15 Types of Plants in Spain

Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Clarisse Walters

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What Are the Native Plants of Spain?

Here is a list some of the unique native plants in Spain:

  • Lesser butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia)
  • Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera)
  • Oak tree (Quercus)
  • Silver broom (Adenocarpus decorticans)
  • Sandwort of Majorca (Arenaria grandiflora subsp. bolosii.)
  • The Balearic milkvetch (Astragalus balearicus)
  • Balearic boxwood (Buxus balearica)
  • Cornicabra o Terebinto (Pistacia terebinthus)
  • Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
  • Pine tree (Pinus)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

Spain is the second-largest country in southwestern Europe and is home to much stunning native flora and fauna that go as far as to attract tourists. The country experiences different climates, with the southern parts receiving warmer summers than the cooler regions in the north.

It also has varying landscapes. These differences in climate are the reasons behind the different flowers native to Spain. Many of these plants start growing in spring. 

Famous plants in Spain video tour

What Is a Famous Plant in Spain?

The red carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is a popular plant in Spain and also the country’s national flower. It is a part of popular Spanish traditions. They call it Clavel and it signifies love and affection between lovers. It also holds a vital religious meaning, especially in the passion of Christ. 

It is a flowering perennial that grows best in Southern Spain under the following conditions. 

  • It thrives best in well-drained soil with an alkaline pH of 7-8
  • It requires full sun for maximum blooming, but it can survive in partial shade
  • Under the right conditions, it attains a height of 12 to 18 inches and blooms in late spring, but it reblooms with care
Care Item Description
Light Carnations prefer bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
Water Water carnations consistently, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Avoid getting water on the foliage or blooms.
Soil Carnations prefer well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
Temperature Carnations prefer temperatures between 60-70°F (15-21°C). Avoid extreme heat or cold, and protect from strong winds or drafts.
Fertilizer Fertilize carnations every 2-4 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Follow package instructions for proper dosage.
Pests Watch out for common carnation pests such as aphids, spider mites, and thrips. If you notice any, take action immediately.
Propagation Carnations can be propagated by stem cuttings or by division of clumps.

How Many Plant Species Are in Spain?

It is hard to estimate how many plant species Spain has exactly, but the flora and fauna of Spain is very diverse, including a large variety of conifers, shrubs and herbs.

Spain also stands out among the countries with the highest number of single-nation endemics. In addition, Spain has the highest number of vascular plants among the European and Mediterranean countries, flaunting about 8000 to 9000 species of such plants.

The country is also one of the only 25 biodiversity hotspots globally due to its high endemism level. The mountainous regions host species like coniferous woodlands and beech trees, while you will find some species of beech trees and oak trees in the wet areas of the country. 

Spanish plants names and regional types

Each region in Spain is home to a specific type of plant

  • Lowland areas- chestnuts, ash trees, linden, hazelnuts, Marple trees
  • Mediterranean regions- myrtle, lavender, and laurel plants
  • Cooler and wet regions-beech and oak trees

Other species like the broom, fern, and heather are widespread. 

Types of cactus in Spain

Spanish cactus

In Spain there are many species but two of them are seen everywhere. The Spiny Chola C.spinosior (walking-stick) is a familiar sight.

Only slightly less ubiquitous is the Cane Cholla (C.imbricata) otherwise known as the ‘chain-link cactus’.

Care Item Description
Light Cacti prefer bright, direct sunlight. If growing indoors, place near a sunny window.
Water Water cacti sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
Soil Cacti prefer well-draining, sandy or gravelly soil. Avoid soil that is heavy or retains moisture.
Temperature Cacti prefer warm temperatures between 70-80°F (21-27°C). Avoid extreme cold, especially below 50°F (10°C).
Fertilizer Fertilize cacti every 4-6 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Follow package instructions for proper dosage. Do not fertilize during winter dormancy.
Pests Watch out for common cactus pests such as scale insects and mealybugs. If you notice any, take action immediately.
Propagation Cacti can be propagated by stem cuttings or by division of clumps. Some species can also be propagated from seeds.

Types of Spanish Plants

If you love nature and the outdoors, especially exploring plants, Spain has a lot to offer you. The country boasts various unique types of plants, some of which you cannot find in other parts of the world.

Key Takeaway: The varying climates and landscapes across the country allow a wide range of plant species to flourish. Many native Spanish flowers are global favorites and known throughout the world.

The following are some types of Spanish plants.

1.    Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)

Spanish plant species with red flowers - Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea – one of the most beautiful plants in Spain

It is an evergreen climbing shrub that produces small white flowers surrounded by prominent pink bracts. The bracts come out orange but turn bold pink with a hint of purple as they mature, which gives it a bicolor appearance. The stems have sharp clad that bear the flowers and small sharp-pointed leaves. 

The following are care tips and facts about Bougainvillea glabra.

  • It thrives in moist, well-drained acidic or neutral loam or sand and appreciates full sun exposure
  • It requires low maintenance and low watering 
  • It is ideal for wall borders, ground cover in banks, and rocky gardens. It can also grow in containers and large baskets with special care
  • It is showy, tolerant to deer, drought, and salty conditions but attracts birds and hummingbirds
  • It blossoms all year round from spring, summer, winter, and fall.
Care Item Description
Light Bougainvilleas prefer full sun and can tolerate some direct sunlight. Avoid shade or low light conditions.
Water Water bougainvilleas deeply, then allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again. Do not over-water, which can lead to root rot.
Soil Bougainvilleas prefer well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. They also tolerate a wide range of soil types.
Temperature Bougainvilleas prefer warm temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). Avoid cold temperatures below 50°F (10°C).
Fertilizer Fertilize bougainvilleas every 2-4 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Follow package instructions for proper dosage.
Pests Watch out for common bougainvillea pests such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs. If you notice any, take action immediately.
Pruning Prune bougainvilleas regularly to maintain their shape and encourage new growth. Cut back shoots after they have flowered to promote reblooming.

2.    Bumble-Bee Ophrys (Ophyrs Bombyliflora)

Spanish flower species - bumble bee Ophrys
Bumble-bee Ophrys

It is a short grasslands herbaceous and stocky plant with rosette leaves near the ground. The flower has many wide-spaced petals. The sepals are furry and wing-like, and it has brown lip-like petals with yellow markings to make them resemble a bee. The flower goes to emitting a female bee scent to attract bees. 

Here are the growing and care requirements

  • For best results, plant it in spring or autumn in warmer climates 
  • It grows in well-drained alkaline soil but requires moisture to bloom
  • It prefers full sun but can survive partial to full shade in its natural habitat
  • It needs moderate watering
  • It is not easy to grow it outside 
  • If you manage to grow it successfully, please prune the dead leaves to allow for new ones to grow
  • It blooms in spring and summer, but in hot climates, its season is spring and winter
Care Item Description
Light Bumble-Bee Ophrys prefers full sun to partial shade. Avoid deep shade, which can reduce flowering.
Water Water Bumble-Bee Ophrys consistently, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Avoid getting water on the foliage or blooms.
Soil Bumble-Bee Ophrys prefers well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Avoid heavy or clay soils.
Temperature Bumble-Bee Ophrys prefers temperatures between 60-70°F (15-21°C). Avoid extreme heat or cold, and protect from strong winds or drafts.
Fertilizer Fertilize Bumble-Bee Ophrys every 2-4 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Follow package instructions for proper dosage.
Pests Watch out for common Bumble-Bee Ophrys pests such as aphids, spider mites, and thrips. If you notice any, take action immediately.
Propagation Bumble-Bee Ophrys can be propagated by division or by seed.

3.    Carnation

Spanish plant varieties - carnations thrive in Spain
Red Carnation, the national flower of Spain

Carnations generally symbolize distinction, love, and fascination. Red carnation, Clavel in Spanish, is the national flower in Spain, and it signifies affection and love between lovers. It is also an important symbol in Spanish traditions.

They use it as a religious symbol, like the passion of Christ. They are sometimes thought to be short-lived perennials, but you can enjoy their vibrant beauty and fragrance for several years if you take proper care of them.

 Do carnations grow on trees?

It’s a common misconception, but Carnations don’t grow on trees, even under Spanish conditions!

Carnations are easy to grow and maintain. The following are its growing conditions.

  • It requires excellently drained alkaline soil. You can add some lime to your soil if it is acidic to give your plant an energetic start
  • It flourishes in full sun or partial shade
  • It is drought-resistant and only needs more water in spring during the flowering period
  • It grows best in warm conditions, but too much heat will cause their wilting
  • It blooms in the late spring but has chances of reblooming

4.    Jasmine

Jasmine
Jasmine

Key Takeaway: It is an evergreen vine with broad leaves, and some species grow as shrubs in warm climates. It produces reddish-pink buds in winter that later open into start blossoms. They are also popular climbers in outdoor gardens. When growing jasmine as a houseplant, the ease of growing them varies with species.

Growing and caring for jasmines to bloom is not hard.

  • Jasmines grow well in direct sunlight in summer and moisture throughout the year
  • It thrives in well-drained peat potting mix; always ensure that the mix is slightly moist but avoid waterlogging
  • It needs weak liquid fertilizer throughout its growing season
Jasmine Care Sheet
Care Item Description
Light Prefer bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
Water Water consistently, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Avoid getting water on the foliage or blooms.
Soil Prefer well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
Temperature Prefer temperatures between 60-70°F (15-21°C). Avoid extreme heat or cold, and protect from strong winds or drafts.
Fertilizer Fertilize every 2-4 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Follow package instructions for proper dosage.
Pests Watch out for common pests such as aphids, spider mites, and thrips. If you notice any, take action immediately.
Propagation Can be propagated by stem cuttings or by division of clumps.

5.    Mandrake

Mandrakes purple flowers
Mandrake flowers in bloom

Mandrake has large wrinkled leaves that resemble tobacco leaves and a mature height of 2 to 6 inches. Flowers, which later form berries, appear at the center of the plant, which grows flat on the ground. You can also identify a mandrake from its roots which can grow up to 1 meter long and resemble a human finger. 

  • It grows well in USDA zones 6 to 8     
  • It thrives in rich, well-drained soil. Waterlogged or clay soil causes root rot
  • It can thrive and bloom in full sun or partial shade
  • Please avoid planting mandrake anywhere near kids or edible plants because it is toxic
Conditions Information
Sun Full sun to partial shade
Water Keep soil moist but not waterlogged
Soil Type Well-draining, rich soil
U.S. Growing Zones 6-10
Soil pH 6.0-7.0
Pests Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites
Propagation Seed, stem cuttings, root cuttings

6.    Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea)

Spanish plant - Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea)
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea) in natural habitat

 It is a tubular plant of the Mediterranean region that grows to a mature height of 20 to 40 cm, including flowering branches. It has long leaves with dark purple dots. It is famous for its nutritious, medicinal, and ornamental values. 

  • It performs best in full sun or partial shade
  • It can survive in all soil types but prefers most calcareous ones
  • It requires regular watering, up to 5 times a week in summer
  • You have to prune dry leaves and dead flowers to give room for others to grow
  • They are tolerant to weak frost
Conditions Information
Sun Bright, indirect light
Water Water sparingly and allow soil to dry out between waterings
Soil Type Well-draining potting mix
U.S. Growing Zones N/A (tropical plant)
Soil pH N/A
Pests Mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects
Propagation Division of offsets, keikis (baby plants) from the base of mature plants

7.    Pyramid Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis)

Spanish flower - Pyramid Orchid
Pyramid Orchid

It is a perennial plant that grows up to 1 foot tall in hardiness zones 5 to 9. It is found chiefly in grasslands with chalk, limestone, or calcareous dunes. Most people grow it for its edibility and medicinal value. 

Pyramid Orchid Care Sheet

Conditions Information
Sun Bright, indirect light
Water Water sparingly and allow soil to dry out between waterings
Soil Type Well-draining, chunky potting mix
U.S. Growing Zones N/A (tropical plant)
Soil pH N/A
Pests Mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects
Propagation Division of offsets, keikis (baby plants) from the base of mature plants, or by using the seeds produced in the inflorescences

8.    Sempervivum vicentei

Sempervivum succulent
Sempervivum succulent plant

It is a succulent native to Spain in Europe and Africa and has beautiful pointed leaves in a rosette arrangement. It is succulent and evergreen. 

  • It performs best in well-drained, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil and appreciates full sun exposure.
  • It attains a mature height of 6 to 12 inches and 6 to 18 inches wide.
  • It blooms in summer.

Sempervivum vicentei Care Sheet

Conditions Information
Sun Full sun to partial shade
Water Low water requirements, allow soil to dry out between waterings
Soil Type Well-draining, gritty soil
U.S. Growing Zones Zones 4-9
Soil pH 5.5-7.5
Pests Slugs and snails
Propagation Offsets from the mother plant or from leaf cuttings

9.    Stipa Gigantean

It is an ornamental grass commonly known as Spanish oats, giant oats, or giant needle grass. It grows up to 18 inches tall before starting to produce spikes of flowers. The plant requires minimal maintenance and watering. 

  • It flourishes in well-drained alkaline, acidic, or neutral soil and full sun
  • It is resistant to deer and drought
  • It blossoms in summer, fall, and winter and attracts birds

Stipa Gigantean Care Sheet

Conditions Information
Sun Full sun to partial shade
Water Low water requirements, allow soil to dry out between waterings
Soil Type Well-draining, gritty soil
U.S. Growing Zones Zones 4-9
Soil pH 6.0-7.5
Pests None of major concern
Propagation Division or from seed

10. Stipa tenacissima

Endemic spanish plants - feather grass
Stipa, also known as feather grass is common on the plains of Spain

It is a gorgeous and graceful ornamental grass with long silvery-green thread-like leaves. The green leaves turn brown towards fall. 

  • It grows best in moderately fertile, well-drained alkaline, acidic, or neutral soil and prefers full sun 
  • It has a mature size of 30 to 60cm in height and width
  • Caring for Stipa tenacissima is easy as it is a pest and diseases free
  • Its season of interest is from spring to fall

Stipa Tenacissima Care Sheet

Conditions Information
Sun Full sun to partial shade
Water Low water requirements, allow soil to dry out between waterings
Soil Type Well-draining, gritty soil
U.S. Growing Zones Zones 4-9
Soil pH 6.0-7.5
Pests None of major concern
Propagation Division or from seed

11. Sandwort of Majorca

Sandwort with white flowers

On of the lesser known plants indigenous to Spain, Sandwort is a strong perennial plant with luxurious green foliage that spreads to about 30 cms across.

Covered in pretty white flowers, it grows in many locations and is used to brighten up domestic gardens.

  • Prefers growing in rock gardens, on slopes or on big containers
  • Flowers in early spring with many white blooms
  • Prefers full sunshine and well-drained soil kept moist
  • Deer resistant and attracts lots of butterflies

Sandwort of Majorca Care Sheet

Conditions Information
Sun Full sun to partial shade
Water Moderate water requirements, water regularly but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings
Soil Type Well-draining, fertile soil
U.S. Growing Zones Zones 6-9
Soil pH 6.0-7.5
Pests None of major concern
Propagation Seed or division

12. Balearic milkvetch

Balearic milkvetch delicate pink petals

Balearic milkvetch is a Spanish autochthonous plant, an endemic species of the Balearic Islands. It grows pink and white flowers.

  • Prefers limy soils
  • Dangerous to livestock and can be lethal if too much is eaten

Balearic Milkvetch Care Sheet

Conditions Information
Sun Full sun
Water Low water requirements, allow soil to dry out between waterings
Soil Type Well-draining, rocky soil
U.S. Growing Zones Zones 7-9
Soil pH 6.0-7.5
Pests None of major concern
Propagation Seed or division

12. Silver broom

Silver broom with other flowers

Endemic to many parts of the mainland of Spain, this plant is toxic to both humans and animals. Keep animals well away id used in your garden.

Soil CharacteristicsPrefers a well-drained loamy soil
Soil pH Can handle neutral, alkaline or acid type soils
When does it flower?Blooms appear in the Spring and summer months
Flower ColorYellow, white, red, orange, purple
Best silver broom growing conditions

13. Spanish Bluebells

Spanish Bluebells grow wild in Spain

Spanish bluebells are local to Spain as well as many European countries. Although producing delicate blue flowers these plants are robust and can thrive in almost any type of soil.

It’s common to come across carpets of Bluebells on the forest floor in many countries, where they love the partially sunny conditions created by trees. Very easy to grow from bulbs in the garden and will spread.

SunshineLikes full sun, but can grow well in partial sunshine
Soil ConditionsPrefers well-drained soils, but keep the soil moist
Soil (pH)All soils can be used – acidic, alkaline or acidic
When does it flower?Pretty blues hanging flowers bloom in the Spring
What color are the flowers?Mostly blues, but sometimes white
How best to grow Spanish Bluebells

14. Valencia Red Rose

Valencia Red Rose vivid crimson petal

The Rosa ‘Valencia’ is a type of ‘Tea rose’ producing large red flowers. Also known as Rosa Koreklia, it’s a regional Spanish shrub and can flower on in Spring, again in Summer and yet again in Autumn – great for a splash of color in the garden all year-round!

This kind of Rose should be pruned back after the winter to make way for the new Spring growth.

SunLikes a sunny spot in moist soil
Soil TypesPrefers well-drained soils
Soil (pH)Prefers sandy soils with neutral pH
When does it flower?Spring, Summer and Autumn
What color are the flowers?Deep red
Valencia Red Rose growing conditions

15. Gazania Flowers

Gazania Flowers - white, orange, pink

Gazania Flowers are a domestic favorite because of their large daisy-like flowers in various colors.

In colder climates they may last for just one year, but warmer climates such as found in Spain and other Southern European countries encourage perennial growth.

Sun conditionsLikes full sunshine
Soil TypesSoil should be sandy and well-drained
Soil (pH)Acidic or neutral is best
When does it flower?Spring and Summer
What color are the flowers?Orange, Red, Pink, White, Yellow
How to grow Gazania Flowers

Video Summary

Just a few of the flowers and plants indigenous to the country of Spain

Favorite Spanish Native Plants Summary

Common name Botanical name Blooming
BougainvilleaBougainvillea glabraIt blooms from November to May 
Carnations Dianthus caryophyllusIt blossoms in spring 
Mandrake Mandragora officinarumMandrake flowers in spring
Hens and Chicks Sempervivum vicenteiIt is a short bloomer that displays flowers from mid to late summer
Jasmine JasminumIt displays blossoms in spring and summer 
Table with the 5 most common plants in Spain

References for further information about the plants mentioned in this post

Infographic: Types of Spanish Plants

Infographic - 5 common plants in Spain
Types of Spanish Plants

Native Spanish trees

Related FAQ:

What animals live in Spain?

Common animals include:

  • Iberian magpie
  • Cantabrian brown bear
  • Eurasian Beaver
  • Spanish Ibex
  • Iberian Lynx
  • Red squirrel
  • Iberian Wolf
  • European Mink
  • Mediterranean monk seal
  • Little owl
  • Common Genet
  • Golden Eagle
  • European mole

Does Spain have a national flower?

The National flower of Spain is the deep red Carnation. These plants grow everywhere in the country and represent the deep passion for life shared by the Spanish people

What flowers are popular in Spain?

  • The Valencia Red Rose
  • Red Carnation
  • Water Lilies
  • Poppies
  • Geraniums
  • Gazania

What are the pink flowers in Spain called?

The Carnation is the National Flower of Spain and it also grows Pink blooms.

Carnations also come in pink

Other resources related to Spanish plants:

Native Plants in Spain – Garden Guides

Plants of spain. Spanish plants and fauna … – Idealspain

10 Beautiful Flowers of Spain You Can Grow Locally – Garden

Animals & Plants in Spain – Sciencing

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