While France is known for its outstanding wines, tasty fromage, and superb sense of style in both fashion and décor trends, it should not go unnoticed that the majority of the landscape makes it particularly favorable for growing some magnificent floral varieties that can be enjoyed both in the field and in the vase.
Today I have compile a collection of 12 French Flowers – one for each month of the year – that you can incorporate into your garden or décor here stateside. While they aren’t all necessarily “indigenous” to France, they can all be commonly found growing abundantly in the country making them ideal choices for French inspired gardens or décor. Keep in mind that if you plan to GROW these flowers, planting season will vary by climate zone and the chart below indicates peak BLOOMING season, not planting season. If you are looking to purchase these flowers cut or potted for decor arrangements, use the chart to choose which month you will be most likely to find the best selection of each given flower.
Print my chart at the bottom for easy reference throughout the year.
January – Galanthus Snowdrops
Galanthus means “milk white flower” and snowdrops are known for their early arrival, often poking their heads out of the snow (hence the name), In southern areas, they will often bloom all winter long. These look gorgeous in rock trimmed gardens and along natural paths.
February – Daffodils
Bright yellow daffodils are a wonderful sign that Spring is soon to come. Bulbs planted in the fall will bloom in late winter or early Spring. While they prefer to grow outdoors, blooms may be forced in indoor pots, and their flowers are ideal for cutting.
March – Purple Iris
One of my favorite varieties, and a classic French garden and field flower is the purple iris. Varying in height from 8 inches to 5 feet, the iris blooms in Spring to early summer and look beautiful bordering gardens and in urns and other large outdoor planters. Once they start to bloom, they will last 2-3 weeks. These are gorgeous in a tall, slim vase alone or with a little bright greenery for contrast.
April – Lily of the Valley
Like tiny little fairy hats, the Lily of the Valley’s bell shaped flowers dangle in chains of 12 or more blooms from a single stalk and are an icon synonymous with Spring. While beautifully fragrant, keep in mind that these little gems are unfortunately poisonous and should be kept from children and pets.
May – French Tulips
My birthday falls at the end of May and my husband always sends me a gorgeous floral arrangement from our favorite florist in Houston – Lexis Florist – and one of my favorite parts of their gorgeous Spring arrangements is the long, graceful French tulips they incorporate into their bouquets. French tulips are among the largest and most beautiful varieties in the tulip family, but also tend to be a bit lazy and late to the party. Plant bulbs in late Summer to early Fall for blooms around Mother’s Day. Be sure to check out THIS Article about ways to help your fresh cut tulips last.
June – Lavender
No French inspired home is complete without French Lavender either in the garden, in a pot, dried in the home, or all of the above. Lavender blooms from Spring to frost and its lovely scent will fragrant your garden and home for months. Keep growth pruned after season to prevent unruly plants and they’ll come back year after year. Visit my article about French Dried Lavender by Melissa for more details on using dried lavender in your home.
July – Red Poppies
Poppy fields aren’t just a thing of fairy tales and the Wizard of Oz, they’re a common, freely growing wonder in France. Red poppies are also a natural symbol of patriotism, commemorating soldiers who have died in war, and referenced in the poem “In Flanders Fields,” making July the perfect month to appreciate them. Seeds planted early Spring will bring summer blooms.
August – Alliume
Allium is a classic French garden flower, but did you know it’s actually an ornamental onion plant? These easy to grow bulbs come in almost 700 varieties worldwide and a multitude of colors and styles to choose from. They make excellent cut flowers in your home as well. My favorite variety is the giant Gladiator allium growing up to about 4 ft tall with globes about 6-8 inches in diameter. Plant bulbs ONLY in the fall for blooms in late summer the next year.
September – Dahlias
With a vast variety of colors, shapes and sizes, Dahlias are an excellent garden flower for landscape borders and pots and are gorgeous bright additions to bouquets and flower arrangements. I just love their sweet pillowy buttons of color. Most often grown from seedlings and cuttings, dahlias can be grown from seed or young plantings in the Spring for mid to late Summer maturity.
October – Cannas
Cannas are an easy, bold addition to your landscape that can add bulk and bursts of color to your garden as well as your flower arrangements. Generally grown from the “rhizome” or underground stem, plantings in early summer with lots of water yield mature plants 3-6 feet tall depending on the variety with great Fall colors ranging from yellow-gold and orange to deep pinks and reds.
November – Mums
Can’t you just envision a Fall French open air market bursting with gorgeous bundles of mums? Mums make great container plants and are lovely additions to harvest themed displays with gourds and heirloom pumpkins. Planting in the Spring allows for better root cultivation and longer lasting plants through the Fall, and will improve chances for re-blooming the next year, but impulse purchases in Fall can expect a good season with at least 6 hours of sunlight and active watering at the base (not over the flower) to prevent disease.
December – L. Regale Lily
Another famous lily in France is the L. Regale with its beautiful bundle of fragrant trumpet flowers perfect for calling in the holiday season. Mature plants are generally in the 3-5 foot range, but can reach up to a magnificent 8 feet in height. Among the easiest lilies to grow, it can handle most soil types and is happy in both the ground or large pots. Smaller potted plants make lovely gifts and cut stems are dazzling when displayed with other seasonal greenery like evergreen sprigs and berries.
Be sure to print the above chart for easy reference, and enjoy a full year of gorgeous French inspired blooms in your garden and home!