciduous trees. It can live successfully for many decades. It reaches a height of 7 metres, with its crown creating a rounded shape. Its trunk has a characteristic smooth textured grey colour. The leaves are large, heart-shaped, with 3 to 5 lobes, dark green in colour. The upper part of the foliage has a smooth texture, while the lower part is covered with small fuzz. The fig makes its first appearances in April, being initially very small, sometimes green and sometimes purple. It then grows and acquires that sweet and juicy taste. The harvest period is June, with the so-called ‘fracasanes’, and August-September, when the real, edible figs are produced. In all seasons the figs can be eaten dried, while in the summer months they can also be eaten fresh. Dried figs are 3 times more nutritious than fresh figs.

    3. Varieties

   Figs, as many people believe, are not fruits, but inflorescences, inside of which are small flowers, which then turn into tiny hard fruits (inflorescences). In nature there are wild figs (male figs) whose figs are not edible and tame figs (female figs) whose figs are edible. But let’s take a look at the most well-known varieties that are edible:

  • Vasilika (black and white)
  • Markopoulou (black)
  • Kalamon (white)
  • Kymis (white)
  • Argalasti (white)
  • Politiko (white)
  • Fracasanes (white)
  • while the foreign ones are Alfiore, Brazilliana, Dauphine, Dottato, Mission and San piero.
     infructescence of fig tree
  1. The conditions in which it thrives

   The fig tree thrives very easily in the Greek garden. It prefers warm climates, but it can also thrive without much care in mountainous areas if the right variety is chosen. It has no problem with any type of soil, even calcareous soils, except for very clayey soils, which retain very large amounts of water. On the contrary, the soils that prefers are rich, light soils with good drainage. It is particularly resistant to drought and salinity.

  1. Irrigation

   The fig tree carries a high resistance to water shortage. Mature fig trees, when available, should be watered every 15 days, and once a week in the summer, in order to ensure satisfactory fruiting. Often, lack of water can lead to hollow fruit, while excessive moisture can lead to splitting of figs (cracking).

  1. Fertilization

   If we want rich fruiting for our fig tree, all we have to do is fertilize it with well-digested manure, which we will incorporate into the soil in winter. In this way, our tree will get all the organic matter and nitrogen it needs.

  1. Pruning

   The fig tree generally does not tolerate severe pruning , which is why it is often left in its natural shape. However, if pruning is desirable, it is advisable with the first pruning from planting to give it an open cup shape, with the branching of the arms starting low. In this way, it will be easy to harvest. The work of pruning shaping in the fig tree is done for warm regions in January-February, and for cold regions in March. Fruit pruning is also done at the same time, and is very light, as the fig tree does not require much intervention. The tops of the branches should not be cut off, as that is where new fruit will form. Finally, do not forget to apply a special paste to the large pruning cuts.

  1. Diseases

   One of the pests of the fig tree can be the so-called fig scab or wax moth, the flea, the black fig flies and the Mediterranean fly. Root knot nematodes may also cause problems, while fungi of the genera Phytophthora, Penicillium, Botrytis and Fusarium are common causes of fig tree deterioration.

    9. Health benefits

   Figs are rightly considered a superfood and are ideal for children and sickly bodies. They contain numerous nutrients such as vitamins B1, B2, A, E, K, minerals and the most fibre of any fruit. Thus, they prevent heart disease (drop in triglycerides in the blood), help build bone density, preventing osteoporosis, due to the increased calcium and potassium they contain, and also help in cases of constipation. Dried figs in particular have more than three times the nutritional value of fresh figs and are considered to be comparable to raisins and other high-calorie products. Furthermore, a property of figs that is not known to the general public is that they increase the sense of pleasure (increase dopamine in the brain).

  1. Use in architecture

   The fig tree is one of the best choices for a garden, even a luxurious one. Aesthetically it gives a rustic and country look, as well as being a focal point because of the shade it provides for the summer months. As mentioned above, it is a tree with a strong resistance to salinity, which makes it a favorite among landscape architects and agronomists who undertake projects on islands and dryland gardens. As for where to plant it, it is best avoided too close to buildings and walkways, as it carries a strong surface root system. 

  1. Delta Tip

   We have all heard the word ”sycophant”, ”slander” etc., but what is not known is that this word comes from fig + seem, i.e., to reveal. So, in ancient Greece, because the fig tree was considered very valuable as a sweetener, along with honey, penalties were imposed on those caught stealing them. So, there were people who would expose them and they were called ‘fig-fans’. Of course, there was no shortage of ”sycophants” who, out of revenge, denounced people who had not done any kind of theft, and that is why the word has gone down in history as someone who unjustly and deliberately accuses someone.

   For more information about Mediterranean trees here

A beautiful garden is the key to happy customers

10 Reasons the Garden is the Key to Happy Customers

   Who wouldn’t want to know the key to happy customers? When it comes to running a successful business, like a hotel or a villa, creating a welcoming and inviting environment for your customers can be just as important as the products or services you offer.One way to create a positive and memorable experience for customers is by investing in a beautiful garden for your business. In this article, we’ll give you reasons why creating a beautiful garden will bring you more customers to your business.

 1. Appearance of your business: This can create a positive first impression for potential customers and make your business stand out from competitors. For more information you can find hotel and villa projects here.

 2. Atmosphere: A garden can provide a calming and inviting atmosphere for customers. It can also serve as a natural buffer from the noise and commotion of the surrounding area, creating a more peaceful environment for customers to enjoy.

 3. Marketing: A beautiful garden can be a unique selling point for your business, and can be incorporated into your marketing efforts. You can showcase the garden in your advertisements, on your website and social media platforms, and in any other promotional materials.

 4. Events: A garden can be an ideal location for hosting events, such as outdoor concerts, weddings, and parties. This can attract a wider range of customers to your business, and create positive associations with your brand.

 5. Outdoor Seating: If your business has an outdoor seating area, a garden can provide an appealing backdrop for customers to enjoy their meals or drinks. This can create a more pleasant dining experience, and make customers more likely to return.

Outdoor seating area in a hotel with palm trees 

 6. Employee Morale: A beautiful garden can also benefit your employees by providing a peaceful and enjoyable break area. This can improve their overall morale and productivity, and create a more positive work environment.

 7. Sustainability: A garden can also help your business to be more environmentally sustainable by reducing heat island effects, improving air quality, and reducing stormwater runoff. This can help to attract environmentally conscious customers and set your business apart as a leader in sustainability.

 8. Education: If your garden contains plants and flowers that are native to your region, it can be an educational resource for customers. You can use signage or guided tours to teach customers about the local flora and fauna, creating a unique learning experience.

 9. Community Outreach: A garden can also be a valuable resource for community outreach. You can use your garden to host gardening classes, volunteer opportunities, or other community events. This can create positive associations with your business, and make you a valued member of your community.

10. Health and Wellness: A garden can provide a relaxing and rejuvenating environment that promotes health and wellness. Customers may be drawn to your business if they know that they can take a break in a beautiful garden and enjoy the benefits of being surrounded by nature. This can be especially appealing to customers who are health-conscious or looking for a stress-free environment. In addition, if your garden includes edible plants, such as herbs or vegetables, you can promote healthy eating and sustainable living, which can attract a broader range of customers.

   In conclusion, a beautiful garden can bring many benefits to your business, including improved aesthetics, atmosphere, marketing, events, outdoor seating, employee morale, sustainability, education, community outreach, health and wellness. By investing in a beautiful garden, you can attract more customers, improve your brand reputation, and customer loyalty and create a more enjoyable and sustainable environment for everyone.