15 Sep 2014

How to have a stunning garden on Gran Canaria

Published in Living in Gran Canaria

The soil in Gran Canaria is so fertile and the sunshine so constant that plants thrive here. What you grow in your  garden (or window box) depends on how often you can water. 

This is because the dry air here kills delicate plants, such as geraniums and fuschias, quickly. They are only suitable for gardens that are watered daily or have an automatic watering system. The same applies to lawns and herbs such as basil and oregano.

Choosing Plants in Gran Canaria

A top tip is to look in parks and nearby gardens for plants that thrive in similar coditions to your garden. Watch out for the level of sunshine and shade, distance from the sea (many plants don’t like the salt), altitude and watering levels.

For weekend gardeners hibiscus and bougainvillea plants are always excellent options. Both flower more if they spend a few days without water and come in a wide range of colours. Strelitzias also thrive in the sunshine and their flowers last for weeks.

Even tougher are aloe and cactus plants that survive for months with little or no water. For irregular Gran Canaria gardeners succulents plants are the way to go. Aloes and cactus survive for months without water and creeping succulents such as mesembryanthemum cover the ground and flower all year round.

Where to get plants in Gran Canaria

Head to a large plant nursery (vivero) such as Viveros Mogan for garden ad outdoor plants in Gran Canaria. They sell plants that survive the local conditions here while many shops sell imported plants that die as soon as you put them in the sunshine. Anything with big green leaves need lots of water and share to thrive and will shrivel up if put in direct sunshine.

Ask neighbours and friendly local gardeners for cuttings: Most are happy to give you a piece to plant.

Avoid collecting native or wild plants in Gran Canaria as many are protected and most are dormant during the summer. Plant nurseries often sell the best Canarian plants for the garden. The Candelabra plant (Euphorbia canariensis) and local houseleeks (Aeoniums or bejeques) are excellent low-water options that give your outdoor spaces a local touch..


Orchids are a fantastic option for windowsills and bright rooms. They only need watering once a week and often flowers for months at a time.

Cactus and succulents grow happily on sunny windowsills but always plant them in terracotta pots to prevent toppling (they get heavy as they grow).

No water no problem

Buy quality silk or dried flowers, or floral prints, if you only visit your property occasionally, or buy a few herbs from the supermarket that you can use before you go.