The Q&A Archives: Mediterranean accent plant

Question: Help!!! I bought a Monrovia arbutus unedo compacta (strawberry bush) for my entryway, already planted it, and now feel I may have made a mistake. Thinking about removing the strawberry bush and relocating it. I have a Mediteranean single story in an inland San Diego County setting (hot & dry summers). The plant will get morning and midday sun but will be shaded from the hot afternoon sun. The planting space space is only 4 ft. in diameter, right next to a wide reddish tile entryway (also red tile roof). It would also be limited in height to the eaves of a single story building. I'd like an accent plant that would work in this situation. Something with a Mediterranean look, clean, hardy, and prefer something that has a small canopy. I like the color and texture of olive trees (but can't use a messy or large plant in this location. Please help (my wife's nagging me do death!!!)

Randy Heath

Answer: If you like the look of a topiary, which to me looks like a small tree, you might consider Little Ollie dwarf Olive. Without pruning, it grows 4-6' tall and wide, but you can prune it into a smaller shrub, or you can purchase Little Ollie in tree form (3' long trunk, 2' wide topknot). This plant has all the attributes of an olive tree without the messy fruit. I think it's perfect for your Mediterranean setting!

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