11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing

11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing

Ah, Italy. Home to excellent food, beautiful countryside, the Renaissance, and so much more. Italy has so much diversity when it comes to its culture, it’s almost impossible to keep track of it all.

And one of those things that Italy is also known for, is its beautiful flowers.

The Italian peninsula is home to a massive range of flowers, both native to the area, and that have made their home there since they were brought from other countries and parts of the world.

In this guide, we will show you just a small taste of the flowers on offer that are a part of traditional Italian flower culture and beauty. You might be surprised just how many flowers call this wonderful country home!

LilyOpens in a new tab.

For the start of our list, we’re taking a look at one of Italy’s most beloved flowers, the Lily.

Grown across most of the Northern Hemisphere, the plant is popular across the world, but has a special connection to the areas in and around the Italian peninsulas.

It is a popular perennial flower that can grow up to 6 feet tall, and a popular for its ability to grow back from its bulbs years after planting.

The flower is tied to Italy because of its associations with images of the Virgin Mary, especially at the time of the Annunciation of Christ, when the Angel Gabriel informed her that she would carry and birth the Son of God.

Because of this, the lily would become associated with maidens and young women, as a sign of purity, chastity, and youth.

Many paintings of young women during renaissance Italy would have them depicted holding or being near roses. It’s also a popular bouquet flower at weddings for this same reason.

RoseOpens in a new tab.

A symbol of love, romance, and passion across the world, and is grown across the world for this connection.

However, it is also very popular in and around Italy. That probably isn’t too surprising, given that the country is also widely known for being one of the most romantic places in the world. 

This plant is known for its woody stem, its beautiful flourish of petals that come in an array of shades and colors, and prickly thorn.

The rose thorn itself is almost as important as the amazing flower. There’s a reason that the term ‘Every rose has a thorn’ is so popular, after all.

A red rose in Italy is a symbol of passionate love for another. Offering someone a red rose in Italy is probably one of the most romantic memories you can make on a visit to this little country.

White rose flowers are also a popular flower to give, especially as a symbol of purity and youth. Blue is also a popular color, especially amongst men, where the blue represents masculinity, but also the gentle and romantic heart inside as well.

SunflowerOpens in a new tab.

It’s tall. It’s yellow. It’s found all across the world, on its own and in great fields of them. That’s right, it’s the sunflower!

This little ray of sunshine that grows out of the grown is found all across the Northern Hemisphere, and especially across Northern Italy.

The flower head that makes it look just like a full sun at midday is iconic, even amongst the huge range of flowers that Italy is home to.

They’re probably some of the tallest common plants that you’ll find out there, standing at over 120 inches in some exceptional cases (that’s 3 meters for fans of the metric system out there).

Interestingly enough, sunflowers are not native to the region of Italy, even though they are one of the most popular flowers grown there.

They actually originate from Mexico and Southern North America, where production of both the flower and the seeds by native people has been going on for over 4000 years!

They were brought over to Europe by traders in the 16th century, and have since become a favorite flower across the continent.

This is especially true in Italy, where huge fields of sunflowers in the Tuscan countryside have become a part of the country’s iconography.

11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing - ORCHID
11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing – ORCHID

OrchidOpens in a new tab.

One of the most popular flowers in the world, it’s not too surprising that the orchid is also popular in a country that is almost synonymous with a love of flowers of all shapes, colors, and sizes.

The orchid is actually part of a massive family of flowering plants that are named after the orchid, known as Orchidaceae, which has over 25,000 species of flowers, and over 100,000 different variants and cultivars.

That’s a crowded family tree, to say the least! Almost all orchids are perennial plants and come in a massive range of different colors that can be given on pretty much any occasion. 

In Italy, an orchid is a symbol of both great wealth and luxury, as well as strength and loving affection. Giving someone an orchid, either by themselves or as part of a larger mixed flower basket, is a sign of the great love you have for them.

VioletsOpens in a new tab.

When it comes to purple flowers, it’s hard to get more iconic than the beautiful violet flower.

Violets are found pretty much across the entire Northern Hemisphere, like many other plants on this list, and have been a favorite of many peoples for hundreds of years, even before they were officially identified in the 18th century.

They are perennial flowers that tend not to grow too big, with the largest examples of growing to a few feet in height.

The violet has been grown in Italy for centuries, as is part of the rich horticultural tradition that Italy is known for in Europe.

Southern Europe, and especially the Italian peninsula, is a hotspot for violet diversity and variations. This is just one of many reasons that violets are loved in Italy, even if it is not as iconic as the rose or sunflower.

CornflowerOpens in a new tab.

If you’re looking for a more underrated flower that is also considered a classic in Italy, then you should consider using or growing some cornflowers. They are a popular flower in Russia and North America and originated from many parts of Central and Southern Europe.

They are a small annually flowering plant, very rarely growing more than a few feet tall, with a bright plume of violet-bluish-purple petals that have made them so iconic.

Aside from being named after a popular shade of blue, they are also a popular flower to paint and draw amongst artists.

Cornflowers are also a plant that used to be popular in Italy and across Europe but eventually came to be seen as a pest and invasive plant species.

This was mainly because it grew in the same soil and weather conditions as many types of grain crops. As agriculture was one of the biggest industries in Italy, especially in the more rural north, it fell out of popularity for centuries.

However, many countries across Europe, including Italy, have begun to adopt this beautiful little flower as part of their heritage again.

ButtercupOpens in a new tab.

For another staple of flower culture in Europe, let’s look at the buttercup. This adorable little flower is grown all across Asia, North America, as well as across Europe too.

They usually come as a perennial plant, but they can also come in annual variations too, though almost all tend to have fairly short life cycles. Although many species grow on land, there are a few aquatic variations of buttercup that have been found in the wild as well.

Buttercups have long been a popular flower in Southern Europe, since they were introduced from Asia, as the warm climate, and access to water in many parts of Europe is ideal for them to grow in. They come in a whole array of different colors, from yellow to orange, to purple to red.

MimosaOpens in a new tab.

For a flower that also grows as a tree, we’ll take a look at the beautiful, towering mimosa flower tree. Probably one of the biggest plants on this list, being able to reach a height of up to 25 feet (or 8 meters in metric), the mimosa genus of flowers are widely grown across South and Central America.

11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing - MIMOSA
11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing – MIMOSA

This means that the flower is not a native of Italy, but has since been grown there, usually as a very popular ornamental house or garden plant.

Although the Mimosa isn’t as popular or as well known as other flowers in history, they have been an important part of special Italian holidays or special events.

Since the 1950s, one of the events they are given for is International Women’s Day (Which is the 5th of March, for those interested), where they are given either on their own, as part of a basket, or even as part of the trees that they grow on as well.

CarnationsOpens in a new tab.

For a native of the European Mediterranean flora, we turn to the beautiful carnation. This beautiful flower has been popular in the area for thousands of years, and wildflowers of this species are still found across Italy, Croatia, and Greece.

We know as much because the carnation flower appears in Ancient Greek literature. Now that’s old!

This flower very rarely gets taller than 3 feet tall, usually hovering around 31 inches in height in most cases. They tend to come in shades of purple and pink but are also known to be found in red blue, white, and yellow varieties too.

The carnation is a classic Italian flower that has come to symbolize the love a person has for their other, although they are certainly more of an old-fashioned plant, as this tradition and symbolism are more common in older generations of Italians.

They were a popular flower to be given and used at weddings and anniversaries, and have stayed a part of these customs thanks to the traditional imagery that they represent.

JasmineOpens in a new tab.

The Jasmine is probably the most surprising flower for people to learn is a classic Italian flower. Indeed, it isn’t the typical climate for this plant in the Mediterranean, as the plant is usually found in countries and climates that are in the tropics or subtropical regions.

Still, they have become a core part of Italian flower culture, and are just at home there as they are in Asia, where most species of Jasmine are found.

The jasmine flower is a more drooping type of plant than most other flowers on this list and can form huge curtains of vines, leaves, and flowers that can grow tens of feet long if given the chance.

The flowers of this plant are typically small and white, although they have been known to grow in shades of yellow and light red, and grow in clusters of three across the plant.

The plant was brought over from Middle Eastern gardens to the Northern side of the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages and has since been adopted into classic Italian floral imagery.

Now, they are as much a part of Italy’s heritage as lilies, roses, and sunflowers. It was also grown for use in herbal medicine across the Italian peninsula as well, further cementing its popularity in the region.

11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing - BOUGAINVILLEA
11 Beautiful Traditional Italian Flowers You Should Try Growing – BOUGAINVILLEA

BougainvilleaOpens in a new tab.

This fast-growing flower is another popular plant that is grown all across Italy, despite not originally coming from the region.

The bougainvillea is a shrub that originally grew all across South America, from Peru to Brazil to Columbia, to Argentina.

They were brought over from the New World back to Europe during the original age of colonization by Spanish conquerors and explorers and became popular in many warmer European countries where reliable rainfall can sustain their evergreen leaves,

including Italy, where they traditionally grow across massive archways as part of a climbing flower arrangement.

The Bougainvillea plant is interesting because the flowers are actually very small, very rarely growing more than a few inches wide, if that.

The main spectacle of the plant are the bracts of leaves that grow around them, which grow in a huge range of colors, from purple to yellow, to orange, and even a pinkish red.


So, there are plenty of flowers to choose from when it comes to deciding what flowers you want to give to someone you care about, or to grow for yourself.

There are plenty of colors and shapes here for you to decide from for all sorts of occasions, but don’t let that stop you from doing even more research. There are plenty that we didn’t even get a chance to mention, much less talk about.

We hope you explore all the possibilities that you can find when it comes to picking your flower from this wonderful country.


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