Congratulations are in order. You’re planning the big day, and the dream wedding is in the not-too-distant future.
Weddings are a special day, but they can also be stressful, especially when it comes to money. Flowers can make or break budgets. Sourcing them locally is one step to reduce the impact, but have you considered growing your own?
Here, we will run through a few wedding flowers that are easy to grow, offer a variety of hues to match your colors, and are perfect for your celebration.
Step One: Planning
Vision boards are an excellent way to kick off the adventure of growing your own wedding flowers for the celebration.
Planning should start about a year before the date of the nuptials because, with flowers, timing is everything.
For example, you don’t want to plan spring blooms the winter before, as some spring blossoms actually need to be planted in the fall.
Some perennials need longer than one year to produce much. A prime example is peonies. These require at least three years to produce abundant blooms. We won’t include any of these slow-growing species, but you should be aware.
You may not have a three-year heads-up to the day, so planning involves creating your vision and then devising a plan matching your time scale. Don’t worry; it’s still possible even if you only have six months.
The other consideration is the space in which to grow. There are genius ways of growing as much as possible in a tiny spot, but the planning stage will help you organize and determine what is realistic.
You could enlist friends and family to grow for you, too. It can be a lot of responsibility, but done right and with a plan in place for everyone, it’s achievable.
Create a vision board that includes your color scheme. Then, figure out your timeline and available space.
The 11 Best DIY Wedding Flowers
Once you have your vision board, a color scheme, and your timeline and space available, you can choose your wedding flowers.
Let’s take a look at some super easy-growing flowers that will be ready in time for the wedding. Anyone can grow these, including the growing novice.
These flowers have extended bloom periods, versatility of growing locations and planting seasons, value for money, and most come in multiple hues.
Dahlias (Dahlia spp.) are one of the best options for growing your own wedding flowers. You can get numerous blooms from one plant, and they come in a massive variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
There is a dahlia to suit every ceremony and vision. Look for massive dinner plates, sweet, round pompons, eye-catching cactus, elegant decorative, unique spiral, classic open-faced, picture-perfect collarette, and firework-like fimbriated types.
The color options are out of this world. You can find anything from pure white to nearly black, and solid or multi-hued types.
Dahlias can be grown in most Zones as annuals, but they are only cold hardy to Zones 8-11. Plant early spring in Zones below 8, and in early autumn in Zones 8 and up.
Growing dahlias from seed takes longer, and most won’t grow true to the parent plant, so it’s best to grow from tubers.
Make sure tubers are obtained from reputable sources, as some can be diseased. You don’t want to lose your wedding bouquet to a fungal nightmare!
Dahlias start flowering in early summer but really start producing by late summer, so they’ll work well if you have summer or fall nuptials to plan for.
If purple features into your big day, check out ‘Patches,’ with its big white and reddish-purple blossoms. It’s available from Marde Ross & Company at Amazon. Or pick up the burgundy dinnerplate dahlia ‘Mingus Alex.’
See our dahlia growing guide for more tips.
Strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum syn. Xerochrysum bracteatum) are an excellent budget option for DIY wedding flowers, as you usually get hundreds of seeds in one packet.
Ideal space savers with long stems, the often double flowers come in a range of colors from vintage white to copper or deep purple. These ‘Salmon Rose’ seeds from Zellajake at Amazon will be perfect if pinks are part of your pallet.
On top of adding color to your big day, they make a wonderful keepsake as they dry readily while holding their shape to keep your bouquet or centerpieces going.
Start seeds indoors six weeks before the last frost and then put them out after the last frost. They’re a tender perennial in Zones 8-11, but grow quickly as an annual flower in sunny summer weather.
Germination takes just 7-15 days at 65-70°F, with bloom time in about 16 weeks.
They bloom uniformly from summer to late fall. The downside is that they aren’t a fan of heavy rain as flowers can become discolored and fused if not protected from heavy moisture.
3. Dutch Iris
Extremely easy to grow and low maintenance, Dutch irises (Iris × hollandica) grow 18-24 inches tall and offer a magical flower with a truly unique shape.
They come in many colors, like pink, white, and purple, often with a yellow center. So long as you set the bulbs in fall, they will bloom in time for the late spring wedding.
Dutch iris bulbs should be planted in the fall for mid to late-spring blooms. Pick up a mix of colors in purples, whites, and pinks at the Daylily Nursery Store at Amazon.
Purchase more bulbs than you think you need and plant them close together to support one another. You can always separate the bulbs after they bloom to decorate your garden. At this point, though, keep them together for monitoring and easy cutting.
Dutch Irises are hardy in Zones 5-9. For Zones 3-9, consider bearded irises (I. × germanica) or Siberian irises (I. sibirica). Dutch irises will tolerate temperatures down to 15°F.
Gladiolus plants (Gladiolus spp.) give the bride a decadent display with their massive size that takes minimal effort.
There are so many color variables available, from white and coral salmon to dark purple. They come in two-toned shades, and even lime green, all on long stalks up to four feet tall. For wedding flowers, it’s hard to find one that will make a more impressive display.
As with irises, plant them close together or provide support to keep the stems straight.
Keep the flower stalks upright when you pick them, as gladioli tend to bend toward the light if you keep them at an angle.
Hardy to Zones 3-10, the corms can be grown in pots, which is an advantage if you time it right for early spring weddings. Plant them indoors with supplemental lighting or in full sun a few months before the big day.
If purple and blue are a part of your wedding colors, visit Amazon for ten bulbs.
Do keep in mind that gladioli tend to bloom 100 days after planting. Learn more about growing gladioli in our guide.
5. Agrostemma (Corncockle)
Elegant heirloom wildflowers, corncockles (Agrostemma githago.) grow well in tight spaces. The flowers have a surprisingly long vase life for their size and will continue to look nice for roughly seven days. This time can be extended if you pick them just as the bloom shows.
Corncockles require a chill period to grow a lengthy stem, and they need support if you put them in a windy spot.
They’re ideal for an early spring wedding in Zones 3-10 if you start them indoors in the late winter. Or you can sow them after the last frost, and they’ll be ready for harvest in July or August. Germination occurs in 14-21 days at 55-65°F.
Stocks (Matthiola incana), also known as gillyflower or wallflower, are a classic choice for cut flowers. For a fragrance-filled ceremony and reception, this flower is an excellent choice.
Stock embodies vintage style in varying shades of pinks, purples, whites, pastel yellow, and ivory. They’re the ideal wedding flowers for a vintage-style affair.
These plants are great for budget-busting, as the seeds are readily available. Go for double blooms, as these are more substantial for wedding arrangements.
There are both early blooming types and standard types. For standard types, early planting indoors is an advantage so you can transplant after the last frost. Or direct sow the seeds in Zones 7-10 in early spring.
They prefer cooler temperatures, so you should aim to have them blooming before the summer heat. Early types only take about ten weeks to bloom. Standard types take up to 14 weeks.
Germination is generally 7-10 days. When temperatures surpass 65°F, they will stop blooming.
Button-sized cupcakes is how I describe pincushions (Scabiosa spp.). Raspberry, rose, burgundy, and ivory mixes are delightful, but the one that stands out for me is the blue.
Many people grow it as a versatile annual, but it’s a short-lived hardy perennial in Zones 3-9. It blooms from spring until the first frost, so it will be ideal for weddings from spring through fall.
Even better, you can use the plant and flower at most stages, from greenery, bud, bloom, and seed pod. It’s beautiful throughout its lifespan.
Seeds can be direct sown or started indoors and transplanted. The germination period is from 10-21 days and is improved with cold stratification for two weeks prior to sowing. The seeds germinate best in temperatures between 55-65°F.
Generally, the blooms appear steadily throughout the season. Because they’re petite, sow numerous plants to get enough for your big day. Pincushions mature between 90 to 100 days from planting.
Luxury pink chiffon, apricot, pale pink, lavender, violet, green, ivory, blue-violet, white, yellow, red, deep purple, and green are all possible choices with Lisianthus species, commonly known as prairie gentian.
The flowers add romance to wedding arrangements, buttonholes, and flower girl headpieces.
It can be grown as an annual or biannual, depending upon the region. It will return in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10.
Plant them in the spring after the last frost, and the flowers will emerge in early summer and continue until the frost, giving you plenty of time to pluck your wedding flowers.
Prairie gentian is perfect for summer ceremonies as they’re heat-hardy and won’t fade in the summer sun. But it’s not a fan of humid conditions.
The vase life is astounding: up to three weeks. If pink is part of your wedding design, the rose-colored option is stellar.
9. Calla Lily
Perhaps you live in an apartment and are unable to grow outside. If so, consider the calla lily (Zantedeschia spp.), which is at home inside, outside, in pots, borders, and small to large spaces. It’s a versatile option.
There are calla lilies that look like they are made out of porcelain, those that look like they are dipped in silk, and vibrant fluorescent ones, too. They cover the rainbow, with yellows, reds, pinks, oranges, two-toned hues, white, and purple.
They also bloom for a long time, from 6-12 weeks throughout the summer. There are different types — early-season, mid-season, and late-season. Keep that in mind when purchasing and planting so they’ll be ready in time for your wedding.
Provide free-draining soil and keep it moist. For outdoor plants, provide some protection during the hottest days. Otherwise, blooms may droop and you’ll be deprived of your wedding flowers.
Make sure any planting is done in time for the bulbs to grow. It can take two or more weeks for the shoots to appear after planting and up to 12 weeks for blooms, depending on the type you choose.
Plant lots of bulbs for a wedding. One bulb will grow up to six blooms that season, but not simultaneously. Assume you’ll only get one flower per plant and put as many bulbs in the ground as you need.
Calla lilies are hardy as a perennial in Zones 8-10. Use it as an annual in Zones 3-7 or grow indoors.
White is a classic choice, but something a bit more colorful will really stand out. Check out the bright pinky-red flowers from Marde Ross & Company.
10. Cornflower (Bachelor’s Button)
Cornflowers, also known as bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus), are one of the easiest wildflowers to grow as wedding flowers. If you have a square of bare soil and some cornflower seed, just sprinkle the seeds and water. Then, sit back and watch them grow.
No longer just bright blue, the flowers come in pink, purple, bicolor combos, and white, but the original royal blue is always the most astounding in arrangements.
To encourage upright stems, stake the plants as they like to go a bit wild and can fall foul of strong wind.
Happiness is a cornflower grown as an annual in Zones 2-11. Germination takes from 7 to 14 days when soil temperatures at the preferred temperature of 59-64°F. They will be ready for harvest by early summer.
Learn more about growing these sweet treats in our growing guide. Then, pick up a pack of mixed color seeds from Old Farmer’s Almanac at Amazon.
Another option for those with limited space and budget, zinnias (Zinnia spp.) will produce masses of flowers on one plant. Plus, they’re tough, so they top our easy-to-grow wedding flower list.
Typically, this is grown as an annual plant and prefers warmer temperatures for germination and growing. Provide temps around 68-72°F. Perfect for those weddings in warmer regions and summer dates, Zones 2-11.
Zinnias come in all colors apart from blue, all manner of sizes, and petal formations. There really is an abundance of choice. Flowers come in single, semi-double, and double types.
Sow seed indoors 4-6 weeks before the last forecasted frost. They’re not a fan of frost or cold temperatures. Plant them in pots, containers, or your designated wedding flower garden when soil temperatures are around 60°F.
This is a good choice if you don’t have a long time to plan, as blooms start to appear 60-70 days after the seedling is in the ground.
Give plants plenty of sun, and keep them staked to support upward growth and long stems. For more tips, visit our guide to growing zinnias.
Not sure which type is perfect for you? Try this five pack of various seeds from Gardeners Basics Store at Amazon.
Things to Remember
To get them where they need to be for the wedding day it’s vital to consider the following.
First, consider the delivery timing and planting time of the seeds, tubers, and bulbs. You’re going to be sorry if you have to buy flowers at the last minute because you didn’t get yours in the ground in time.
You also need to keep in mind the bloom duration. If a plant only flowers for a few days, that doesn’t give you much of a window to pluck them and arrange them. That’s why we chose options that flower for a long time.
Keep in mind how long the flowers keep, as well. A flower that fades after a day is probably not going to work.
Make sure you have the right growing equipment to get started. You might need:
- Seed trays
- Heat mats
- Seed starter medium
- Potting mix
- Trowel, rake, and other tools
- Irrigation, watering can, hose, etc.
- Disease sprays and pest control
- Feed and fertilizers