Plant buying in France

Planning our move to France I am looking for some very special plants to either buy before we leave - or any tip where to buy ‘species’ plants by mail order or directly from nurseries will be greatly appreciated

looking for this one in particular - it was first bred in the Loire Valley, but I cannot find any french supplier

Hydrangea aspera subsp. sargentiana ‘La Fosse’

This company sells what (I think) you are looking for…

You will have a great time discovering Nurseries close to where you will be living - but mail order is also useful.

It does - thank you so much, I will now spend the afternoon putting together a ‘shopping’ wish list.
Unfortunately it looks like our move is now in September (originally we wanted to move much earlier) so I will have to wait to visit gardens and nurseries.
Never mind, its a big plot and I will have the autumn winter to plan the garden & plantings…

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You will probably find that there are Plant Fairs in your area. (they happen all over France) You will find they sell plants which thrive in “your” climate - some will be known to you and some may well be surprising - it’s always fun. Your Tourist Office will give you details of when these events occur.

IIRC it is illegal to import plants to France without the correct licence…

Not so Graham. Pre-brexit individual householders are allowed to bring in from EU countries most plants for their own use (some species are not allowed like chrysanths), same for seeds. What is not allowed are protected species, raw wood products and a couple of other specific things that are high risk for disease transmission.

However, it is not a good idea as all the recent plant diseases that are getting out of control can be traced back to plants being taken from one country to another. I went to a fascinating lecture about box moth and researchers have traced it coming from China to Germany, and then from Germany to Holland, and then from Holland it went all over. There were 5 specific outbreaks in France that started it here. And all this was within the horticultural industry that is supposed to have good controls on plant health!

We struggled with out local garden centres at first, so now we tend to go to plant fairs (foires des plantes rares) and specialist nurseries.

Think we prefer to buy locally anyway (as we do).


Within the EU plants with a ‘plant pass port’ from registered nurseries can be brought I imported apple trees from Germany to Scotland - grandpas favourite varieties which I could not buy locally. They are thriving, best apples ever! Gravensteiner and Red Boscop. I will try and get them again to plant in France. Local varieties are already in the garden, as is a Sloe and figs.
Love to get to garden in yet another country/continent.

Jane - where do you find out about specialist plant fairs and specialist nurseries. My french vocabulary does not yet stretch to online searches on specialist subjects…

Where are you going to be?ie which department? As I’ll dig out a link.

Charente/Limousin departments but willing to drive for the right plants or
garden visits…

If you look up pépiniéristes in the yellow or white pages you will get plant nurseries, if you also put in the plant you are after you will get the specialists.

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I intend to get a Bramley Apple tree in Autumn. I think there is a French nursery that does them.
I think the French equivalent of cooking apples are Canada Gris but I never see them in the supermarket.

We don’t really make that distinction! All reinette apples are good for cooking though - the one you mention (reinette grise du canada) is an English apple despite its name. It is called golden russet in English, I have one in my garden.

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We have planted an orchard since we bought our house.
We have thirty trees, including a Bramley, which is doing well.

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What you will need to do is keep an eye on various listings that will tell you of regional plant fairs, such as these

And regularly search for “foire des plantes limousin”. There are some running through to October, but the bulk of the most interesting plant fairs are april - june.

For apple trees I personally would go to a specialist apple nursery. You will find that many of the garden centres stock fruit trees that are grown in the Haute Savoie, like this one:

I don’t know about the Limousin, but as Vero says search your local directory to see if similar.

If you are interested in apple varieties, especially traditional regional and ancient varieties then see if there is a branch of the croquers in your patch. Like many people passionate about a subject our local group are fascinating people, and offer sessions on correct pruning, grafting apples and so on as well as advice on which varieties grow best locally.

Happy gardening!

Thank you ladies! This got me started on my folder - plant buying in France…
Once we have taken possession of our house I will do a plan for some changes in the garden (reduce a huge Bamboo, take down a conifer tree that interferes with electric supply etc) and spend the colder month planting some bare rooted trees & shrubs if I can find them. Spring will see me visit chateaux and public gardens & the neighbors to see what grows well in our area and adjust my wish list accordingly.
I see that there is a ‘yellow book’ garden scheme in France as well, so hopefully I can snoop around private gardens in the summer.

If any of you have exiting apple trees & which to turn one into a Bramely or even half a Bramley I can send you some scions to graft onto it. Bit to late now but early next year. You have to learn the various techniques to graft though.

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That’s interesting. Thank you . I’ll read up on grafting and let you know.

I’d love some, please.
Can you let me know nearer the time you intend to take them, I live grafting, an endless source of interest :blush:

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