Bring some French vibes into your garden. If you’re planning a traditional or a French country garden theme, then having native French flowers in your garden is a great start.
In this blog, I share a list of native French flowers and some information about them, including why they’re important to the French and how you should look after them.
List of French flowers
French perfume jasmine ‘Flora Plena’
French single late tulip
Provence French lavender
Rose ‘La France’
The French daffodil is a beautiful flower with a pleasant scent. When Daffodils are planting in a large bunch, you can notice the scent very easily however a single Daffodil on its own doesn’t have a powerful scent.
The Daffodil is grown from March to November, and the best time to plant their bulbs is in autumn so that they bloom come spring.
The French Daffodil grows well in direct light in a good soil especially clay mixed with a bit of sand. It doesn’t like soil that is too wet and requires moderate watering during summer. It doesn’t do well in climates that have a very cold winter. Note that all parts of the plant are toxic to humans and animals.
French Hyacinth is a perennial favorite that has white, light blue or pink flowers on slim stems. There are usually a few stems for each bulb. The French Hyacinth is different to the more common Dutch Hyacinth in that it doesn’t need the winter chill to grow well. This makes it a great variety to plant if you live in a warmer climate!
Unusually, the French Lilac only blooms for 7 to 10 days each year in late spring. While it might not seem worth all the effort, the perfume fragrance is unbelievable.
If you’re wanting to plant French Lilac in your French country garden, choose a cool spot with at least 6 hours of sunlight but if you’re in a warm location, then make sure it’s planted somewhere with afternoon shade to avoid the hottest part of the day.
Mulch around the plant and only water occasionally once the plant is established.
If you’re in the United States, French Lilac grows best in western U.S. locations. It is drought tolerant and can handle poor soil but doesn’t do well in wet locations.
Plant French Lilac in groupings as they make great large shrubs that look dramatic when grouped together. They also look great as a hedge.
It takes 3 to 4 years for the first blossoms, however you can buy lilac plants at your local nursery that are grown in containers if you don’t want to wait that long.
French Marigolds are an easy-to-grow plant that is popular in the summer because they love heat and bloom the entire season until the winter frost settles in.
The French Marigold is red, yellow and orange however other varieties can be a single color such as yellow or orange.
Their perfume is quite enticing! In fact, the petals from French Marigolds can be used in cooking. Chefs tend to use them in desserts, as they have a slight citrus flavor. They also pair well with chocolate, and make a great talking point as most people never think to eat Marigold!
If deer usually enter your garden, you’ll be pleased to know that French Marigold is deer-resistant.
French Marigold can be grown in most locations, and are drought-tolerant so a lack of rain is usually not an issue. They also grow well in containers.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the Valley is associated with the French celebrations on May Day, celebrated on May 1st. The tradition is for men to give a bouquet of Lily of the Valley to their girlfriend, fiancee or wife as a token of their love.
This tradition dates back to when King Charles IX received a sprig of Lily of the Valley (Le Muguet) as a token of good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. The King decided to give a sprig of the flowers to each of the ladies in his court, and continued to do this each year.
Today, this tradition continues, with families giving each other a bunch of Lily of the Valley on 1st May as a sign of good luck for the rest of the year. Families get up early in the morning to pick the flowers, and this is the only day of the year when it is legal for anyone to sell Lily of the Valley on the streets without paying taxes.
How to care for Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley has a beautifully strong scent and thrives in a partially shady area of your garden. They do particularly well planted under a tree or shrub that allows dappled sunlight to pass through. It can grow in full shade however doesn’t produce as many flowers.
Lily of the Valley grows in all soil types from clay to sand however keep the soil moist especially in summer.
Beware- this plant is toxic especially to animals, so if you have pets then keep the plant out of their reach!