List of French Flowers You Can Grow in Your Garden
Interested in introducing some French flair to your garden? Here are 15 charming French flowers that will have you feeling like a true Parisian.
List of French flowers
- Provence French lavender
- Sweet iris
- French peony
- French lilac
- French hyacinth
- French single late tulip
- Red poppy
- Rose ‘La France’
- French perfume jasmine ‘Flora Plena’
- French marigold
- French daffodil
1. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the valley – muguet in French
Congratulations! May 1st is Fête du Muguet and it’s a time to celebrate the lilies of the valley. Originally started by King Charles IX, this holiday has become popular for men to give bouquets of these sweet smelling flowers out as an expression of love throughout France on May Day.
Lily-of-the-valley is an easy-to-grow shade loving perennial with such an unforgettable scent that you may want them in your garden too! Lily of the valley are spreads through rhizomes quite rapidly and will look beautiful in a shady area under the tree or in a container. You should remember though, that all parts of this plant are toxic – so be careful!
2. Provence French Lavender (Lavandula intermedia ‘Provence’)
Lavender – lavande in French
Have you ever dreamed of visiting fields of lavender in bloom in Provence? I do not know when you’ll have a chance to visit France, but how about bringing some Provence to your own backyard by planting French lavender?
Lavender is one of the most popular French plants. It has been used for centuries and is treasured for its delicate purple blooms and wonderful, soothing fragrance. As a member of the mint family, lavender prefers a nice sunny location with very well-drained soil. ‘Provence’ lavender is hardy in Zones 5 to 8 and grows 24 to 36 inches tall and wide.
3. Sweet Iris (Iris pallida)
Iris – iris in French
Sweet iris is so beautiful, so fragrant and at the same time the most forgiving plant I ever grew. I have its variegated variety and it’s thriving in my pond in the shade, as well as on the front of the house with south exposure. Just plant it – you won’t be disappointed.
Read related: How to plant iris bulbs?
Is it an iris or lily in the Fleur de Lis emblem?
There is often a controversy about which flower is depicted in the Fleur de Lis symbol of French monarchy: lily or iris.
This confusion occurs because in French, fleur means “flower” and lis means “’lily”, so many people assume it’s lily.
Some historians and naturalists disagree, though. Pierre Augustin Boissier de Sauvages (1756) argues that the fleur-de-lis is short for “flower of the river of Lis” where irises were growing in mass; “these irises have yellow flowers, which is not a typical feature of lilies but fleurs-de-lis. It was thus understandable that our kings, having to choose a symbolic image for what later became a coat of arms, set their minds on the iris, a flower that was common around their homes, and is also as beautiful as it was remarkable.”
So, the fleur de lis is a stylized version of the species Iris pseudacorus, or Iris florentina.
4. Lily (Lilium)
Lily – lis in French
Lilies come in a variety of colors, depending on your mood or preference: white if you want simplicity; pink to symbolize love; orange is perfect for weddings or birthdays, and yellow will make anyone happy! Like most bulbs, lilies need well-drained soil and sunlight to grow best.
5. French Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
Peony – pivoine in French
The most popular French peonies available for the grower in the United States are creamy white Duchesse de Nemours and rose-pink Sarah Bernhardt. They are great for cutting and for adding some color to perennial borders. These herbaceous perennials are easy to grow and flower in the late spring – early summer. Be sure to plant them where they’ll get 6 or more hours of sun each day.
6. French Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Lilac – lilas in French
Hardy and adaptable French lilacs are large shrubs that look beautiful when planted in groupings near the fence, or as a stand alone specimen. French lilac when established can tolerate drought and poor soil, just avoid planting it in wet areas.
French flowers are perfect plants:
- they look beautiful,
- smell amazing,
- easy to grow and not fussy,
- make excellent gifts or bouquets.
7. French Hyacinth (Hyacinthus)
Hyacinth – Jacinthe in French
French perfume hyacinths are delicate. They have thin stalks and leaves in comparison with Dutch varieties, they bloom earlier too; if you live south of the US, you may be able to smell their sweet fragrance by late January!
8. French Single Late Tulip (Tulipa)
Tulip – tulipe in French
French single late tulips are known for their hardiness, sturdy long stems and distinctive oval-shaped blooms, which makes them perfect for cutting flowers. They bloom in May and their mature height is 20-27″.
You can grow French tulips in zones 3-8. They will provide a burst of color to any garden, and they don’t require much care or watering! In the North, you should plant them in full sun; if your climate is warmer than zone 8 (which includes Florida), then try planting them where there’s partial shade so that they won’t wilt on hot days.
9. Red Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
Poppy – coquelicot, pavot in French
The Common Poppy, also known as corn poppy, is a native wild French flower. It’s so common in France, that it can be considered a weed. Corn poppies are reseeding annuals and they grow very easily if you have an area of your property where you let flowers to reseed themselves. You even can create the perfect “French meadow”. Sow red poppies along with other popular field flowers like cornflowers, Gordon flowers, or daisies for beautiful displays all year long!
10. Pansy (Viola tricolor var. hortensis)
Pansy – pensée in French
Pansies symbolize remembrance. Its name comes from the French word pensée – “thought.” Pansies are very easy to grow in your garden or container, and will always greet you with cheerful bloom from early spring till late frost.
When planting pansies, it’s best to find a sunny spot. However – they’ll grow in partial shade too! If you live somewhere with moderate winter temps, your plants should be fine over the winter months as long as you mulch them and give their roots some protection from freezing cold temperatures. They reseed easily too!
When visiting your friends in France, NEVER present the hostess with chrysanthemums.
In France, as well as in some other European countries (Spain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Belgium) the chrysanthemums are associated with death, and are used only for funerals or taken to cemeteries to decorate tombs each year on November 1 during a Catholic holiday Toussaint (All Saints Day) in order to pay respect to deceased relatives.
11. Rose La France
Rose – rose in French
Rose “La France” is considered to be the first hybrid tea rose. Preferred by florists for its long stems and elongated pointed silvery-pink buds, this very fragrant rose blooms profusely and repeatedly with light pink flowers. ‘La France’ rose bush can reach up to 5 feet tall and grows well in dry and warm climates.
12. French Perfume Jasmine ‘Flora Plena’ (Jasminum grandiflorum)
Jasmine – jasmin in French
This tolerant to a wide range of temperatures, semi evergreen vining jasmine is grown in the perfume fields of southern France, and is used as the source of jasmine fragrance for the perfume industry. It blooms with fragrant white double flowers almost year long and only stops during late winter.
“Flora Plena”jasmine is drought tolerant and not demanding. It looks marvelous paired with climbing roses or clematis.
Nasturtium – capucine In French
Nasturtium flowers resemble a hood (capuchon in French), this is how it got is french name – capucine. Its large round leaves and bright red, orange or yellow flowers look stunning in borders, as well as in containers or hanging baskets. You also can train nasturtium to climb if you want to. The best thing is that nasturtium requires minimal care, it will thrive even if you neglect it.
Nasturtium flowers are edible and have a strong peppery taste. The very young leaves are edible too and taste similar to watercress. Nasturtium buds can be pickled in vinegar and used as capers.
14. French Marigolds (Tagetes patula)
Marigold – souci in French
French marigold flowers are prolific bloomers. These easy to grow stocky bushy plants can be used in borders. They do not grow very tall (usually 8-18”) and if you let them reseed, they’ll come up next year to cheer you up with bright yellow, orange, and mahogany flowers.
15. French Daffodil (Narċis in Maltese)
Daffodil – jonquille in French
Daffodils are beautiful delicate spring flowers that are easy to grow and require very little maintenance. On top of that – they smell amazing! These deer resistant flowers will bloom in March – early May depending on the area where you live. Plant them along the path,l at the edge of a woodland or just sprinkle the bulbs throughout your garden beds – they will look lovely in any place. If you plant daffodil bulbs in fall, they will bloom beautifully in spring.
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Final thoughts on common French flowers you can grow in your garden
If you love the idea of bringing a little bit of France to your garden, these 15 beautiful French flowers should be on your list. (With a little planning, you can have an entire French garden right in your backyard😊).
From climbing roses and lavender to French marigolds and jasmine, there is something for everyone in this selection. Which one are you most interested in? Have any favorites from this list that I missed? Leave me a comment below!
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