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Home : Grow Your Own Wedding: Make Affordable DIY Wedding Flowers

Grow Your Own Wedding: Make Affordable DIY Wedding Flowers

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Introduction to DIY Wedding Flowers Make Dried Wedding Flowers and Herbs
Plan Ahead and Start Simple Give Your Guests the Gift of Flowers
Grow Wedding Flowers Native to Your Area Our Favorite Regional DIY Wedding Flowers
Grow Wedding Flowers in Their Season  

Introduction to DIY Wedding Flowers

If you're busy planning your wedding, chances are you've been thinking a lot about color. Nothing adds to the color scheme of your celebration better than flowers, and creating unique floral arrangements, bouquets, or even flower seed favors can accentuate or define your wedding theme in an all-natural way. But before you start mentally calculating the bill from your florist, consider putting on your gardening gloves and growing some old fashioned DIY wedding flowers! With a little planning and a bit of a green thumb you can make your own wedding flowers and turn some of those most expensive decorations into your most affordable ones!
In honor of spring we're pleased to present these helpful gardening ideas for true do it yourself wedding flowers -- they're good for the environment, good for your budget, and will help put you back in control of your wedding planning!

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Plan Ahead and Start Simple

  • Starting a garden to make your own wedding flowers can feel completely overwhelming at first, but it doesn't have to be. Ease yourself into gardening and don't be afraid to ask for help.
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New to gardening and don't know where to begin? Every garden is different and growing flowers is as much an art as it is a science. Your garden can be affected by everything from the angle of your yard, to the soil beneath it, to even the ambient air temperature around your house. Growing seasons can vary even within the same geographic region, and it doesn't help that there are as many opinions out there as there are gardeners. In the end, sometimes producing fantastic flowers simply comes down to plain old luck!

But don't be discouraged, with a little preparation, research, and some modest ambition (we don't recommend you plow your entire yard just yet), chances are you'll still experience some success with your very first try. Here are a few very simple and basic tips you can use to get started -- with a little experimentation you'll become an expert in no time:

  • Think before you grow: Designate an area in or around your home where you want to plant your flowers, and think of how you'll want to grow them. If you don't want to restrict yourself to potting plants and want to start an actual garden, try to select a portion of your yard that gets abundant sunshine for at least six to twelve hours per day with moderate shade.

  • Keep the scale realistic: If you're just growing wedding flowers, carefully plan for exactly what you'll want to do with them and how many you'll need. Growing flowers for a bouquet or two may just require a few flower pots, a porch, and some patience, but growing flowers to give to each of your guests can soon turn into a huge project.

  • Start with flowers that are easy to grow: The type of garden you want to have, the time of year, and where you live will play a big part in what you can and can't grow, but in general many beginners have had a lot of good luck with flowers like baby's breath, coneflowers, roses, shasta daisies, standing cypress, sunflowers, and zinnias.

    At the end of this article you'll also find an extensive list of many of our favorite wedding flowers to grow at home!

  • Get a seed growing kit: If you don't want to start from scratch, many gardening centers now offer complete growing kits that include detailed instructions and a variety of flower seeds. This can dramatically cut down on trial and error and is a fun way to ease yourself into gardening. Even if you already have a bit of experience, seed kits can be ideal for do it yourself wedding flower projects.

  • Get the right gardening tools, and keep them looking like new: You really don't need a lot of fancy equipment to begin a garden. Basics like gloves, a spade, garden rake, and pruning shears make a good start (though we are fans of those devices that automatically monitor the moisture content of your soil). The important thing to remember with your tools is to clean them after each use -- harmful microorganisms and bacteria can build up on the surfaces of your tools and infect your plants.

  • Follow directions: Most plants and seeds include growing instructions and information about what they will need to survive. Follow the instructions carefully for each type of plant to ensure your success.

  • Dry, natural fertilizer is critical: If you need to fertilize your soil, try to use only all-natural organic fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers are often too strong for flower garden plants and can "burn" your seedlings or blossoms before they get a chance to sprout. Never use wet fertilizer as it may contain harmful bacteria that can rot your plants.

  • Use cloth, not plastic, to cover your plants: If the evenings are still a bit cool when you begin your garden and you need to cover your plants, use canvas tarp or blankets to protect them from the cold. Plastic sheets trap moisture, which can precipitate and freeze onto your plants and kill them just as quickly as if they had been exposed.

  • Visit your county extension office: The county extension office is an invaluable resource for gardeners. You can often find pamphlets and guides specifically written for growing plants in your geographical area, seeds, and plenty of additional information from knowledgeable staff.

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Grow Wedding Flowers Native to Your Area

  • Exotic and non-native flowers may be expensive, difficult, or even impossible to cultivate in time for your wedding. Make your own wedding flowers represent the best plant life native to your region!

We recommend that you do a little research to come up with a list of plants, herbs, flowers, and wildflowers that are native to the location where you plan to hold your wedding. There are three good reasons to grow local and native wedding flowers:
  1. It's a lot easier: While it's certainly possible to cultivate a huge variety of non-native flowers in your garden, growing them successfully will require a great deal of extra attention, skill, and care. Non-native flowers often fail to reach their full potential when grown too far outside their normal growing region.

  2. Growing non-native flowers can be more expensive and is less environmentally friendly: The idea is to save money and celebrate the environment, but exotic plants may cost more to purchase, especially if you're not buying them from seed, and may need to be shipped from the region where they were originally grown. The carbon emissions (and price) from all that transport can quickly add up.

  3. Remember, local doesn't mean boring: Using native flowers ties your wedding into your area's environment and becomes a celebration of who you are and where you live. Growing local flowers to display at your wedding ceremony is a great way to showcase the very best of the world that's right around you!
Baby's breath, for example, grows rampant in the Northeastern and Northern portions of the United States and is a popular part of wedding corsages. Or, if you're from the Southern portions of the US, you've probably already encountered colorful shrubs like autumn sage that grow in a variety of shades like red, white, and purple.

No matter where you live, you're bound to find plenty of local flowers that are easy to grow and incorporate into your decorating. To make things easier we've prepared a list of many of our favorite wedding flowers to grow at home, roughly broken down by growing region. We've also listed some popular herbs and wedding flowers that grow well almost anywhere!

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Grow Wedding Flowers in Their Season

  • Growing local and native flowers also means growing in season. Pay careful attention to how long the flowers you've selected take to grow, when they'll bloom, and compare the timeframe to the date of your wedding.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of growing flowers for your wedding is that flowers are living things subject to a variety of environmental influences while your wedding is a fixed date. Once you have your list of local flowers ready, you'll want to note the growing seasons and planting requirements for each.

Many flowers like daisies and some lilies bloom all season, but others like phlox, poppies, and calla lilies are good spring wedding flowers. Baby's breath, cosmos, and hydrangeas make ideal summer wedding flowers, while late bloomers like Queen Anne's lace, salvia and sages, sunflowers, and zinnias tend to hit their peaks in the mid to late summer and are great fall wedding flowers.

As with importing exotic plants, finding blossoms out of season can get expensive quickly and can have a negative impact on the environment. You may need to change your list based on the date of your wedding, and it's never too early to work out a plan of what you're going to grow and when.

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Make Dried Wedding Flowers and Herbs

Dried flowers aren't just for still life paintings and neglected vases at home, they're a uniquely elegant complement to live floral arrangements that are becoming increasingly popular at weddings. Dried flower bouquets and centerpieces are also a fantastic way to use flowers out of season as they will look beautiful no matter what time of year you hold your celebration. We've also prepared a complete guide with step-by-step instructions that will teach you how to dry flowers with tools and equipment you already have lying around home!

There's almost no end to what you can do with dried wedding flowers, and we love using them to add a natural touch to place settings and wedding favors. Dried flower petals and herbs can be used as a flawless environmentally-friendly alternative to table confetti; they also make great add-ons to favor boxes and bags. Many popular wedding flowers like daisies, hydrangeas, lavender, lilac, and roses are fairly easy to dry and can add a whole new dimension of elegance to your wedding theme.

Remember that just as with planting it's easier to dry some flowers than others, and drying techniques may vary between plants. If you plan to use flowers as confetti, keep in mind that some plants can cause allergic reactions while others may be toxic, so first read up on each flower you plan to dry!

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Give Your Guests the Gift of Flowers

  • Giving your guests fully-grown or blossoming flowers as wedding favors are truly gifts that keep on giving. Flower wedding favors make gorgeous table decorations and will serve as living reminders of your wedding day that your guests can take home and enjoy year after year.

You simply cannot go wrong with giving your guests flower wedding favors or flower gifts. Even non-gardeners love them, and they carry an emotional impact that simply cannot be matched by a small bowl of mints of some chocolates. But if giving your guests pre-grown flowers feels a little extravagant, then remember that flower seed favors that your guests can plant at their leisure have long been a favorite choice. You can even take this idea a step further by pre-planting the seeds in some nutrient-rich soil. Simply place the soil and seeds in small flower pots or in small burlap gift bags and attach a card with growing instructions!

No matter how you choose to incorporate flowers into your wedding, DIY wedding flowers are much more than a way to make wedding decorating affordable: They're fun, relaxing, and add a sentimental value to the experience of your wedding planning that has no price tag. So before you have somebody take those wedding flowers out to your ceremony, help save some money (and the environment) by bringing home those seeds first for a little do it yourself treatment -- we promise that just like your love, you'll love watching them grow. Good luck and happy planting!

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Some of Our Favorite Regional DIY Wedding Flowers:
Eastern and Mid-Atlantic Wedding Flowers Western Wedding Flowers
Northern and Northeastern Wedding Flowers All-Region Herbs and Wedding Flowers
Southern Wedding Flowers  

Great Eastern and Mid-Atlantic Wedding Flowers

Blue Flax - Linum lewisii The small simple blossoms of this perennial are an American classic! Available in a range of shades from dark to pale blue, these attractive flowers bloom early to mid season but take up to a year to grow from seeds, so you may want to purchase some that are already grown.

Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea Better known as an herbal cold remedy under the name echinacea, the coneflower is good for a lot more than the sniffles! These unique plants are prized by gardeners for their gorgeous light pink, purple, and lavender-colored flowers and can make a lovely addition to your bouquet. The petals are pointed downwards (at rest) while the spiky head in the center of each blossom adds its own special texture to any arrangement. This summer blossom is fairly easy to grow in many regions of the US.

Shasta Daisy - Chrysanthemum maximum With brilliant centers, gorgeous overlapping white petals, and abundant blooms, the Shasta daisy is similar to it's weedy cousin, the oxeye daisy, only with larger flowers and gorgeous deep green stems. Although Shasta daisies grow in many regions of the US, they prefer milder climates and bloom in greatest profusion in temperate Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states. This early summer flower also blooms best in June and July.

Standing Cypress - Ipomopsis rubra Don't be deceived, the complex and flamboyant looking flowers of standing cypress are relatively easy for beginners to cultivate. Its rich orange and tubular flowers grow in thick spikes and gives standing cypress an almost tropical look (and it can indeed be found across much of the South). This late spring flower is even more common in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest and grows well in a variety of regions.

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Great Northern and Northeastern Wedding Flowers

Baby's Breath - Gypsophilia Baby's breath has long been considered a traditional wedding bouquet filler and is also commonly used in corsages. These tiny white flowers bloom across Northern stretches of America and are available in huge varieties. Baby's breath is easy to grow in moist soils and is extremely easy to dry at home.

Blanketflower - Gaillardia aristata If you're ready to get colorful then you're ready to add the vibrant blanketflower to your floral arrangements! These gorgeous flowers are celebrated for their serrated petals that form a classic pinwheel shape. The bright red interior of each blossom is perfectly complemented by the stunning yellow edges of each petal. This favorite blooms from mid to late season in sunny well-drained areas, but tends not to do as well in the South.

Canary Grass - Phalaris canariensis Though technically an invasive grass from the Mediterranean, canary grass is a common sight in many fields across the Northeastern US. Canary grass can easily be dried and used to make great filler for an arrangement. What's best about Canary Grass is it can also be dyed to match your wedding colors! It grows best throughout the summer from July to August.

Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla vulgaris This attractive herb blooms in a beautifully soft shade of yellow that makes it perfect for late spring and early summer weddings. Primarily native to far Northern climes, this flower also has a nice story behind it: Its common name, Lady's mantle, is derived from an old saw which says the scalloped edges of the petals resemble the Virgin's Mary cloak. This is a great little legend to mention on your wedding programs if you feature this flower prominently at your wedding!

Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia Known mainly for its soft purple and yellow shades and its many available varieties, this relative of the mint family is a fragrant potpourri mainstay that looks perfect in dried floral arrangements. It's particularly well-suited for air drying, and variations of lavender bloom throughout spring, summer, and even fall.

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella) - Nigella damascena This member of the buttercup family grows wild across the Northeastern US and even parts of the Northwest. It boasts distinct pointed flowers that add a perfect hint of texture to any flower arrangement. It often blooms in a pale blue color that we love, but can also be seen in varieties of pink, purple, or white. Its flowers also look great air dried!

Perennial Lupine - Lupinus perennis Perennial lupine blossoms in spectacular light blue to purple spikes and is one of our favorite fillers for wedding bouquets and floral arrangements. It's a great spring and early summer flower that has been reported growing wild all over the US, though it grows in the greatest profusion across the Northeast.

Sweet William - Dianthus barbatus A Southern European native, Sweet William has long been naturalized to North America and can be seen in fields throughout the Northeast, Northern Plains states, and portions of the West. Sweet William flowers are particularly enchanting, with spiraling serrated petals that fade from deep shades of purple and pink in the center to lighter tones of pink and even white along the edges.

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Great Southern Wedding Flowers

Autumn Sage / Cherry Sage - Salvia greggii A common roadside plant in the deep South and Southwest, autumn sage is a beautifully aromatic shrub that gives off a slightly minty aroma from a profusion of tiny colorful flowers. A perfect blend of rugged stems and vibrant colors, autumn sage blooms in varieties of red, pink, orange, or purple and are ideal autumn wedding flowers for centerpieces.

Blue Anise Sage (Salvia) - Salvia guaranitica A relative of mint, this variety of salvia has long been a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies that has unique tubular flowers ranging from royal blue to deep purple. Common in the South, this hearty sage has nonetheless adapted to a variety of climates and blooms beautifully for most of the summer.

Calla Lily - Zantedeschia Calla lilies are an ubiquitous wedding flower and have long symbolized marriage, purity, and love. Whether in live floral arrangements or worked into the designs of wedding accessories (we even offer an entire collection of calla lily unity candles), you simply cannot go wrong with making these delicate flowers a part of your celebration. Although typically grown in Southern humid climates these beautiful tropical wedding flowers are readily available around the US.

Drummond's Phlox (Annual Phlox) - Phlox drummondii Although first encountered in Texas, Drummond's phlox is a prized garden flower as far away as Europe. Its flowers grow in tight clusters of delicate rose-red, pink, lavender, and white blossoms with soft round petals. It's a perfect spring wedding flower (blooming as early as late winter in the South) that can also be enjoyed during the summer months.

Four O'clock (Marvel of Peru) - Mirabilis jalapa The so-called Marvel of Peru lives up to its name with gorgeous broad petals and lovely dark filaments that give these flowers a rich tropical look. Originally native to the Andes, these flowers grow better in Southern coastal areas and tend to open in the afternoon (hence the name). They are also known and prized for having flowers in multiple colors ranging from white and light violet to dark pink on the same plant.

Gerbera Daisy (Common Daisy) - Gerbera jamesonii The common daisy is a beautiful bouquet staple! This sunflower relative is available in a huge range of colors that can be matched to your wedding theme. Even better, common daisies can easily be preserved and dried through microwaving. Although these flowers bloom all season, they are at their most colorful in the early summer and are more common in the Southeastern US.

Hydrangea - Hydrangea Hydrangeas cover a wide of variety of flowers and have long been a summer wedding favorite. Susceptible to cold, hydrangeas are grown more frequently in the South although they are still enjoyed across much of the US. Hydrangeas can make beautiful accents to a variety of wedding decorations and are often featured in wedding accessory designs (be sure to check out our own Hydrangea Wedding Programs to see what we mean).

Moss Verbena - Verbena tenuisecta A perennial that makes it home in the Southern and parts of the Southwestern US, moss verbena forms lovely natural bouquets when it grows wild and looks amazing when intermixed with scarlet sage. This Southern favorite is available in an assortment of white, rose red, pink, and purple varieties.

Scarlet Sage (Texas Sage) - Salvia coccinea Like it's relative blue anise sage, scarlet sage features rich, tubular flowers growing in slow whorls that spiral around the stem. Native to the Southeastern US, though grown in ornamental gardens everywhere, this member of the salvia family pairs beautifully with other Southern flowers like moss verbena.

Zinnia - Zinnia elegans Featuring an extraordinarily rich profusion of narrow, spear-like petals, zinnias are incredibly colorful favorites that are reminiscent of daisies in shape. They are available in diverse array of colors ranging from yellow and cream to purple and violet to even green and speckled. This popular garden plant flourishes in the South, is easy to grow, and is an ideal mid-summer wedding flower.

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Great Western Wedding Flowers

Baby Blue Eyes - Nemophilia menziesii These elegant and delicate wildflowers are simply spectacular! The petals form a softly sloping cup shape with stunning pale blue edges and white circular centers. Tiny black tips on the pistils add a lovely bit of contrast. These fast-blooming spring annuals are native to California and prefer light dry soils. They are harder to grow in humid climates but can still be adapted to many growing regions in the US.

California Poppy (Flame Flower) - Eschscholzia californica The flame flower is the state flower of California and for good reason. It blossoms in shades of brilliant orange and yellow, boasts a silky texture, lovely lobe-shaped petals, and will liven up any arrangement. This vibrant wildflower thrives along roadsides and in meadows around the West and Southwestern US. It's highly drought tolerant and can survive even in sandier soils.

Five Spot - Nemophila maculata This desert native can be grown almost anywhere and features a truly striking, distinct look that's perfect for standing out. Most members of the five spot family feature snowy white flowers with a single, richly purple spot at the end of the petal. This spring and summer favorite also makes a great hanging plant and blooms prolifically.

Siberian Wallflower - Cheiranthus allionii Siberian wallflowers are extremely easy to grow (just drop some seeds on tilled average soil and you're done) but unfortunately they don't produce blossoms during the first year when grown from seed. The wait, however, is worth it as Siberian wallflowers produce tiny clusters of brilliant orange clover-like petals. As you might guess from the name, these plants tend to appear in the milder and cooler climates of the Pacific Northwest, but they can still be grown in warmer locations as well.

Succulent Lupine (Arroyo Lupine) - Lupinus succulentus This true Western flower has a sort of wild look about it even when it's cultivated! It also thrives in sandy coastal and clay heavy soils and can be easily grown around your home. Although it doesn't respond well to drying, succulent lupine is beautiful live filler for rustic bouquets, boasting pretty spikes of tiny of blue and light purple flowers.

Tidy Tip - Layia platyglossa Like many western flowers, tidy tips are bright and colorful and can endure a variety of poor soils. Blossoming mostly in the spring and summer in heavy clusters, tidy tips are almost daisy-like in an appearance with gorgeous bright yellow centers and snowy white edges from which they derive their name.


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Great All-Region Herbs and Wedding Flowers

Barley - Hordeum vulgare It may not be the first thing you think of when you contemplate flora for your wedding day, but this incredibly versatile cereal grain ages to a lovely gold that can be used to make a great decorative accent, particularly for country and western weddings. Although originally native to the Middle East, barely is cultivated across a huge range of growing regions from north of the Arctic Circle to clear down into the tropics.

Indian Blanket (Firewheel) - Gaillardia pulchella This native from the Central North American Plains features utterly brilliant red flowers trimmed with yellow. These vibrant beauties blossom all across the US from May to September, and are must-haves for country and western weddings!

Millet - Echinochloa frumentacea Another grain that can add some serious beauty to your bouquets and arrangements, immature millet comes in a lovely green color that is almost tinted with violet, while aged millet turns a nice golden brown -- great for accenting doorways or large decorative pieces and western decor! It grows well almost anywhere except some mountain areas.

Oxeye Daisy (Marguerite, Dog, or Moon Daisy) - Leucanthemum vulgare Although technically a weed, the oxeye daisy is a definitive daisy with a brilliant yellow center that makes a charming contrast to its snowy white petals. Although more common in Southern climates and temperate states, it's widely distributed across the US and is one weed that's worth working into any wildflower arrangement.

Purple Majesty (Ornamental Millet) - Pennisetum glaucum This unusual ornamental millet is a colorful grass that grows in very dense plumes that range from burgundy to chartreuse in color. Purple majesty can be creatively used in arrangements that celebrate dark, lush colors -- you can also use it to contrast beautifully against white and yellow flowers.

Queen Anne's Lace / Wild Carrot - Daucus carota While regarded as an invasive weed in some pastures, Queen Anne's lace produces bouquets of tiny tightly bunched blossoms that slope to form a bowl resembling, unsurprisingly, a cap of lace. The flowers range anywhere from light purple to white, sometimes with a claret blossom in the center. Queen Anne's lace makes great bouquet filler and is also exceptionally easy to dry at home.

Rose - Rosaceae The premier natural symbol of love and romance, the rose needs no introduction. If you feel like getting a little creative with roses for your big day, keep in mind that roses are one of the easiest and most frequently dried wedding flowers. Roses hold up well with almost any drying process, though they tend to do best with air drying. Click here to learn more about how to dry flowers!

Strawflower (Everlasting) - Helichrysum Technically herbs, everlastings and strawflowers are among the easiest flowers to dry and are the popular subjects of many paintings and photographs. They are also easy to preserve and should last a long time after you dry them. Even better, they're available in a huge variety of colors so you'll be almost certain to find some that match your wedding theme.

Sulphur Cosmos (Klondike or Orange Cosmos) - Cosmos sulphureus Don't let the "Klondike" part of the name fool you, sulphur cosmos is very easy to grow and can handle dry soils and drought conditions in cool and warm climates. As the name suggests, sulphur cosmos features brilliant yellow, orange, or red petals with gently serrated edges. The petals also overlap to give it a fantastic layered appearance. Blooming from late summer to early fall, this is a great addition to autumn weddings.

Sunflower (Common Sunflower) - Helianthus annuus Another flower that needs no introduction, the sunflower is a timeless favorite and a unique marvel that we love seeing incorporated into weddings. They look exceptionally beautiful in the late summer, and work brilliantly with country and western weddings!

Tickseed (Lancleaf Coreopsis, Pot of Gold)- Coreopsis lanceolata One of the things we love best about this flower, which grows across the US but prefers drier climates, is the shape of its leaves, which almost look like paper torn from a book. The ragged edges complement the brilliant yellow coloring of the entire blossom. Tickseed tends to bloom from May to late July but can still have flowers all summer long.

Wheat - Triticum aestivum Everyone's favorite bread grain is also great for adding texture to many floral arrangements! Although typically depicted as golden-brown, wheat can actually be found in a variety of subtle shades as it matures and is a nice add-on to a variety of decorations.

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