Making flower bouquets more sustainable

Let’s take a moment to smell the roses and talk about something not so rosy: the not-so-sustainable side of the flower industry. Most of us like to get a nice bunch of flowers or cheer up a room, but unfortunately those gorgeous blooms aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. The flower industry has a dark side we need to address. Luckily, there’s plenty we can do to make our flower fix a little more eco-friendly though.


The Dark Side of the bouquet on your table

First up, there’s the environmental impact of a standard flower bouquet. Ever wondered how those flowers look so flawless? It’s often thanks to a cocktail of pesticides and chemicals sprayed during growing. Those pretty petals are also very thirsty. Growing exotic flowers out of their natural environment guzzles water, which is a problem, especially in dry regions. Many flowers are shipped around the world from far-flung places. This pumps out tons of carbon emissions, especially since this is usually done via plane.

There are also some social problems associated with the flower industry. Behind every bouquet is a story of hardworking folks, but many flower workers endure low wages and tough conditions. Th industry is also geared towards big players. Small-scale flower farmers often get trampled by big flower farms, leading to land degradation, loss of biodiversity, and economic woes in rural areas.


How to Make Your Bouquets Bloom Sustainably

Opting for organic flowers supports farms that skip the chemical stuff, keeps our soils healthy and our wildlife safe. Keeping it local slashes carbon emissions from long-haul journeys and helps local farmers. For flowers that do come from further away, you can look for Fair Trade-certified flowers to ensure workers get fair pay, decent conditions, and access to education and healthcare. Transparency is key. Ethical certifications tell you where your flowers come from and how they’re grown, empowering you to make greener choices. Some flower companies let you offset your carbon emissions, so you can give back to Mother Earth by investing in projects that offset the carbon footprint, like planting trees or going renewable.


Grow your own

The most sustainable option is to grow your own though.

Focus on native perennial species for the least impact. One standout choice is the Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos), known for its unique tubular flowers. With a variety of colours ranging from vibrant reds and oranges to soft yellows and pinks, Kangaroo Paw adds a playful yet elegant flair to bouquets and floral displays. Its long-lasting blooms and sturdy stems make it a favourite among florists and gardeners alike.

Another splendid option is the Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum), a native shrub renowned for its delicate, waxy flowers and aromatic foliage. Available in an array of shades including white, pink, and purple, Geraldton Wax infuses arrangements with a delightful fragrance and a touch of whimsy. Its versatility extends beyond cut flowers, as it also serves as a charming addition to garden borders or as a standalone feature shrub. With its resilience to drought and ability to thrive in various soil types, Geraldton Wax proves to be a reliable choice for any garden enthusiast.

The Flannel Flower (Actinotus helianthi) is a beauty boasting delicate, daisy-like flowers with soft, velvety petals. It’s renowned for its ethereal beauty and romantic charm, making it a sought-after addition to bridal bouquets and elegant floral arrangements. Available in shades of creamy white and pale yellow, these exquisite flowers evoke a sense of purity and serenity, perfect for a touch of understated elegance in any floral display. With its long flowering season and low-maintenance nature, the Flannel Flower is a great choice for gardeners.

For those looking to add an exotic touch to their garden’s cut flower repertoire, Leucadendrons offer a striking and unconventional choice. Native to South Africa but well-suited to the Australian climate, these evergreen shrubs are prized for their unique, cone-shaped flower heads surrounded by colourful bracts. Leucadendrons come in a plethora of hues, ranging from fiery reds and oranges to vibrant yellows and deep purples, making them a focal point in any floral arrangement. Their architectural structure and long-lasting blooms add an intriguing dimension to bouquets, providing a bold and modern aesthetic. With their ability to thrive in well-drained soil and sunny conditions, Leucadendrons require minimal maintenance, making them an ideal choice for both novice and seasoned gardeners alike.

Self-seeding annuals which can cope with our challenging conditions are a good option as well. One excellent choice is the Californian Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), which produces delicate, cup-shaped flowers in shades of vibrant orange, yellow, and pink. Californian Poppies are drought-tolerant and low-maintenance.

Another charming option is the Nigella damascena, also known as Love-in-a-Mist, which boasts intricate flowers surrounded by feathery foliage. Nigella’s unique seed pods add an interesting texture to bouquets, while its ability to self-seed ensures a bountiful supply of blooms year after year.

Additionally, Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) are a delightful addition to any bouquet, with their vibrant blue, pink, and white flowers atop slender stems. These hardy annuals thrive in our sunny climate and readily self-seed, making them a popular choice among gardeners cultivating their own cut flower oasis. With their effortless beauty and self-sustaining nature, these self-seeding annual flowers are sure to brighten up any garden and provide endless inspiration for stunning floral arrangements.

Don’t forget about interesting greens to add to bouquets as well. Many perennial shrubs and trees growing in our gardens look fantastic in flower arrangements. If you want to grow interesting leaves specifically for this purpose, you can’t go past adding some small eucalyptus species to your garden. Varieties such as Eucalyptus caesia (Silver Princess) with its weeping branches and silver-grey leaves, or Eucalyptus erythrocorys (Illyarrie) known for its vibrant red flowers and glossy green leaves, provide unique textures and colors that elevate floral arrangements to new heights. Eucalyptus leucoxylon ‘Rosea’ (Pink Flowering Yellow Gum) features delicate pink blossoms and slender, lance-shaped leaves, adding a soft and romantic touch to bouquets. Not only do these small eucalyptus species lend an unmistakably Australian flair to floral designs, but they also have a delightful fragrance. They are resilient to drought and able to thrive in Western Australia’s climate.


Arranging your own flower posies and bouquets

Once you have grown some beautiful flowers, you can get creative in arranging bouquets to your taste. This is the fun part, where you can let your imagination and creativity run wild. It’s good to know some basic rules about flower arranging though. To help you elevate your game in arranging your homegrown flowers into posies that draw attention, we have just released a great new workshop for you.

Garden Posies with Iris is a 2.5hr workshop, where you will learn the basics of flower arranging, flower care and conditioning. You will arrange your own posy and decorate a jar to take home.

Meet Iris

Iris Pich is a German Master Florist with 30+ years of experience and has taught countless students the art of Floristry at the Flower Design School. She is known as the Barefoot Florist on Facebook and Instagram. Iris cares deeply about making the floristry industry more sustainable, preferring locally grown flowers and natural materials for her bouquets. She believes that flowers have healing properties and create happiness. Being a florist to her means she is working with lovely materials and is able to deliver positive emotions that help make the recipients feel appreciated and loved.

Click here to book your spot in this exciting new workshop.