Local Staples: A Substitution Guide for Popular Flowers

An easy, seasonal approach to incorporating more local flowers that will still give you the stability you need and the look your clients want!

Rooted Farmers
Rooted FarmersFebruary 6, 2023 • 3 min read

Let’s face it: sometimes brides want tulips in July and ranunculus in autumn. You want bouquets that will stand up to all the hugs, and stunning installations that allow you to only use a water source in strategic places – or none at all! As the global wholesale market continues to deliver twists, turns, and unpleasant surprises, florists are turning to local flower farmers for stability and high-quality flowers. 

We’ve created this handy substitution guide to help you source seasonal blooms in your area.

We’re going to dive into 5 common wedding and event flowers. Remember, we always suggest talking to your local farmer. They know their blooms better than anyone and can give concrete advice about how a flower performs, conditioning tips, and suggestions when it comes to getting what you need. 

Pro-tip: It’s helpful to show your local farmers your inspiration board! Giving them context about the overall vibe or feel of the event helps them make appropriate suggestions in your color palette.

Keep in mind that the seasons below might shift a bit based on your location and there are always new and fun varieties of local flowers each year! 

5 Commonly Imported Flowers and their Local Alternatives

1. Roses 

Spring Subs: Double Tulips, Poppies, Mock Orange, Ranunculus 

Summer Subs: Lisianthus

Fall Subs: Dahlias, Lisianthus

Winter Subs:  Ornamental Cabbages + Kales 

Pro-tip: Strip off the outer green leaves of Ornamental Kales and Cabbages for soft-colored rosettes.

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Photo Credit: Tulips image courtesy of Love N' Fresh Flowers

2. Gerbera Daisies 

Spring Subs: Anemones, Icelandic Poppies 

Summer Subs: Zinnias, Echinacea/Coneflowers 

Fall Subs: China Asters, Chrysanthemums 

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Photo Credit: Anemone image courtesy of Grassdale Flower Farm; Chrysanthemum image courtesy of Wind Haven Farm; Zinnias image courtesy of Tupelo Farm & Garden 

3. Baby’s Breath and Wax Flower 

Spring Subs: Local Gypsophila, Feverfew, Chamomile, Phlox, Forget-me-nots 

Summer Subs: Yarrow, Chamomile, Phlox, Gomphrena 

Fall Subs: Saponaria, Feverfew 

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Photo Credit: Saponaria and Feverfew images courtesy of Hazel Witch Farm & Florals 

 4. Orchids 

Spring Subs: Campanula, Penstemon, Bearded Iris 

Summer Subs: Blackberry Lily, Crocosmia 

Fall Subs: Tuberose, Toad Lily 

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Photo Credit: Tuberose image courtesy of Hazel Witch Farm & Florals; Blackberry Lily image courtesy of Tupelo Farm & Garden 

5. Foliage (Nagi, Seeded Eucalyptus, Italian Ruscus) 

Spring Subs: Camellia, Abelia, Mountain Laurel, Japanese Holly 

Summer Subs: Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, Willow Eucalyptus, Unripe Blueberries, Camellia, Mountain Laurel 

Fall Subs: Mountain Laurel, Japanese Holly, Camellia, Abelia, Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, Willow Eucalyptus 

Winter Subs: Mountain Laurel, Camellia, Japanese Holly 

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Photo Credit: Willow Eucalyptus image courtesy of Eddy Farm; Mountain Laurel and Camellia images courtesy of Tupelo Farm & Garden

Related: Check out our interview with Rachel Fletcher of Carbon & Co and how she sets expectations with her clients around using local product, making them feel understood and delivering stunning work that meets their needs!