United Arab Emirates | Dubai



 List of PLANTS with SPECIFICATIONS and explanations why they are good for FRUIT GARDEN and what atmosphere do they create

Recommended for Middle East countries

fruit garden design plants papaya

Today we will review certain plants species which give fruits and grow well in United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain), will explain major rules for fruit trees plantation.

Let's have a look for an example garden which was completed recently in Arabian Ranches community (Dubai). The main task for this project was to create a cozy outdoor space with local touch, using commonly attractive trees for homely feeling. Our team developed idea of native landscape with its "oasis" and "dry wadi", as well as a real plantation of fruit trees in "oasis". It was required to use plants, which are not really common to UAE area, but they are originated from Gulf or growing well in specific local climate – very hot and humid summer, and cool, windy and over humid winter. Our choice was to stick to variety of fruit trees from UAE, Oman, and south part of India. All plants were choosen for Dubai's climate, for desert area far from the sea, with a benefit of proper irrigation. Together with client we gave priority for plants, which fully reflect concept design - magnificent small urban oasis with an accent on fruit trees.

Let's go further for tree reviews and specifications, they are: mango tree, olive tree, pomegranate, lemon, orange tree, papaya, banana, date palm, and different types of herbs.

Mangifera indica (mango tree)

It is a large, branched perennial erect tree with wide evegreen crown which attains agreat height (10 to 20 m tall in Dubai). Mango is fast growing tree with slender to broad and rounded upright canopy that can be used for landscape and shade.

In deep sandy type soil the tap root will decend to 6 m with the feeder roots growing in descending order. The mango requires full sun and perfect air drainage. Mangos will grow in almost any well-drained sandy, loam or clay soil but does not grow well in heavy wet soils. Plantings established during the dry season will require irrigation everyday. The amount of irrigation required will depend on soil type and temperature. 

The best time for planting is during the season when humidity level is high. Prior to planting, field should be deeply ploughed, harrowed and levelled. In the dry zones where the growth is less, distance should be regulated to about (10 x 10) m. Small plants with a diameter about the size of a pencil graft well with the common whip graft. Crown groove graft allows several scions to be put on at once. Fully grown trees may be top-worked by crown groove bark graft or prune hard and whip graft sprouts later. Plastic bagging with a few drops of moisture will improve the graft’s chances of being successful. Grafts are most successful if the leaves are allowed to remain below the graft, but removed suckers. When top working, do not dehorn the entire tree, leave several braches fully leafed.

olive lemon banana papaya mango pomegranateOlea europaea (olive tree)

The olive tree is a small evergreen tree that grows between 8-15m tall. It is a slow-growing and extremely long-lived species, with a life expectancy up to 1000 years.

This tree is considered an evergreen tree, a flowering tree and an ornamental tree. It keeps its foliage year-round, blooms in a profusion of spring flowers and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping. Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. It grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy and well-drained soils. It tolerates dry conditions.

The olive branch is the symbol for peace.

Punica granatum (pomegranate)

It is a small deciduous tree attaining 2 to 8 m hight having oblong or ovate leaves with a shining surface. The fruits are borne terminally on short spurs arising from mature shoots. Regular irrigation is required during establishment of the plant. Once the plant is established it requires weekly irrigation in summer and bi-weekly during winter. Irrigation is also essential between flowering and fruit ripening, as moisture stress leads to flower and fruit drop and fruit cracking at mature stage. Pomegranate can grow on a wide range of soils. However it grows well in medium deep, loamy and well-drained soils.

Planting should be done at the beginning of monsoon or by the end of monsoon. The land is ploughed 2-3 times and brought to a fine tilth. Normally the plants are planted at a spacing of min (3 x 3) m if the plants are regulary pruned. At the time of planting a small pit sufficient to accomodate the soil ball should be excavated in the center of the pit. The polythene bag should be removed without disturbing the soil ball. The graft along with the soil ball is carefully lowered in the pit. Soil is lightly pressed around the main stem to remove the air gaps. Plants are watered and adequately supported by stakes.

Hot and dry climate during fruit development improves its fruit quality. Humid climate during fruit setting adversely affects the fruit color development, quality and increases pest and disease attack. Additional protection should be provided for pomegranate trees in local desert climate of United Arab Emirates.

Citrus limon (lemons) and Citrus sinensis (orange tree)

Both of them from family Rutaceae, they have common requirements and very similar specs.  It is an evergreen medium (in UAE) to tall, erect tree. It growth to maximum height 6 m (in UAE). Trees are thorny and bear flowers singly or in clusters which bear fruit generally round to oval in shape depending on the species.

Water management constitutes an important input in citrus orchard, which determines productivity and longevity. Citrus plants respond well to irrigation. Watering at 5 to 6 days interval during summer and every 10 to 12 days during winter is quite effective!

The ideal time for planting the grafts in Dubai is just after winter season in UAE. Spacing adopted for planting citrus varies depending on species: for orange tree and for lemons min spacing is (3 x 3) m. Trees require warm and moderately moist conditions for its growth.

Carica papaya (papaya)

Commonly referred as a "tree", the plant is properly a large herb reaching 2 or even 5 m in height in climate of Arabian countries, with a hollow green or deep-purple stem becoming 30 to to 40 cm in or more thick at the base and roughened by leaf scars. The leaves emerge directly from the upper part of the stem in a spiral on nearly horizontal petioles 30-105 cm long, hollow, succulent, green or more or less dark purple. Both the stem and leaves contain copious white milky latex. Flowers are fleshy, waxy and slightly fragrant.

The papaya needs plentiful irrigation but must have good drainage. Flooding for 48 hours is fatal. While doing best in light, porous soils rich in organic matter, the plant will grow in scarified limestone, marl, or various other soils if it is given adequate care. On rich organic soils the papaya makes lush growth and bears heavily but the fruits are of low quality.

Planting spacing is minimum 1.5 m. Papaya spreads in 7-10 m wide. Papayas are generally grown from seed. Germination may take 3 to 5 weeks. It is expedited to 2 to 3 weeks and percentage of germination increased by washing off the aril. Then the seeds need to be dried and dusted with fungicide to avoid damping-off, a common cause of loss of seedlings. Well-prepared seeds can be stored for as long as 3 years but the percentage of germination declines with age. Dipping for 15 seconds in hot water at 70ºC and then soaking for 24 hrs in distilled water after removal from storage will improve the germination rate. If germination is slow at some seasons, treatment with gibberellic acid may be needed to get quicker results.

Musa paradisiaca (banana)

It is a freely stooling perennial rhizomatous herb having pseudostems composed of tight clasping leaf sheaths. Main stem is an underground rhizome. The inflorescence is horizontal or pendant and fruit bunches are compact.

Banana requires copious irrigation. The basin method is most commonly adopted. In this method water is supplied to the plants themselves and not to the intervening spaces that do contain roots. Tissue culture plants respond very well to drip irrigation. Drip irrigated plants have more vigorous growth, resulting in early and better yield. 

Fertility of soil is very important for successful cultivation, as banana is heavy feeder. Banana is one of the few fruits which has a restricted root zone. Hence, depth and drainage are the two most important considerations in selecting the soil for banana. The soil suitable for banana should be 0.5-1 m depth, rich, well-drained, fertile, moisture retentive, containing plenty of organic matter. Banana plant requires a warm and humid climate. It can be cultivated in a temperature range of 10°C and 40°C with high humidity.

Phoenix dactylifera (date palm)

Date palm is a medium-sized tree, 15 to 25 meters tall, often clumped with several trunks from a single root system, but often growing singly as well.

Accepted and confirmed data related to temperature requirements are that: the date palm will flower only when the shade temperature rises over 18°C; will fruit at temperatures above 25°C and vegetative growth will stop under 10°C. Dates require a hot and dry climate, and flourish in the Middle East in their best exposure. It can therefore be concluded that the date palm can survive in a wide temperature range (up to about 50-60°C). But to complete a full productive cycle, i.e. to bear fruit, the date palm requires a certain amount of heat energy. Apart from having a certain drought resistance because of its relatively few and well protected foliage, the date palm can withstand flooding for prolonged periods partly explained by the presence of numerous and large air spaces in its root tissue.

With regard to soil requirements the date palm is not very demanding and will grow on almost any type of soil, from almost pure sand to heavy alluvial soils, provided they furnish the basic needs of anchorage to the palm, minerals, water penetration and drainage. The optimal situation lies, therefore, in the middle, and deep sandy loams are often quoted as the more suitable type of soil for the date palm.


unique lighting emaar dubai botanical gardenOutdoor lighting. For this specific project of community Botanical Garden it was absolutely necessary to create unique lighting: to highlight trees, terraces, information boards about plants used in the design of the garden. We designed simple, contemporary and stylish light stands, we used curtain steel as a base material and LED lighting under half-transparent text board, the board itself has information about plants next to it. Schematic image shows layers of design idea.

Before proposing any idea be focused on technical studies and newest successful ideas. About usefulness of smart lighting in landscape design: every urban context can gain new identity and symbolic value by means of a multidisciplinary lighting education approach; advanced technology of LED products for all lighting applications, where its functional or decorative custom-made quality products help re-define the space we live in with eco-friendly and energy saving solutions.



Recommended literature:

Julian Lee. Landscape Plants of Arabia. 1200 pages

Léon de Laborde. Voyage de l’Arabie Pétrée (translation: Voyage to Arabia Petraea)

Delile. Fragments d’une flore de l’Arabie Pétrée (translation: Remarks on a plant of Arabia Petraea)