Bougainvillea care in the Gulf

Is there a better way to start your day in the desert, than opening your window to a bougainvillea?

Photo credit: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/close-up-beautiful-red-bougainvillea-flowers_3919040.htm

When someone lives in a hot and dry climate, the options for easygoing plants with beautiful flowers are not many. Thank God there is Bougainvillea, a plant that the less care it receives, the more it thrives!

Bougainvillea is native to Easter South America, it is very drought tolerant, salt tolerant and loves heat and sun, and all of that make it suitable for the desert climate.

If you just bought a pretty bougainvillea, full of flowers and when you brought it home it lost all of its flowers, don’t get disappointed. Bougainvilleas (like all plants) bloom in cycles and once they settle, they will give you new flowers.

Some basic tips on how to care for your Bougainvillea in a pot:

  • Sun: Winter or summer, place it under full sun
  • Soil: When repotting, use a light potting mix (add more perlite than what you add for other plants). If you plant in the soil, you can use more sand than usual.
  • Water: Bougainvilleas don’t like a lot of water, so you should let the soil completely dry before you water again (in the winter it can take up to even a week, depending on the pot size and the soil used). You will notice that as the weather gets more hot, the soil will be drying out faster, until around the 15-30 of May, when you will have to be watering daily, until end of September.
  • Fertilizer: you can add your regular compost at the end of the summer (first half of October) and then you can keep adding compost every 3-4 weeks, until mid May. If you don’t mind using chemical fertilizers, you can replace compost with a fertilizer high in P (like 15-30-15) 3 times a year.
  • Pruning: Bougainvilleas flower from new growth, so when you prune you will get new growth and more flowers! You can prune as hard as you like (up to 2/3 of its stems) anytime during winter, at the end of a flowering cycle. Hard pruning during summer is not recommended, but you can keep removing dead and dry branches from end of May until mid September, when you can prune again more strictly.
  • Flowering: if your Bougainvillea doesn’t give enough flowers, try offering more sun, cut down on watering, prune it, and if all else fails, occasionally add a P high fertilizer, like 15-30-15.

An one last tip: Bougainvillea can be propagated by cuttings.

Check out this video on Instagram, for a step by step guide on propagation by cuttings.

And for the real bougainvillea lovers, I definitely recommend joining this community on Facebook.

Happy gardening!

A gardener’s guide in the Gulf: growing basil

Who loves basil?

Basil is on top of many plants lists; the list of the easiest herbs to grow, the insect repellent plants list, the bees attracting plants list and, of course, it has so many uses in our kitchen! So what is there not to love about it?

Still, many people might get disappointed when their basil dies, as in the Gulf there are so many varieties and not all of them survive the summer.

In the video below, you will read all about the available varieties of basil in the Gulf, where to place it, what soil to use, care tips and how to face the most common pests.

A Gardener’s guide in the Gulf; Growing basil

If you would like to know more about growing your own food in the Gulf, follow @hadiqaa.middle.east on Facebook or Instagram, to get notified about our upcoming workshops.

Music: https://www.bensound.com/

Hibiscus care in the Gulf

Growth & flowering

Hibiscus grow very fast and can become as high as 2.5 m in ideal garden locations.

They can give flowers all year round, but ideally from October till May in the Gulf.

When you plant them in a garden in the Gulf, choose a location that does not receive full sun in the summer. Only 2-3 hours in the morning or in the afternoon will be more than enough. More direct sun than that in the summer will burn the leaves.

Don’t push your hibiscus to grow flowers all year round…give it some rest during summer.


  1. Mix compost or manure in your soil before planting (in a garden or in a pot).  
  2. Hibiscus can tolerate a light potting mix, for example:

50-60% potting soil – 30-40% cocopeat – 10-20% sand and some perlite.

If you have clay in your garden soil, you can add some (10-20%) and water less frequently.  Light: they like very bright areas, but can’t tolerate direct sunlight in the summer. There are 2 options for that:

3. Plant them in pots and place the pots in a location with 4-5 hours of sunlight during winter, then move the pots in the summer to little sun.

If you bring your Hibiscus indoors during summer, don’t place them under the A/C current.

4. Plant them under full sun (in pots or garden) and use shading nets from May until October.Watering: let the top 4-7 cm of the soil dry before you water again (4-5 cm in the summer, 6-7 cm in the winter). This might be every 3-4 days in the winter, every day in the summer.  

5. Fertilize regularly (every 4-6 weeks in a container, every 6-8 weeks in the garden) from September until June. Use a fertilizer higher in P and K. You can use vermicompost 2-3 times per year and if you make your own compost, add banana peels in it.

5 tips for caring for your Aloe Vera plant

Aloe vera plants are native to the tropical climates of Africa and are widely acknowledged for their skincare benefits – in particular for their ability to care for sunburns due to the soothing properties of the thick aloe vera gel found in their fleshly plump leaves. The plant itself usually varies in size, but the average height stands at around 50-60 cm, making it suitable to care for as an indoor house plant.
Aloe vera plants are perfect for individuals on the lookout for a low maintenance indoor succulent. They’re able to thrive in snug dry conditions and artificial sunlight, making the natural indoor environment of most homes perfect for the upkeep of one. In this post today, we’ll go over 5 simple ways on how to care for your aloe vera plant to ensure it sees you through many years to come!

1) Opt for indirect sunlight
Like most succulents, overexposure to direct sunlight can dry the leaves out, turning it a pale straw-like colour. An aloe vera plant can survive equally well indoors, or at a shaded outdoor space in the Gulf. Not receiving enough light can cause its leaves to start to bend or droop, so if the plant is kept indoors, leave it by the windowsill and rotate periodically to ensure even growth in all directions. If you keep it in an outdoor area without a shadow, it will survive the direct summer sun, but it will suffer and you will see its leaves turning orange.

2) A little (water) goes a long way
We heard a little cheer for this one – but you’ve heard correctly, aloe vera doesn’t require frequent watering at all. It’s best to water the plant thoroughly around once every 3 weeks during warmer seasons, and less so frequently during colder seasons. To check if your aloe vera is due for a water, press down gently on the soil to get an indication of the level of moisture. The soil should be completely dry before re-watering, so always double-check before attempting to re-hydrate the plant. Overwatering can lead to its roots rotting, or its leaves rotting (the latter in the form of little black spots). On the other hand, an under-watered plant will also lead to brown leaves – so make sure to always keep an eye on it!

3) Use a terracotta pot with drainage holes
Aloe vera is best potted in a terracotta pot with drainage holes. The terracotta absorbs excess moisture, and the holes drain the soil of any water to keep it dry, preventing the roots from rotting which can inevitably lead to plant death.

4) Fertilising isn’t necessary
Aloe vera doesn’t require any fertilising, so you can skip this step altogether. However, if you do decide to fertilise your plant, adding a little fertiliser once a year (in the springtime) should be enough!

5) Propagation:

Only remove any aloe vera pups once they’ve developed into at a size where its roots are fully developed (enough to sustain its own growth so that it can grow independently). Repot the aloe vera plant pups using some potting and sand mix, and you’ll have two or more plants before you know it!

Snake plant care tips

Snake plant (Sansevieria sp. or Mother’s tongue) can tolerate the sandstorms when placed outdoor or the low light of a dark room indoor. This makes it more and more popular in the hot, desert climates.

Snake plant (Sansevieria sp. or Mother’s tongue) is getting more and more popular in the hot climates for a good reason: its ability to adjust equally well indoor and outdoor brings it among the top choices of plant lovers. If you live in a hot climate like in the Gulf, here are a few tips for its care:

  • OFFER LITTLE WATER: This is an essential part of Sansevieria’s care, as it can tolerate drought, but it won’t last in a constantly humid soil.
  • Give any type of light, but protect it from the strong summer sun: Snake plant has no preference when it comes to light conditions. Place it in a dark room or next to a window, in a garden or a balcony.
  • Place it indoor or outdoor: The biggest benefit of Sansevieria is that it doesn’t mind the sandstorms. It will survive equally well in an office or a windy balcony.

If you are a person who doesn’t have much time for plant care, then snake plant is for you. The more you forget about it, the longer it will live.

Watering in hot climates

Finding proper watering advice online can be really confusing, especially when someone lives in the desert, and has to deal with extremely hot weather conditions. 

To start with, think of plants as living things, like humans. Like humans, plants need more water in the summer, and even more if they stay outdoors and are exposed to sun.

To learn more about proper watering of different types of plants in the Middle East, book an online consultation or join one of our workshops. 

Fabric Grow Bags

Fabric Pots or Grow Bags are – as the name suggests – pots made of fabric. 

In the Middle East, where overwatering is reason number one for indoor plants dying, fabric pots can offer a great way to avoid having your plants sitting in water. 

When the time comes to repot your plants, place them in a fabric pot and then in your decorative containers. When you water, let the excess water come out, and then throw it away. 

Even if your plant hasn’t been planted properly in its fabric pot, there is no chance that the bottom of the pot will be full of water for a prolonged period. 

Fabric pots allow better drainage and root aeration, to avoid root rot. 

In the case of gardens, the existing soil in the Middle East is usually too rocky and not of the best quality, so it is recommended to change soil or plant your greenery in containers or raised beds. Fabric grow bags offer a great alternative to raised beds, as there is no need for all the construction and setting up. 

We haven’t found a wide choice of fabric pots available in Qatar, so we asked www.onomoo.com to bring in some pots and supply them to our customers at our regular 10% discount by using the code VICKY10. The quantity is limited and they are available at this link https://www.onomoo.com/product/fabric-grow-bag/?fbclid=IwAR1xP58xNwA3fHJsZ2x60fiUp1zk5ETyddg7e12fdW0kfM7ZlRNaSmO9B-o

Happy gardening! 

Vicky and Sara 

Gardening supplies and suppliers in Qatar

As many people are asking where to find various gardening supplies in Qatar, we have compiled a list of the places that supply plants, pots and tools, and included their contact details and location links. Click on this link to view the full list:


Please comment below if you are a supplier and you would like to make some edit or add more information to your details. Also, anyone is welcome to comment and add a great supplier that has been missed out! 🙂

Stay safe and keep gardening!

Sara and Vicky

Success Story – Garden Revival

We all like success stories, so in this blog post I would like to share with you the story of Mayte, a very new gardener.

Mayte contacted me last February, asking for help with her garden. 

She had a big area around her house, that she would occasionally water and that was it about her gardening experience. Like many new gardeners, she was concerned about trimming or removing the weed, as she was worried that the plants would suffer. 

Mayte had been looking into getting plants for a while and a week before she had contacted me, a plant lover she knew was moving out to place without a garden and she had donated her some of her plants. 

Most of the plants were uprooted and placed into bags and they had been left there for around a week, as the gardener of her compound was too busy to plant them. 

Here are some pictures of the plants that she had got:  

Mayte was really concerned, as she didn’t have experience about gardening, but she could tell that the plants were dying. 

I went to her place the next day and started planting and explaining all the gardening basics at the same time; how to mix the soil, the place each plant prefers, how to plant properly, how to care for the plants after everything is finished. The best part of this one-to-one workshop/ gardening revival was that Mayte was very careful and kept in her mind everything we said! 

Here are some pictures from her plants before and after our workshop.  

And here is a picture from her garden just today! 

Mayte’s garden 2 months after our workshop

Looks like a miracle, right? 

But the reality is that this “miracle” didn’t happen overnight. Mayte committed to her garden, identified she needed help and then she followed all the advice she got, to start her gardening trip.