The past couple weeks, as an East Lansing florist, I worked on creating a design for a styled shoot with Festoons & Flourishes and Niki Marie Photography in Detroit, Michigan at the Belle Isle Boat House. It was very white-flower-heavy, and it got me thinking…why not share some of my favorite white flowers with you, and why you should consider using them as both a bride and a florist.
It’s no surprise this beautiful bloom made this list. A favorite of many clients + florists (including me) for it’s fluffiness and high petal count, the white peony is my top recommended white flower. Unfortunately it’s only available to floral designers from Dec-Jan and May-June (sometimes early July if we are lucky). The Duchesse variety is your best bet for those Style Me Pretty-worthy blooms. The best substitutes you’ll find for a white peony in its off-season are going to be a white garden rose for the petal count, or a white football mum for fluffiness, but honestly, neither really compare.
White snowflake spray roses
This is actually a pretty generic spray rose. There are usually 3-4 blooms per stem, and they are nice and hardy. They are about as close to a pure white flower as you’re going to get outside of a white sweet pea or white stock. I prefer this variety over the more popular majolica because it’s actually white, and isn’t quite as floppy. The majolica’s have a beige undertone to them, and would be much more suited for a wedding heavy in ivory, champagne, and taupe. They also tend to blow open much faster than the snowflake spray roses, making them less than ideal for bouts. Spray roses are ideal for stabilizing other flowers that may be less sturdy in a bouquet because of the multiple blooms per stem.
These are like little mini peonies. They have a really high petal count, and the Cloony varieties are absolutely stunning. The standard white ranunculus is available pretty much year round. The biggest issue with these from an ordering standpoint is not all ranunculus are created equally, and in order to make sure you get the absolute best blooms, we have to order extra so we have some to pick from. They also have relatively fragile stems making them hard to work with in foam, and need stabilizing greens or other flowers around them in bouquets. Despite some properties in common with peonies, they are not an actual substitute for a peony because they are much, much smaller. I generally recommend against using these in bouts because one hug and they are smushed little goners.
White french tulips
Maureen white french tulips are gorgeous. It can be a little scary when they arrive because they look yellow until they open, but once they open, they are amazing. They have the nice big heads, and rounded tops…I am a hater of pointy-top tulips. The only concern is that tulips are phototrophic, meaning they continue to grow after being cut. It is the craziest thing. We did a design with these white tulips last year. We had all the tulip bouquets ready to go and wrapped, and had to un-wrap and pull the tulips back through in all of the bouquets. We then had to re-wrap the morning of the wedding because they had grown so noticeably! As long as you know this, and plan for it, they are one to ask about!
If you follow us on Instagram, you already know the love I have for astilbe. While not truly white (more ivory), it’s texture is something I honestly believe can enhance almost any floral design. It’s soft, and looks good as an accent or by itself in a cluster. If you are someone with the idea of using babies breath, please consider using white astilbe. It’s not quite as cost-friendly as babies breath, but what it adds isn’t even comparable!
This is one of my absolute favorites, and it’s only available Sept-Oct. That seems pretty ideal, right?….September and October are really busy months for us, so we should be thankful that they are available during that time. However, I’ve only had the opportunity to work with these once. They would honestly be perfect in a winter design, or a spring/summer design, but unfortunately we can’t get them then. They are a longer stem with clustered white berries on them. They add so much interest and texture to a floral design without feeling heavy or taking any attention away from the focal blooms. If you are a Sept-Oct bride, you want this one because most people don’t have the ability to use it!
White sweet pea
It’s actually white. The Japanese varieties are awesome. They add fluff and an interesting shape. The blooms are delicate with comparably sturdy stems so they are a florists dream. The only downside is they aren’t super impactful flowers, but I love them too much to not include them on this list.
White + black anemone
Ok it’s not just white, but it’s here because it’s awesome. They are similar in fragility to ranunculus and pose the same challenges as far as needing to order extra to make sure you get your pick of the litter. Many flowers open in heat, then you put them in the cooler when they bloom to the point you want them to stall further opening. Anemones are a bit different in that they close and open with cold and heat respectively over and over so you must make sure there is enough time in heat (I’m talking room temperature, not hot) to allow these blooms to open before use. They are pretty boring when closed, but are absolutely remarkable when they open.
I’d love to hear about your favorite white flower in the comments below and if you’d consider using some of our favorites above! To see these flowers in use, please visit the galleries on our newly redesigned website, or follow along on Instagram for the most up to date photos!