25 Crops For Spanish-Type Residence Gardens

If your home has arched entryways, stucco or adobe brick walls, ceramic tile, wrought iron railings, and a clay tile roof, it was most likely influenced by the architecture of Spain. We often refer to these dwellings as Southwestern, Mission, Mediterranean, or Pueblo-style homes, and they are truly a feast for the senses. 

Taking its cues from the home it surrounds, a Spanish-style garden is a visual, olfactory, auditory, and tactile experience. Like other European landscape designs, its lines and shapes are typically geometric and mostly symmetrical, but there is less rigidity and more emphasis on free-flowing plant form. 

Enclosed in a courtyard or bordered by a stone wall, a Spanish-style garden typically includes some kind of central water element, like a fountain, and maybe some statuary. It features heat-tolerant flowering plants, succulents, and shrubs, as well as fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs. It often employs a vine-draped pergola or arbor to provide relief from the sun.

Planning a garden for your Spanish-influenced home is relatively easy if you follow these general guidelines for structuring the landscape and select warm climate plants that are appropriate to the region. To help you with that task, we’ve pulled together photos and growing information on 27 of our favorite plants for a Spanish-style home

California Poppy

Mission Bells California Poppy Seeds

Rosemary Seeds

Rosemary Seeds

Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) Seeds

San Marzano Tomato

San Marzano Roma Pole Tomato Seeds

San Marzano Roma Pole Tomato Seeds

Common Olive

Close-up of Olea europaea against blue sky in a garden. Olea europaea, or the olive tree, is characterized by its evergreen foliage with narrow, gray-green leaves and a gnarled, twisting trunk. The tree produces clusters of small green fruits that mature into olives.Grow olive trees in a container or train them as a topiary tree.

This native of Spain performs well as a small shade tree, offering relief from the scorching sun, but it can also be trained as a topiary or grown in a container. Favored in Europe for being the highest-yielding olive tree, the common olive is a must-have outside the Spanish-style home.

Its leaves are silver-gray and leathery with a long, elliptical shape. In spring, small white flowers fill the courtyard with a sweet, light scent before giving way to olives in fall. Plant ‘Little Ollie’ in a small-scale landscape or ‘Swan Hill’ where a fruitless specimen is preferred. 


Close-up of a flowering Bougainvillea plant in a garden. Bougainvillea is a vibrant flowering vine known for its colorful bracts that surround its small, inconspicuous flowers. These bracts come in bright pink color, creating a striking display against its bright green foliage.This colorful vine is ideal for sunny Spanish landscapes.

This trailing, woody vine scrambles up a stucco wall or the side of an arbor with ease, but can also be pruned as a shrub. Featuring brightly colored, three-part flowers in hues of yellow, pink, purple, red, and white, bougainvillea is a showy plant that lends a bit of romance to the Spanish-style landscape and blooms all season long.

It enjoys full sun and well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. ‘Orange King’ has a bright, sunny disposition, while ‘Singapore White’ offers crisp neutrality. 

Tropical Hibiscus

Close-up of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis blooming in the garden. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis features large, showy flower of bright red color. This flower has a prominent, protruding stamen and a distinctive trumpet-like shape, contrasting with the plant's glossy, dark green leaves.This hibiscus has dramatic tropical blooms in various colors.

Tropical hibiscus is a dramatic plant featuring six-inch trumpet-shaped blooms in hues of red, pink, white, yellow, and orange. Each flower opens for just one day before wilting and dropping off, but hibiscus blooms steadily and prolifically for the duration of the season. Its shrub-like habit, dark oversized leaves, and preference for humidity and high heat make hibiscus a must-have in the Spanish-style garden.


Close-up of a blooming Mandevilla sanderi in a hanging pot on a balcony. Mandevilla sanderi, or the mandevilla vine, is prized for its lush, glossy green foliage and its profusion of trumpet-shaped flowers. These flowers come in shades of red and white and have a delicate, waxy texture, adding a touch of elegance to the vine's cascading growth.A trailing tropical vine, mandevilla has colorful five-petaled flowers perfect for Spanish gardens.

Mandevilla is another trailing tropical plant that hits all the right notes in a Spanish style home garden design. It has five-petaled flowers that average five inches in width and come in shades of red, pink, yellow, and white. As a semi-soft vine, it clings by tendrils and grows happily up a trellis or wrought iron railing. It can also sprawl horizontally as a ground cover or you can groom it like a shrub.

Mandevilla enjoys some relief from the hot afternoon sun, so it’s best planted in locations with southeastern exposure or late-day shade. 


Close-up of blooming colorful geraniums in a sunny garden. Pelargonium, commonly known as geraniums, are characterized by their rounded clusters of vibrant flowers in shades of red, pink, purple, or white. Their deeply lobed leaves have a distinctive scent and are dark green in color.Traditional geraniums offer versatile flower displays.

Though it is grown as an annual in most parts of the world, traditional geranium is perennial in zones 10 and 11 and is well-suited to the climate in Spain. Its loose, mounding habit and spicy scent make it a popular choice for a simple terra cotta container display, but it can also be planted en masse for a ground cover of red, pink, or white flowers that keep coming all season. 

This plant perfectly complements a Spanish-style home with beautiful pops of color that require very little maintenance. Plant an ‘ivy’ variety for a free-style cascade of beautiful blooms or an ‘angel’ hybrid for a smaller, more violet-like flower size. 


Close-up of a flowering Lantana camara plant in a sunny garden. Lantana camara is a sprawling shrub known for its clusters of small, brightly colored flowers that change from yellow to orange as they mature. The plant's aromatic foliage is deeply veined and serrated, providing a striking contrast to the vibrant blooms.Colorful lantana thrives in diverse conditions and is ideal for Spanish landscapes.

This cheerful flowering shrub offers abundant clusters of yellow, red, orange, and white flowers, sometimes on the same plant. Its leaves are oval with serrated margins and remain evergreen in warm parts of the globe.

Lantana looks lovely spilling out of a terra-cotta planter or softening the edges of a stone fountain. This plant tolerates poor soil and periods of drought, making it ideal for the Spanish-style home landscape. Let ‘Bandana Trailing Gold’ droop whimsically from a hanging basket, or try ‘Little Lucky Peach Glow’ for a smaller stature and salmon-pink flowers. 

If you live in a region where lantana is invasive, container planting is your best bet.

Canna Lily

Close-up of a flowering Canna lily plant in a sunny garden. Canna lilies are distinguished by their large, banana-like leaves and bold, showy flowers that come in bright red. These flowers are clustered at the top of tall, sturdy stems.This plant boasts vibrant flowers and bold, banana-like leaves.

Canna lilies have long, upright, banana-like leaves with green or red coloring. Their flowers are large and showy in shades of orange, red, pink, yellow, and cream. They bloom in small groups atop sturdy stems from mid-summer to fall.

A native of South Africa, canna lily has a sun-loving personality that pairs well with other Spanish garden plants and pueblo-style homes. ‘The President’ has extra large, scarlet-red flowers. ‘Shenandoah’ has a softer tone, with sweet pink blooms and olive green foliage. 

This is another genus that contains species invasive to North America. Use caution when planting in the ground, and always consult your local extension office if you’re unsure about its status.

California Poppy

Close-up of blooming California Poppy plants in a sunny garden. California Poppy, or Eschscholzia californica, is characterized by its delicate, cup-shaped flowers in shades of orange. These flowers sit atop slender stems with finely divided, fern-like foliage.This stunning plant flaunts vibrant cup-shaped flowers.

Offering dense sprays of three-inch cup-shaped flowers in shades of yellow and orange, California poppy thrives in hot, dry sun. This iconic plant looks perfectly natural in the courtyard garden of a Spanish-style home.

The flowers close up at night and during periods of rain, only to open when the hot sun returns. The leaves are feathery and light beneath the poppy’s vibrant colored blooms. ‘California Golden’ is a West Coast, U.S. favorite. ‘Mission Bells’ features varying shades of pink, peach, and yellow.


Close-up of a blooming Passionflower vine under the sun's rays. Passionflower vines are known for their intricate, exotic flowers with a distinctive structure of filaments and colorful coronal filaments. This flower comes in shades of purple, blue, pink, and white and is surrounded by deeply lobed, lush green leaves.Fast-growing passionflower vines display exotic daisy-shaped blooms in various vibrant colors.

Passionflower is a vining perennial with exotic-looking blooms and a fast-growing habit. Flowers are flat and daisy-shaped with long filaments and a ray of petals fanned out around a central disk. Its coloring is blue, red, pink, white, or yellow.

Vines cling by coiling tendrils and can reach great heights in just a few seasons. Plant ‘Ruby Star’ at the foot of a Mediterranean courtyard pergola, and it will delight you with its vibrant red blooms from mid-summer to fall. 

Spanish Lavender

Close-up of blooming Spanish Lavender in a garden against a blurred background. Spanish Lavender, or Lavandula stoechas, is characterized by its aromatic foliage and distinctive flower spikes topped with tufts of colorful bracts. These flower spikes come in shades of purple and are complemented by the plant's slender, gray-green leaves.This lavender features fragrant leaves and dark purple flowers.

With highly fragrant, silvery green leaves and spikes of dark purple or white flowers, Spanish lavender adds a typical sensory experience you’d expect in a Spanish home courtyard. With its prolific spring and summer blooms, Spanish lavender tolerates intense sunshine and prolonged periods of drought.

Plant ‘Ballerina’ in a colorful ceramic pot for a cheerful specimen plant, or use ‘Strawberry Ruffle’ to line the promenade with pops of purplish-pink. 


Close-up of a flowering Jasmine plant. Jasmine, known for its fragrant blooms, features clusters of small, star-shaped white flowers. Its glossy, dark green leaves provide a lush backdrop to the delicate flowers, creating a visually appealing contrast.This vine or shrub features fragrant star-shaped white flowers.

This sweet-smelling plant comes in either vine or shrub form, depending on species and cultivar. As a member of the olive family, it has an exotic profile and fits right into the Mediterranean landscape mix. That also means it tends to take over in certain areas. Check your species against the list of invasive plants in your region.

Offering small, white flowers that are star-shaped with three or five petals, jasmine plants have waxy dark leaves that may be deciduous or evergreen. Plant ‘Jasmine Rex’ for a small-scale vine to climb an adobe wall or ‘Winter’ if your region is less than tropical. 


Close-up of a blooming Oleander in the garden. Oleander is a robust shrub with leathery, lance-shaped leaves arranged in whorls along its stems. Its showy, funnel-shaped flowers bloom in clusters at the tips of branches and come in delicate pink.Versatile for screening, oleander showcases colorful leaves and flowers.

Considered a shrub or small tree, oleander has a wide-spreading habit that makes it an ideal screening plant. Its lance-shaped, waxy green leaves are four to seven inches long and have a palm-like appearance. Its flowers are red, pink, white, yellow, purple, and orange, with five petals and a deep, fluted throat.

With a high tolerance for salt and heat, oleander performs well in a Spanish coastal garden. Try ‘Petite Pink’ for smaller flowers in a pastel hue or ‘Variegata’ for green and white leaves. 


Close-up of an Agave in a sunny garden. Agave, a succulent plant, is characterized by its striking rosette of thick, fleshy leaves with sharp spines along the edges. These leaves have a blue-green hue.This species thrives in Spanish-style landscapes with minimal care.

With more than 250 species in the Agave genus, there are plenty of varieties to complement the Spanish home aesthetic. Prized for its syrup-making potential as well as its spiky structure, agave soaks up the sun like a champ and requires very little maintenance.

Flowering is sporadic, with some species blooming only every 30 years, but when it happens, you’ll be treated to a magical spike of yellow flowers that might reach heights of 20 feet or more. ‘Weber Azul’ has sharp, blue leaves that pair nicely with terra cotta tile. 

Prickly Pear Cactus

Close-up of a blooming Prickly Pear Cactus in a sunny garden. Prickly Pear Cactus, a resilient desert plant, showcases flat, oval-shaped pads covered in clusters of tiny, hair-like spines called glochids. These pads are green and are segmented or jointed. During the spring and summer months, prickly pear cacti produce vibrant, cup-shaped flowers in shades of pink, or red, followed by edible fruits known as prickly pears.This cactus complements Spanish-style gardens effortlessly.

With wild variations in height, a prickly pear cactus can play the role of a potted plant, specimen tree, or small shrub in the Spanish-style garden. Its leaves are like large, flat paddles with spiny surfaces, growing upward as offshoots from one another.

The flowers are showy in hues of orange, yellow, and red. Prickly pear cactus demands dry, sandy soil and looks natural outside Spanish-style homes in arid regions. 

Mediterranean Fan Palm

Close-up of a Mediterranean Fan Palm in a garden. Mediterranean Fan Palm, also known as Chamaerops humilis, is characterized by its fan-shaped fronds arranged in a compact crown atop a solitary trunk. The palm's leaves are a deep green color and have a pleated texture, adding to its visual appeal.This elegant palm brings a touch of Mediterranean charm to gardens.

A great choice for a corner planting to block headlights or screen a neighbor, Mediterranean fan palm spreads horizontally by offshoots to consume a large area over time. Its densely arranged, two-foot fronds are triangle-shaped and have a pretty blue-green coloring. Its trunk is rough and texturally interesting.

Prune off wild shoots as soon as they emerge and you can train a Mediterranean fan palm into a traditional single-trunk tree form that will grow taller and provide more shade. 

European Pear

Close-up of Pyrus communis with ripe fruits against a blue sky. Pyrus communis, commonly known as the European pear tree, is a deciduous tree with a broad, rounded canopy and smooth gray bark. Its glossy, dark green leaves are oval in shape and have slightly jagged edges. The tree produces edible pears that are green with a pinkish tint.This tree produces delicious fruits and beautiful spring blossoms.

Mature size varies among cultivars within this European pear genus. The plentiful fruits have a traditional teardrop shape, meeting the Spanish garden preference for edible plants. Leaves are long and oval-shaped with serrated margins.

The flowers are small and white, appearing in spring and emitting a strong scent that is off-putting to some but delightful to others. ‘Kieffer’ tolerates both drought and flooding, so it’s perfect for coastal applications. Plant ‘Moonglow’ if you’re looking for fast growth. 

Common Fig

Close-up of Common Fig with ripe fruits. Common Fig, or Ficus carica, is characterized by its large, lobed leaves with a rough, hairy texture on the surface and a velvety texture underneath. The fig tree produces unique, pear-shaped fruits called figs, which vary in color from green to purple.Delicious fruits and lush leaves grace this lovely, fruitful garden addition.

Another edible must-have in the Spanish-style home garden, the common fig has a spreading, shrubby habit. Fruit is produced in late summer or early fall on new wood and is typically between two and four inches long.

Leaves are large and deeply lobed with a palmate structure resembling a hand. Although this plant is known for dropping leaves and being a little messy, it is very productive and attractive. Grow ‘Little Ruby’ in a terra cotta pot near the back door or ‘Brown Turkey’ if your winters are chilly. 

Lemon Tree

Close-up of ripe lemons on a tree, against the blue sky in the garden. Lemon Tree, or Citrus limon, is a small evergreen tree with glossy, dark green leaves. Its lemon-yellow fruits are oval-shaped and feature a smooth, thin skin with a tangy, acidic pulp inside.Fragrant blossoms and zesty fruit bring refreshing vitality to gardens.

No Spanish garden would be complete without a citrus plant that’s ripe for the picking. Delightful in both sight and scent, a lemon tree begins the active season with brown leaves and small white or pink flowers and matures to dark green leaves with cheerful yellow lemons.

It loves the sun but requires some protection from the wind, so plant it next to a wall. Plant it in a large, colorful pot that’s well-drained or directly in the ground. ‘Meyer’ has a bit more cold tolerance and sweeter fruit than many lemon tree varieties. ‘Lisbon’ has few to no seeds.

Floribunda Rose

Close-up of a Floribunda Rose blooming in a garden. Floribunda Rose is a hybrid rose variety known for its abundant clusters of colorful, fragrant flowers. These roses bloom profusely with each cluster containing multiple blooms in deep red. The compact, bushy plants are adorned with glossy, dark green foliage, providing a lush backdrop to the stunning display of flowers.Bountiful clusters of vibrant blooms adorn this garden favorite.

This repeat blooming rose works as a hedge or border planting in the Spanish-style garden. On each plant, semi-double blooms cover the surface with vibrant color and give off a light, sweet tea scent. Leaves are small and serrated with a dark green to bronze color that yellows in fall.

Good drainage is a must-have for this sun-lover. It will tolerate a container on the patio, but must be kept moist. ‘Julia Child’ has yellow flowers and a licorice-like scent. ‘Iceberg’ has snow-white blooms.  

Mexican Feather Grass

Close-up of Mexican Feather Grass in a sunny garden. Mexican Feather Grass, or Nassella tenuissima, is a graceful ornamental grass with fine, delicate foliage that forms airy, feathery tufts. The grass blades are green.Graceful, wispy foliage sways elegantly in the gentlest breeze.

Lending softness and movement to a landscape that might otherwise feel harsh for its hardy plant content, Mexican feather grass is a dense mass of hair-like leaves that curl inward and fan outward.

Although it works wonderfully with the Spanish aesthetic and pairs well with other heat-tolerant plants, it spreads liberally by seed and requires diligent maintenance. Check the invasive species watch list in your region before planting. 


Close-up of Basil growing in a sunny garden. Its glossy, oval-shaped leaves have a slightly serrated edge and are arranged oppositely along the stems.Fragrant leaves enhance culinary delights with their aromatic essence.

No Mediterranean kitchen garden would be complete without a mound of sweet-smelling basil in the mix. This member of the mint family spreads easily and returns perennially in zones 10-11 but is grown as annual in cooler climates.

Leaf color varies from bright green to dark burgundy, depending on the variety. Flowers are insignificant and should be pruned to encourage more robust foliage. Plant ‘Mexican Spice’ for a strong cinnamon scent or ‘Rutgers Obsession’ for a compact habit.  


Close-up of blooming Chives in a garden. Chives, a member of the onion family, feature slender, hollow leaves that grow in dense clumps from a small bulb. The leaves are bright green. Chive plants produce round, purple-pink flower heads atop tall stalks.Delicate purple blooms crown slender, onion-like stems in herb gardens.

Since sensory-stimulating plants are a priority in Spanish-style garden design, you’ll often find chives in the landscape. Whether potted in a colorful ceramic bowl near the kitchen door or worked into a symmetrically divided herb garden, chives deliver the scent, taste, color, and texture that a Spanish home garden demands.

Easily snipped off and thrown into soups, salads, dips, and spreads, chives replenish themselves quickly. They can also be planted as a grass substitute but must be maintained meticulously to prevent unwanted spread!


Close-up of Thyme in the garden. Thyme is a low-growing herb with tiny, aromatic leaves that are gray-green in color and have a slightly fuzzy texture. The leaves are arranged oppositely along the stems.The tiny leaves release a fragrant aroma, perfect for culinary creations.

There are roughly 350 species of perennial thyme, and most will look completely at home in the Spanish-style garden. Most have small, ovate leaves in colors ranging from bright green to dark purple. Some sprawl and creep to act as ground cover, while others mound up like a small shrub.

Thyme flowers are pink, purple, or white and should be pruned off to encourage leaf production. ‘Woody Thyme’ has no scent and grows well in and around landscape steppers. ‘Creeping Thyme’ covers a large area to suppress weeds and keep the soil cool. 


Close-up of Rosemary in a large decorative flowerpot in a sunny garden. Rosemary is an aromatic herb with needle-like leaves that are dark green on top and silvery-white underneath. The leaves grow densely along woody stems, forming an upright, bushy shrub.Fragrant, needle-like leaves add flavor and charm to any dish.

This aromatic evergreen offers year-round color, texture, and a pine-like scent. It can be harvested aggressively for inclusion in many Spanish-style culinary offerings or sheared into shrub form. Its leaves are needle-like and blue-gray, providing a soft wispy cushion beneath spikes of purple or white flowers that bloom in mid-summer.

Heirloom rosemary attracts pollinators that are vital to the flower production of other plants in the Spanish-style garden. Plant ‘Severn Sea’ in a row of three or five to create a small hedge that delights the senses. ‘Albus’ offers white flowers if the garden’s bright tropical hues need a neutral foil.  


Close-up of tomatoes growing in a garden bed. Tomato plants sprawl featuring vines with fuzzy, oval-shaped serrated leaves. The leaves are a bright green color and grow alternately along the stems. Tomato plants produce round, slightly flattened, edible fruits with thin, shiny green and red skin.Juicy fruits burst with flavor, enriching meals with freshness.

A fruit we often associate with Mediterranean cuisine, the tomato is a must-have in the Spanish-style garden. Varying in height and fruit size from dwarf to giant, tomato plants bring a pop of excitement to the landscape and provide an immediate snack to anyone whiling away the hours in a courtyard chaise lounge.

Some varieties take well to being espaliered on a trellis or screen, should space be a consideration. Others resemble a bushy shrub if left to their own devices. ‘San Marzano’ is full of flavor and popular for sauces and salsas, while ‘Roma’ slices up nicely in a caprese salad. 

Final Thoughts

When planning a garden for your Spanish-style home, prioritize plants with a high tolerance for heat, make space for fresh herbs and fruits, and include some trees to provide shade. Choose plants that flower in bold, exotic colors and vary in foliage shade and texture. Let a whimsical vine scramble up the stucco or drape one over an archway, and your senses will thank you for the experience!

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