A Guide to the Best Dried Flowers and Plants to Decorate Your Sustainable Home

A Guide to the Best Dried Flowers and Plants to Decorate Your Sustainable Home

No matter where you look on social media, it seems dried flowers and plants are being used in every home, every office and by every influencer. So why exactly are dried flowers, branches and plants trending at the moment? The dried flower trend could very well have something to do with the fact that people are spending more time at home thanks to COVID-19 and since many are cut off from nature, it makes sense to bring the outside in for mental health and well-being.

Buying fresh flowers and plants, however, can be a costly exercise; and for people living busy lives, keeping plants alive can be too much of an ask, overloading already lengthy to-do lists. Dried bouquets, branches and flowers are a more cost-effective and convenient alternative to plants and fresh flowers– and they last longer.

So if you’re keen to style your sustainable home interior with some dried flowers and plants, here are some popular dried flowers and plants that can create focal points on your mantels, shelves and indoor spaces:

1. Pampas grass

An Instagram and wedding favourite, pampas grass is an attractive tall, long-lived, fluffy grass with flowering stems that can grow up to six metres tall. It has creamy white foliage but is also available in pink varieties too and makes a beautiful decorative for homes and events. You can source pampas grass from your local florist, though in some countries such as Australia, it is classified as a noxious weed as it threatens native species and the local agricultural industry and thus is illegal to be sold or purchased in many parts of the country. In fact, biosecurity officers have the power to seize outlawed pampas grass from florists, and have done so on the NSW north coast. If you love the look of pampas grass, a good – and legal – alternative is wild millet.

Unfortunately due to the plant’s popularity, in places like the UK, people are actually stealing the grass from coastlines, deliberately planted by councils to protect sand dunes from erosion. Before purchasing, make sure to check the biosecurity laws and regulations in your local area and for heaven’s sake, buy it from your local florist, don’t steal it from the natural (or built up) environment!

Pampas grass is an Instagram favourite. Photo: Jessica V.
Pampas grass in glass vases. Photo: Photo: Liana Mikah.

2. Bunny tail grass

This drought-tolerant ornamental grass grows to about 60cm high and features soft, tear-drop fluffy tufts of pale, ivory white or beige flowers that look like a rabbit’s tail and hence the name, bunny tail grass. The dried bunny tail grass makes a perfect decorative for the minimalist home. Just pop in a simple vase or upcycled glass har for an understated, but modern effect.

Bunny tail grass make a great decorative. Photo: Pampas Grass Thinker.
Alcove Homewares sells 10 bunny tail grass stems for A$10.50.

3. Billy buttons

Craspedia, commonly known as Billy Buttons or Billy Balls, is an Australian native flower that feature a distinctive golden yellow globe-shaped flower on sturdy stems that look a little like tiny tennis balls. Even when naturally dried, the flower retains it bright yellow colour. If you want to add some bright colour into your living room or bedroom, enhance the space with this dried flower.

Photo: Etsy.

4. Palm spear fan (palm leaves)

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance or an interesting focal point in a room, dried palm spear fans are the way to go. Dried palm leaves are generous in size and make a statement in a minimalist room. Pop several palm leaves in a vase and make sure to cut at various lengths for wow factor.

Dried palm spear leaves. Photo: Daisy DIY time.
Photo: Karolina Grabowska.

5. King protea

Protea cynaroides, also known as king protea, are an iconic plant of South Africa and have a distinctive wide, bowl-shaped pink flower heads that can reach up to 30cm in diameter. For best results, display the dried king protea in a vase with other dried flowers and grasses.

A dried king protea. Photo: Katsia Jazwinska.
A dried king protea, palm leaf and pampas grass bouquet. Photo: Fiddlehead Craftsman.

6. Cotton flower stem

Another Instagram favourite, a few cotton flower stems in a simple glass vase can make an interesting decorative for a home or office. Alternatively, you can display a bouquet of dried flowers featuring dried cotton stems for a spectacular result.

Cotton flower stems in a glass bottle. Photo: cottonbro.
A dried flower bouquet featuring cotton flower stems. Photo: cottonbro.

7. Eucalyptus leaves and stem

Aesthetically appealing with a fragrant smell, eucalyptus leaves and stems are a favourite among minimalists as a silvery-green single stem can do wonders for a basic room. Display an arrangement of dried eucalyptus stems for a more dramatic result.

A bouquet of eucalyptus. Photo: Miss You Garden.

8. Dried wheat bundle

For a table centerpiece, a naturally dried wheat bundle in a vase offers just the right organic and rustic vibe. Wheat is widely grown around the world and as such, the dried variety are super affordable, available to be purchased online and at your local florist (though it doesn’t hurt to check local laws before making an online purchase).

Wheat bunch. Photo: Dina Nasyrova.

9. Dried branches

For a simple yet effective display, just add some dried branches and twigs into a vase or basket, and voila, a super affordable way to decorate your home. You need only go outside and collect dry branches and sticks or if you don’t have a yard or live in the concrete jungle where dried twigs and branches are hard to come by, you can buy them for bargain price at your local florist.

Dried branches are simple but have a dramatic impact. Photo: Gabby K.
Dried branches placed in a natural woven basket. Photo: Tatiana Syrikova.

This list is not exhaustive but does represent some of the most popular dried flowers and plants as soon on social media. Before making a purchase online however, it’s wise to check local biosecurity laws to ensure that you aren’t bringing an outlawed plant species into your country or region – doing so would be completely unsustainable!

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A Guide to Dried Flowers and Plants to Decorate Your Sustainable Home

Recommended reading:

Cover image by Annie Spratt.

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