Bleached, Dried and Divine
The hottest trend in floral design adds an everlasting element of texture, interest and just plain fun.
Iris & Barry Blooms Bouquet 100 percent dried/bleached product: pampas grass (Cortaderia), fan palm (Chamaerops/Livistona), thistle (Cirsium), Protea, Italian Ruscus (R. aculeatus), etc.
Photographer: Aysia Lanae Photography
Wascana Flower Shoppe
Wandering Poppy; Andrea Godfrey Photography
Wandering Poppy; Jo Julia Photography
To say that floral designers are obsessed with them would be putting it mildly. Bleached and dried botanicals are majorly on-trend right now—just in time for the holiday season. The beigey brownish hues of dried palm fronds, tumbleweeds and grasses couldn’t be more perfect for fall décor. And what could be a better touch of winter white than bleached Italian Ruscus or bunny tails? When added to fresh florals and greens, these unexpected elements add a muted pop of color; textural depth; and a fresh sense of whimsy that florists, customers, event designers and brides just can’t get enough of. Not only that, but unlike their fresh counterparts, bleached and dried products last long after the fi nal fresh bloom has faded, making them even more appealing.
“I enjoy using dried and bleached products because they can literally be enjoyed for years!” says Michelle Barry,, owner of Iris & Barry Blooms in Temple City, Calif. “If they’re 100 percent dried, they can be kept in a home or office as permanent decoratives. If they’re used for a wedding, the bride can keep the bouquet afterward and always have something to remember her special day.”
Barry says that incorporating pops of dried or bleached elements in fresh arrangements often gives the perfect texture. She adds that since COVID-19 hit, she began an online shop off ering dried arrangements for local delivery and to ship nationwide, and that her “clients just love them!”
Gina Thresher, AIFD, CFD, EMC, likes to say, “What’s old is new, or still old but repurposed and reused.” The creative force behind From the Ground Up Floral in Kent, Wash., Thresher admits that if she has leftover product, oftentimes it’s hung from the ceiling for a bit of rainy-day inspiration.
Flowers have always been a way to express sentiments, and with dried products, we absolutely love that we can now allow parts of that sentiment to last forever.”
– Ryley Koma; Wascana Flower Shoppe; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
“From dried flowers and foliage to pods and pieces, it’s bringing back the dead,” she says, “adding a lightness to a centerpiece or ethereal clouds of dried product for an event.”
Dried and bleached elements are great for giving that bit of an on-trend update to regular arrangements, according to Ryley Koma, of Wascana Flower Shoppe, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. “Today’s wide range [of bleached and dried products] allows us to reinvent what most consider passé when thinking of dried florals and bring them to the forefront in modern home décor, events and everyday florals,” Koma shares.
She adds that her shop enjoys using such elements particularly in sympathy work for a personal keepsake after the florals have gone. “It encourages our clients to pull these pieces out and incorporate them into their homes or in other ways as reminders of their loved ones,” Koma notes.
Mayesh Wholesale Florist, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., and has locations in 10 states, off ers about 140 types of preserved and dried flowers and greens—everything from preserved hanging Amaranthus to bleached white umbrella fern. Yvonne Ashton, director of marketing at Mayesh, says this trend has been extremely popular for quite some time and shows no sign of stopping. “Not only do preserved products have a really long shelf life but they last at least six months—in some cases even longer,” she says. “I have some preserved Gardenias in my offi ce that I have had for almost two years, and they still look great.”
Ashton adds that with so many florists looking for ways to pivot and provide diff erent products and services to their clients during the pandemic, preserved flowers and greens are a great avenue to explore.
When it comes to weddings and event work, Taryn Turner, owner and creative director of Wandering Poppy Co. in Denver, Colo., says dried florals are often seen complementing outdoor venues and scenic backdrops. Lately, though, Turner says, “We’ve seen a heightened interest among our modern, urban clients in incorporating this foliage into their events. Many love the juxtaposition of sleek, clean lines paired with the wild, untamable nature of dried florals.”
Turner adds that she especially enjoys the sustainability and unexpectedness of dried products, which are often able to be saved for future events or even foraged from backyards. Dried florals are also easily manipulated with floral tints, she points out, and can be prepared ahead of time— allowing more time to be spent on the actual installation on-site.
“Our favorite thing, however, is how unpredictable they can be,” Turner continues. “The rugged and wild textures balance out more delicate blooms, creating unexpected moments of pause and drama.”
Turner says many of Wandering Poppy’s installations and arrangements combine open roses, delicate Ranunculus, and playful sweet-peas with dried tumbleweeds, foraged branches and manipulated fan palms. “These installations often are crawling up and around modern plinths and risers, hanging in downtown rafters and wrapping around concrete pillars,” she says. “Their unexpected nature creates an element of surprise while warming up originally stark yet architectural buildings.”
We are excited to see how this trend continues to evolve and push the creativity of florists and event designers alike.