17 Stunning French Flowers to Add to Your Garden

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A garden in the countryside in France with a variety of brightly colored French flowers.

French cities and countryside regions are well-known for their romantic charm. If you’d like to re-create some of that magic wherever you live in the world, adding French flowers to your garden is the perfect way to do just that. And you definitely don’t face a lack of options to choose from! 

Some of the most popular French flowers include:

  1. Iris
  2. Lily
  3. Rose
  4. Lily of the Valley
  5. Laveneder
  6. Pansy
  7. Rosemary
  8. Daffodil
  9. Poppy
  10. Jasmine
  11. French Peony
  12. French Lilac
  13. Daisy
  14. Marigold
  15. Chrysanthemum
  16. Gourdon flowers
  17. Nasturtium

Let’s take a closer look at these easy-to-grow and beautiful French flowers to help you decide which ones are right for your garden.

RELATED: Gladiolus is a striking flower that also brings a touch of old-world beauty. Visit our post on growing gladiolus to learn more!

1. Iris

A beautiful purple iris flower growing in a garden.
  • French name: Iris
  • Botanical name: Iris
  • Flower symbolism: Faith, courage, wisdom, hope and valor
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • USDA zone: 3-9

This striking beauty comes in many different colors, all bright and beautiful with a different meaning behind each one. The purple iris is the symbol of France as well as the national flower. The iris’s shape itself is synonymous with the fleur-de-lis, which associates with royalty in France. 

Iris is found in gardens all over France. It is popular for cut flowers because each stem will grow multiple blooms, making them perfect for bouquets and flower arrangements.

2. Lily

A field of lilies against a rural backdrop.
  • French name: Lis
  • Botanical name: Lilium
  • Flower symbolism: Purity, fertility, innocence, rebirth
  • Light needs: Full sun to light shade
  • USDA zone: 4-9

Another popular French flower is the lily, which comes in several different bright colors including yellow, orange, and white. Lilies are popular in gardens and flower arrangements, both in Paris and all over the world. The Stylized lily, which grows in abundance in Gourdon village as well as all parts of the country, is often mistaken as the national flower of France. However, that title rightfully belongs to the iris.

3. French Rose

Vibrant pink French roses grow in a city garden.
  • French name: La rose
  • Botanical name: Rosa gallica
  • Flower symbolism: Woman
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 3-11, depending on the variety

Native to southern Europe, the French rose has inspired many a gardener and artist, and they are among the most popular French garden flowers. Not only prized for their beauty and color, rose fragrance is also highly sought-after for making perfume. Different colors of rose also have different meanings, from red (love) to white (innocence).

4. Lily of the Valley

A closeup of the delicate blooms on a lily of the valley plant.
  • French name: Muguet
  • Botanical name: Convallaria majalis
  • Flower symbolism: Happiness
  • Light needs: Partial shade
  • USDA zone: 3-8

These French white flowers are the official flower of May Day, and they are a popular gift tradition in France. Seen as good luck, these tiny white sprays of flowers grow on small plants and smell divine, a perfect complement to other perennials that also prefer the shade. Just be careful handling these and wash your hands before eating- little beauties are toxic if eaten!

RELATED: Lily of the valley is just one of many lovely flowers with a bell shape– see my other favorite picks for more inspiration!

5. Lavender

Tufts of lavender plants growing in a garden.
  • French name: Lavande de provence
  • Botanical name: Lavandula
  • Flower symbolism: Serenity, silence, purity, calmness
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 5-9

Lavender is renowned for its relaxing scent that can help anyone unwind and sleep. This drought-resistant flower native to France will grow into a sea of royal purple, which looks great in any garden. It’s quite popular in Provence, where there are acres of fields of lavender that are absolutely breathtaking. Breathe it in and relax!

6. Pansy

A colorful assortment of pansies growing in a garden.
  • French name: Pensee
  • Botanical name: Viola
  • Flower symbolism: Loving feelings, consideration, free-thinking
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: Biennial 4-8, annual 8-11

Pansies are beautiful, colorful additions to any garden with showy blossoms that even bloom in the winter in some areas. According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, pansies as we know them originated in Iver, Buckinghamshire, England and inspired the romantic writings of William Shakespeare. Pansies may not have much fragrance to offer, but they make a great low-bloomer in any garden and are even edible!

7. Rosemary

A rosemary plant with lovely purple-blue flowers.
  • French name: Romarin
  • Botanical name: Salvia rosmarinus
  • Flower symbolism: Love, remembrance
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 6-10

According to the University of Illinois Extension, rosemary grows native in the Mediterranean as well as parts of France, and it can be grown in pots. It’s a great addition to any home with its tiny purple or blue blooms, plus it’s great for seasoning meals (like French cuisine)! The aroma of the shrub itself is remarkable and easy to identify.

RELATED: If you want a dramatic look in your flower garden, dahlias are a surefire bet. Learn how to grow stunning dahlias with our comprehensive growing post!

8. Daffodil

Yellow and white daffodils growing in a spring garden.
  • French name: Jonquille
  • Botanical name: Narcissus
  • Flower symbolism: New beginnings, rebirth, spring
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 3-9

This French garden flower has a unique look with its cup-like yellow or pink center and pointy petals in yellow, orange, pink or white. It’s popular in southern France and the Mediterranean where it grows in gardens and is used in springtime bouquets. Daffodils are easy to grow from bulbs and will regrow in the following years, with a single bloom on each stem. 

9. Poppy

A field of red poppies on an overcast day.
  • French name: Coquelicot
  • Botanical name: Papaver
  • Flower symbolism: Remembrance, consolation, reincarnation
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: Annual in zones 2-5, perennial in zones 6-10

The poppy is a bright red wildflower that’s found just about everywhere. A tradition of wearing poppies to honor fallen soldiers after World War I was started by Anna Guerin, a French humanitarian. It grows so wildly in France that some even consider it to be a weed! There are several varieties to choose from, all fairly easy to grow, even in poor soil.

10. Jasmine

White jasmine flowers growing in a garden on a bright sunny day.
  • French name: Jasmin
  • Botanical name: Jasminum
  • Flower symbolism: Purity, love, modesty, feminine power
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • USDA zone: 6-10

French white flowers like jasmine are beautiful and smell absolutely divine. It’s popular in southern France, where it’s grown for perfume and blooms almost year-round. Jasmine’s delicate, star-like blooms are used for their syrup and essential oil in addition to perfume and incense. Their stems are delicate, so they grow best when supported by a stake or trellis.

RELATED: Flowers that are beautiful and have health benefits? Yes, please! Learn how to grow butterfly pea flower.

11. French Peony

French peony flowers in a delicate pink color grow in an urban garden.
  • French name: Pivione
  • Botanical name: Paeonia la france
  • Flower symbolism: Good luck, prosperity, honor, love
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • USDA zone: 3-8

The French peony is rose-like with its layers upon layers of petals and in lovely colors, including white and pink. This is another great French garden flower, thanks to its fragrant double blooms and romantic colors. Found in southern France and the Mediterranean, the peony comes in several colors with different meanings from beauty to a happy life. 

12. French Lilac

A French lilac in bloom in a garden.
  • French name: Syringa vulgaris
  • Botanical name: Syringa vulgaris ‘French hybrid’
  • Flower symbolism: Purity, innocence, spirituality
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 4-8

French lilac is an eye-catching flower with stalks covered in tiny blooms, perfect as a cut flower in bouquets and dramatic in gardens. According to North Carolina State Extension, French lilac offers hundreds of varieties in color as well as single or double flowers, whose fragrance is strong and sweet.  It also may have some medicinal uses for conditions like diabetes and anti-aging, but the jury is still out- so stick to planting it in your garden for now!

13. Daisies

Daisies with white petals and yellow centers growing in a garden.
  • French name: Une marguerite
  • Botanical name: Bellis perennis
  • Flower symbolism: Purity, innocence, fertility
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 5-9

This French white flower is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face! In colors like yellow, red, white or pink, daisies close their blooms in the evenings and reopen in the morning, which is where “fresh as a daisy” comes from. These flowers grow as wildflowers in most of France, especially south France and the Alps. 

RELATED: Keep that lovely hibiscus healthy and thriving even during the cold winter months. Stop by our post on seasonal hibiscus care to learn more! 

14. Marigold

A French marigold growing in a garden.
  • French name: Souci
  • Botanical name: Tagetes
  • Flower symbolism: Light, power, strength, lost love
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • USDA zone: 2-11

Marigolds are bushy growing, aromatic blooms that originated in Central America but are now popular in France and French territories. It spreads easily and is a self-seeder, and marigolds are popular with birds and butterflies (they can also ward off hornworms from your tomato plants). This French garden flower also comes in multiple varieties and is edible (they’re quite tasty, I hear!).

15. Chrysanthemum

Red chrysanthemum flowers in a garden.
  • French name: Chrysantheme
  • Botanical name: Chrysanthemum
  • Flower symbolism: Life, death, rebirth
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 5-9

This flower native to France is a real show-stopper! These low, bushy flowers boast hundreds of blooms in many different colors in fall. It is the official flower of All Saints’ Day in France, but if you visit any friends or relatives in France, don’t offer chrysanthemums- they’re reserved only for funerals! 

16. Gourdon Flowers

Purple Gourdon flowers growing in a garden.
  • French name: Gourdon
  • Botanical name: Campanula raineri
  • Flower symbolism: Humility
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • USDA zone: 8-10

The Gourdon flowers are wildflowers originally found in Gourdon, France (hence the name!).  These little purple wonders now grow wild all over France. The beautiful cascading flowers are a striking color, one no other flower can quite match!

17. Nasturtium

Gold, orange and red nasturtiums growing along a garden fence.
  • French name: Capucines
  • Botanical name: Tropaeolum
  • Flower symbolism: Trophy, victory, power, patriotism
  • Light needs: Part sun, protect from heat
  • USDA zone: Annual in zones 2-8, perennial in zones 9-11

The nasturtium is a popular French garden flower that is also edible, albeit peppery like watercress. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, nasturtium comes in several shades of yellow, orange, red, and even cream and grows quite invasively in warmer climates. They’re popular in Giverny, France- where even Monet grew them in his garden.

Frequently Asked Questions about French Flowers

Traditional French flowers include the iris, lily, lavender, lily of the valley, chrysanthemum, pansy, daisy, rose, daffodil, jasmine, nasturtium, rosemary, and Gourdon flower. They may not all be flowers native to France, but they all grow there quite happily.

Flowers are extremely popular in France! You’ll find them growing in great abundance all over France, and local markets offer a wide array of fresh-cut blooms to choose from.

The iris is most commonly associated with France, primarily because it is the national flower and symbolizes the fleur-de-lis (symbol of royalty).

Final Thoughts

French flowers are bursting with color and elegance, and they’re a beautiful addition to any garden. Whether you’re looking to add a hint of France to your garden in early spring or all the way through late summer, these flowers deliver beauty and joy the world over.

We’d love to hear from you! Are there any other French flowers you’d add to the list? Or maybe you have some special care tips to share? We learn best in a community, and your thoughts might be the answer to someone else’s question. So please feel free to share in the comments!

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  1. Hey Seeds and Spades. Just fyi, Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is listed as an invasive species in the state of Wisconsin. It is highly aggressive and easily spreads to the wild where it displaces native plant and wild flowers. Whenever planting non native plant species it is best to check with your state and make sure they are not listed as invasive before introducing them to the home garden. As for Lily of the Valley, it is best to use caution with it.

  2. What is a good seed for mass color in fall and winter in central New Jersey, I’m from Texas and not familiar with northern cold weather. Thank you, penny

  3. Hi Penny, I can’t speak from personal experience here- central New Jersey looks to be in zones 6 and 7, which is quite a bit milder than my climate in Northern Illinois. Nothing blooms for us in the deep freeze winters we get! Some suggestions I found are pansies in the fall (they may even bloom in the winter depending on which zone you fall into), hellebore, violets, mums, and winter jasmine. I hope that helps, and thanks for asking!

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