There was no doubt, looking through the gallery of entries from last year’s RockStar Florists competition, that native flowers were proving once again to be very popular with the bride-to-be. All colours, shapes, sizes and textures were used to create some stunning floral designs, particularly native wedding bouquets.
Native flowers can also be used to create buttonholes, corsages, floral crowns, table arrangements and large scale floral installations. Their best quality would have to be that they are so hearty. So many brides usually fall in love with pretty delicate flowers that leave wedding florists like myself stressing at times in hot summer heat. But natives thrive in this environment.
I also feel generally people are being drawn to embracing their surroundings, looking after the environment and buying local. Many native flowers are Australian natives but you may be surprised to learn that many originate from South Africa. I’ve compiled a list of my top 15 native wedding flowers and why each is so unique and gorgeous.
1. Blushing Bride
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Okay, yes, my number one favourite native flower is from South Africa, I know not very Australian of me (I also don’t like Vegemite!), but I do love Blushing Bride. For me, not only does it have the perfect name for a wedding flower but it is the ‘prettiest’ of the native blooms. It is available in white and pink and it is a great smaller sized bloom. It can be mixed with traditional pretties, roses for example or it can be teamed with other striking blooms. It has a wonderful textured centre when in full bloom which is catching to the eye.
See how soft and pretty this sweet little flower can look teamed with dahlias, roses, spray roses, tuberose, lisianthus and seeded eucalyptus. Hues of pale pink, peach, mint green and ivory is so divine!
2. Flannel Flower
Another soft pretty native, this time Australian, is flannel flower. This bloom is not just soft in appearance, it is literally soft as its petals are like velvet. With the just picked from the garden style of bouquet becoming so popular, daisies have also seen an increase in popularity. Different to a daisy chrysanthemum though, flannel flower is a bit more relaxed in style and super cute.
It adds great texture to a bouquet and it goes really well with green and grey foliages. Botanic Art combines flannel flower here with white warratahs, cymbidium orchids, andromeda and soft grey blue gum foliage.
3. Everlasting Daisy
These cute-as-a-button little daisies are certainly on-trend. Great to use in bouquets, buttonholes and whimsical jam jar table arrangements. Everlasting daisy is originally Australian, although I have read that the colour range of pinks, whites, reds and oranges available today, were cultivated in Europe with yellow being the natural Australian.
They are also often referred to as paper daisy as their petals are dry and hard like paper, so much so that people can mistake them for being artificial. As the name suggests they do last really well so they are a great choice for wire work including flower crowns.
4. Billy Buttons
Following the whimsical vibe, billy buttons or billy balls add a delightful point of difference to any floral design. They come in bright yellow and can range in size. They can be used fresh or even when dried their colour holds fairly well. They have a long thin stem, so can be threaded through bouquets tightly or left wild and carefree like this example from Victoria Fitzgibbon.
Billy buttons also make for the most unusual and quirky buttonholes. Great for the gentlemen who would rather not want to wear a ‘pretty petal’ flower like a rose, these will do the job nicely, either on their own or mixed with other blooms and foliages.
5. Geraldton Wax
Like carnations, geraldton wax has at times had a less popular status. Perhaps viewed as a ‘common cheap filler flower’ but I think there is a lot to love about this little bloom. When viewed closely it is actually quite pretty with tiny little blooms of five petals and while it appears delicate it is anything but. Here it is used as a lovely display for aisle flowers which even in full sun will not wilt and look beautiful for ‘I do’s’.
It is also a fantastic choice for flower-girl crowns as it will withstand even the toughest conditions. Like being handled a lot as little girls play and take their crown on and off, on and off again! Even with the tight grip of a toddler, the little petals won’t bruise or brake. They are available in a range of colours, pinks, purples, white and yellows.
6. King Proteas
Seen in all the pages of bridal magazines at the moment, King proteas (South Africa) are a giant statement flower. You will need two hands to carry your bridal bouquet when walking down the aisle with a King protea bouquet. What a show stopper! They are available in white and pink and certainly stand out as the focal flower. Heart and Soul Flowers has created this beautiful bouquet with gerberas, flannel flowers, dusty miller and a pink King as the hero.
While Chiara Anne Floral Couture plays with the blooms large size and uses other large scale elements like eucalypt foliage to balance the design.
South African proteas are smaller in size then large King proteas but they are still an above average sized flower. They have a distinctive oval shape with the petals curving at the top around a textured centre. The petals are often soft and furry with many varieties having a beautiful black edge. The colour range of proteas is wide, ranging from soft creams and pastel pinks to dark reds. I love this soft palette bridal bouquet by Riverport Florist. By mixing pale pink proteas with flannel flower, blushing bride, geraldton wax and blue gum you can certainly see that a ‘pretty’ pastel native bouquet can be created.
For something bolder and more textured, try mixing the stronger, brightly coloured proteas with other striking textured blooms for a fantastic wild rustic design.
8. Eucalyptus Leaf
It is very on-trend at the moment to have swags of eucalyptus leaf running down long guest tables. The eucalyptus leaf, available at times depending on the season, can be seeded, which adds great texture to foliage garlands. Foliage garlands look so lovely on their own or with fresh blooms scattered through out.
To add a bit of texture and fresh fragrance, eucalyptus can also be added to your bridal party bouquets. There are many types of eucalyptus, with this variety having white gumnuts as a feature. This bouquet by Thrive Flowers & Events is full of texture with different types of foliage, bark and seed pods.
Banksias have an oval cone shape similar to a protea and their foliage is so interesting as it is variegated like it has been cut into a zig-zag pattern. Here, a few stems of banksia have been used as the bridal bouquet feature, complimented with blue-grey succulents and thistle. And for a pop of colour, billy buttons.
A grouping of red banksias is the feature in this bouquet by Blushing Blooms – Flowers by Sally Thompson. I love how the red colour is highlighted by the two toned leucadendrons.
11. Leucospermum (Pincushions)
I love South African pincushions for their unique texture and style. I am totally in love with these cute little pot arrangements of pincushions by Swallows Nest Farm. How stunning would these look on your guest tables or scattered through out your reception space?
This divine bouquet by That Little Flower Shop incorporates the most stunning and varied mix of blooms and textures. Deep velvet roses combine with burgundy cymbidium orchids and orange pincushions. Texture and interest is added with scabiosa pods and old mans beard. I love the way your eye dances around the design because there are so many beautiful aspects to look at.
Australian waratahs are another large hero native bloom. Florists buzz around these like bees at the markets when in season. And for good reason, they are big, bold and beautiful and last really well. Fantastic for corporate arrangements.
The colour range includes the well known and love red, but there is also a white which has tones of yellow and green and there is even a pink waratah. You can see both the red and pink variations in these lovely bouquets by Flowers by Marianne.
13. Kangaroo Paw
Nothing is more Australian than kangaroo paw. Found in yellows, oranges, purples, pink and reds, the long stem leads to a little flower bloom that is great for scattering through flower designs. My only complaint about this native flower is when I use it, it makes my hands and arms itch. I have no idea why, perhaps the fuzzy textured of the flower, but it’s the only flower I react to.
The florets of kangaroo paw have been used here by Sweet Pea Florist to frame a leucadendron buttonhole.
How lovely is Australian wattle foliage? It would add a burst of colour to any design, either used en mass in large scale designs or even the tiniest piece can be used in intricate wired designs.
The ever talented Julia from Wedding Flowers by Julia Rose shows us how it’s done using wattle foliage for this incredible floral cape.
15. Bottle Brush
And finally, Australian bottle brush is aptly named for its cylindrical shape with brush like feathery flowers. Mostly known for its bright red colour there is also a light yellow variety of bottle brush. These would be lovely scattered through a mixed native bouquet or as shown here, loosely gathered on their own.
So, as you can see from all these 15 beautiful native flowers, it’s no wonder the native trend has become so popular and it looks like it’s here to stay! Would you consider native wedding flowers? Do you have a favourite native flower? Writing this blog about all the amazing native flowers out there has certainly inspired me to get creating with these beauties.