Creating an Italian-themed backyard or garden? These top 11 traditional Italian flowers are a must-have in any Italian inspired garden.
We share advice about each Italian flower, so you know which ones to choose, where and how to plant them in your garden.
Top 11 traditional Italian flowers you need in your garden
Italy brings to mind images of the Mediterranean, sunshine, and flowers. There is actually a long-standing tradition of flower-gifting in European countries. This dates all the way back to the Roman Empire during the rule of Titus.
With that said, here are some traditional Italian flowers and the reasons for their popularity.
The Italian Bluebell is a spring-flowering plant that belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It has a leafless stem and dense, violet-blue star-shaped flowers. Native to the Mediterranean, its flowering period spans from February to May.
It is easy to see why this plant has earned its name. The flowers tend to bloom downwards and resemble hanging bells. Single base steam typically has five to six small flowers but possibly more.
You will find this plant in olive groves, stony meadows, and forest clearings. The ornamental plant has received the distinction of the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
This ornamental flower has quite a unique appearance. It is easy to grow, which makes it even more popular. Native to South America, the vines can grow as tall as 40 feet!
While you may not think of it as a traditional Italian flower, the Bougainvillea is commonly seen covering gates or walls. It adds to the romantic and historic appeal of many structures in Italy. The heat of the country is conducive to growing this plant. It is also a hardy plant that is second only to the lemon tree as the most prolific in the Amalfi Coast. However, be careful as the thorns can hurt you.
Alpine Pasque Flower
Also known as Pulsatilla Alpine, this flowering plant has nodding or upright blooms on short stems. The Alpine Pasque Flower blooms in spring and early summer. It is gorgeous to see the contrast between the white flowers and feathery yellow seed heads.
Its ferny and silky basal foliage stays attractive during the growing season. This plant thrives in rock gardens, alpine beds, and border fronts. If you want to grow it, keep in mind that it does best in well-drained soil and full sun exposure.
Also known as Nerium, the Oleander is a dense and fast-growing evergreen shrub. There are purple, pink, and red varieties of it. The five-lobed flowers are typically grown in warm subtropical and temperate regions.
This is an ideal plant for beginner growers as it can grow even without much care. However, keep in mind that it is poisonous. It is toxic not just to pets but to humans as well! While it is pretty, make sure not to ingest any part of it. Burning the prunings will also lead to irritation.
The Cornflower, also known as bachelor’s button, is a weed that typically grows in cornfields and other fields. Despite this, it is impossible to deny that it is a gorgeous bloom. In Italy, it goes by the name Fiordaliso.
This flower is characterized by its lovely florets, which are adorned by small gray-green leaves. Aside from being an ornamental plant, it is known to function as a seed contaminant as well. It is commonly seen in bouquets both in its fresh or dried form. Its blue, white, and pink flower heads are good at attracting butterflies too.
In autumn, it is not hard to find Crocus in Italy. These wildflowers are typically cultivated for saffron, which comes from its stigma. It is distinctive for its broad cup-shaped opening and narrow bottom. On the other hand, the leaves look similar to grass.
Crocus etruscus, also known as Tuscan Corcus, is endemic to the Central Tuscany woodlands. The lilac flowers have purple veining, but the orange stigmas typically appear in spring. While the plant is “near-threatened,” it is cultivated as well.
The Cyclamen is a perennial flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region. This flower can grow in scrubland, woodlands, and rocky areas. In order to thrive, this plant requires well-drained soil.
Unlike some of the other flowers on the list, it prefers colder temperatures. The cyclamen goes dormant in the summer for this reason. It earned the nickname sowbread flower because farmers used to feed its tubers to pigs. The panels’ arrangement can be compared to the wings of butterflies.
Another well-known traditional Italian flower, there are many different varieties of Jasmine out there. The Italian Jasmine is cultivated widely in Sicily, where it thrives due to sun exposure. This evergreen shrub belongs to the olive family and comes with golden-yellow flowers.
It is especially popular thanks to its pleasant fragrance. The shrubs can grow as tall as four meters high and three meters wide. If you want to cultivate them, make sure to provide support to accommodate its growth. They are often seen covering fences, pergolas, and walls. They bloom in late spring until mid-summer.
Flower lovers will be able to identify wild Violets that have heart-shaped leaves and purple-blue flowers. Also known as wild viola, you can instantly make your garden look cheerier by having it around.
It is so interesting that the flowers don’t open but make and store seeds to let the plant reproduce with ease. All in all, these violet blooms do not need a lot of care. However, you have to be careful as the flowers can become invasive. On the bright side, the flowers and leaves are both edible!
This is a flower that goes by many names. It is also known as Rose Periwinkle, Old Maid, Bright Eyes, Pink Periwinkle, Cape Periwinkle, and Catharanthus Rose. Italian also has other nicknames for it such as Hundred Eyes, Centracchio, and the Flower of Death.
The bright flowers of this plant are more than just eye candy in Italy. However, it symbolizes death which is why Periwinkle garlands are used to honor missing or dead children.
Known for its vivid blue flowers, the Spring Gentian is often tucked away in the short grass that covers stony mountains and hillsides. While they are not always easy to spot, the deep blue blooms are shop-stoppers once you notice them.
This plant does not normally grow taller than five to ten centimeters. These flowers typically bloom from April to July; the specific time frame depends on sunlight exposure and altitude. There is actually superstition that anyone who picks the blooms will be struck by lightning. We wonder if this belief has helped this rare wildflower thrive in the wild!
You can bask in the presence of many flowers year-round when you go to Italy. Luckily, you do not have to go to Europe just to enjoy them. If you live in a sunny area, you might even be able to cultivate traditional Italian flowers in your own garden!