Floral installation hacks: Joseph Massie's top ten waterless flowers
If you have never heard of the term waterless flowers, then you are in for a treat!Back to stories
ur floral friend Joseph Massie launched a YouTube video sharing his tips and tricks for floral design out of water, featuring a selection of our portfolio. If you prefer text over video, then this story is for you! Would you rather watch the video? You can find it at the bottom of this article.
Joseph: "Now, ‘waterless flowers’ is essentially a term which we use within floral design, whenever a floral material will last spectacularly well out of water. Therefore, it enables us to use that floral material in an installation, like an archway, or a wall installation. Any form of installation really, for a duration of time. And that floral material will hold up and look pretty. Now of course, not every flower is suitable to use in a waterless capacity. But today I’m going to be showing my top 10 waterless flowers, in the hope it will make your life a little bit easier the next time that you attempt your own installation."
"Now first up we have Scutellaria, also known as skullcap. This is a relatively new floral material to the market, but my gosh does it last well. It is a really interesting mix between foliage and flower. Essentially we have this gorgeous vertical green stem coming up, topped with these super delicate lovely little skullcaps on the top of them, hence the nickname. Now the stems are super strong, incredibly turgid. And although this floral material has only been new on the market for a short while, it is such a game changer. It is such a great wonderful material to use. If you are struggling with something that has that kind of spiky exclusiveness and that gorgeous linear energy, and you are looking for something that will last really well, skullcap could be one to explore."
This gorgeous vertical green stem coming up, topped with these super delicate lovely little skullcaps on the top of them
"Next up on our list we have Agapanthus, available in a gorgeous pure white and a dashing summer blue. Agapanthus is such a good summer laster. I am surprised I don’t see it in more compositions. The stems are incredibly strong, incredibly sturdy. They don’t have any leaves on them when they come. In addition to this, their heads will last so well out of water, for a good 12 hours. I have used them several times for my installations, and I have found they are such good solid lasters. It may only come in these two colours, but this gorgeous white colour is a super good winner to be used for a lot of installation work. So why don’t you try it out on your next installation, out of water, and I’m sure you will become a fan too!"
They last up, they look perky, they don’t droop, they don’t look sad, they hold up for a good time in any installation.
Clematis Amazing® Kibo
"Number three on my list is a perfect one for texture lovers, here we have Clematis Amazing® Kibo. If you are a fan of the Clematis stamens then this gorgeous little friend is the one for you. Super textural, super fluffy and a gorgeous solid laster out of water. I have used it in several of my installations. A good 12 hours is what you get out of this and it will look pretty much exactly the same. Of course the main thing that starts to go on this is the leaves. The seedheads will look fine for up to 12 hours or more. They start to dry out a little and change. The leaves do drop a little, so if you are planning something entirely waterless with this gorgeous little Clematis, then please do remove all the leaves for best results."
Note by Marginpar: after Kibo dries up completely, you are left with a big ball of fluff which is a different look, but a very much appreciated one by many florists. So don’t throw them after these 12 hours, and see for yourself!
Super textural, super fluffy and a gorgeous solid laster out of water
Limonium China White
"Number four is all about Limonium. Limonium is a love/hate flower amongst flower lovers. I find some people absolutely love it and some people do not like it at all. But if you can find yourself to leave the pragmatism, you will find that Limonium can be a wonderful little helper in a variety of situations. Here we have our gorgeous Limonium China White. We have them in deep purple, lilac, pink, white, and all of these gorgeous rainbow facets, giving us diversity when we are planning out installations.
Limonium is available in a gorgeous little rainbow
Limonium will last incredibly well out of water. It dries beautifully as well. So if you are looking to use it as a dried flower in any of your dried flower compositions, then you will find that to be a total winner too. I often air towards using the white variety. And also the lemon as well, as they can kind of be mixed in with a ton of gorgeous creams and crème de la crème roses, and Catalina for the yellow, and all of these gorgeous tones kind of mix together very beautifully. I am a big fan of white. I often use them especially in the summer, when I am doing outdoor installations in the heat. Limonium is a fantastic filler flower. To help you cover a mechanic and fill up a space, really affordably. And you know it is going to last very well. If the smell puts you off a little, just air it very well beforehand. Make sure it is fresh and in the fresh air before you use it and you will have no issues at all."
Solidago Carzan Glory
"Next up we have Solidaster, or Solidago. If you are not a fan, stay with me while I tell you why you should be. There aren’t a huge amount of materials in yellow that are particularly long-lasting. Limonium of course is the exception that I mentioned earlier. Solidago will do you a solid if you are looking for something in this colour palette, that will last incredibly well. Also, I think the texture is really quite charming and I think when it is used on mass, as one material, in a contemporary form or a contemporary manner, it can look rather delicious. I think sometimes we have to kind of realign the way we think about different flowers. Just because Solidago was used in supermarket bunches for so long, it still has a charm of its own.
And when you add this to the fact that it is an incredibly lasting material out of water, you will find that it will soon reveal its charms to you. Solidago lasts well for a good 8-10 hours out of water. Then it will start to look a little crispy and a little dry. But it is perfect to use for many a party."
I think the texture is really quite charming
Eryngium Sirius Questar® and Orion Questar®
"Halfway through our list now, coming up to number 6. Here we have some gorgeous Eryngium. Now, Eryngium is always one of those flowers that surprises me by the varieties that are available. Here we have our gorgeous white variety, Eryngium Sirius Questar®. It is available in a ton of different shapes and forms as well in blue. That gives us a versatility, and on top of the fact that this is a serious long-lasting material, it is one to definitely be considered to add texture into our floral designs. I am all about adding texture into floral design; it is a great way to sharpen our placement, draw attention to the right things, and to tap into those key focal areas within a design. And that also stops things being boring, and I think that you don’t get anything more textural and anything kind of more contrasting in floral design than these fabulous Eryngium. Admittedly, I am more fond of the white variety. I often will put that into archways and into ground installations.
I find it gives a little more personality, but it is also subtle
Because it has so much green in there, it blends incredibly well with a ton of floral materials. It doesn’t stand out too much. It doesn’t look like we are trying too hard when we add this into our compositions. Now, if you are going to be using Eryngium in your compositions, you will find that it is an incredibly good long laster, I find a good 12 hours, no problem at all, out of water. This thistle star will look absolutely wonderful and you will not have any issues with it whatsoever."
"Numero 7 on our list is our very gorgeous Phlox. I know phlox is available all year round, don’t need to tell me. However, personally for me it is far more of a summer material. And I usually only buy it about from June to August. I find it is more in season naturally, and for me it has more juice then. It is something for me to really dive into then. It is available in a range of white and pinks and purples. Phlox is, I think, the unsung hero of the cottage garden, frankly. Because it lasts so well, you can use this beauty out of water for up to 12 hours. And it is one of those waterless materials that look so pretty, so gorgeous, so beautiful. You can often get 70-80 cm, for a really reasonable price. It is not one of those flowers that you find to be too expensive or
impossible to get hold on. It is available in abundance, in beautiful colours that are often very helpful for wedding and event design, which is something that I really appreciate. And it is likeable too. It is such a pretty, gorgeous blossom, and I find so many of my clients really be drawn to them and want them included in their florals. This beauty is a great laster out of water. It is a little tip that you can keep in your back pocket, and share with your friends, you know, if they are really good friends."
Long-lasting, available in very pretty colours, and available with a really gorgeous stem length on it
Hypericum Tomato Flair®
"Number 8 on my list is Hypericum. Of course we had to include this gorgeous berry in our list of top ten waterless florals. Available in a range of colours, from white to green, to peach and pink and of course these gorgeous reds and browns. These berries will give you a gorgeous shiny texture whatever your situation, whatever you are making. Great little laster, good 12 hours. No problem at all. For best results, strip the stem down, remove the foliage, and you are ready to rock and roll."
"Number 9 on our list is of course ornamental grasses. Now here we have some beautiful Panicum Northwind, available from Marginpar. The ornamental grass category is a huge one, including gorgeous things like Setaria and Miscanthus. And the great thing is that these grasses are incredibly on trend right now. Used in all manners of floral designs and compositions. From installations and bridal bouquets, to table centre pieces. You name it and we can use them. My favourites include Panicums, for example the gorgeous fountain grass, the sparkling variety, is very pretty. I am also a big fan of Chasmanthium. There are so many different gorgeous ornamental grasses that you can use, which of course provide texture and lightness and height within the
design, and of course they last incredibly well too. I often say that you can ‘bake’ a good ornamental grass at gas mark 5 for 20 minutes and it will come out looking fresh as a penny. It is something that you do not need to worry about at all. Now if you are new to grasses and you don’t really know where to start, I suggest some good Panicum is a good place to begin. For example you can start off with a fantastic Panicum Northwind, or for example Miscanthus White Cloud, which is another favourite of mine too. Just be sure, if you do want them to be nice and fluffy, to give them a little bit of time to open. You can often find them available in a ton of different lengths too, so make sure you purchase the right length for the project that you are doing, to make sure you get the maximum benefit from this wonderful long-lasting floral material."
If you want them nice and fluffy, give them a little time to open
"Now of course you know that I could not round off a top ten of waterless floral materials without including Gypsophila. This one is Gypsophila Xlence®. It is just so fluffy and its heads are so big and it is so gorgeous. I think it just triumphs as the best Gypsophila available on the market right now. Gorgeous nice full heads, lasts incredibly well out of water, and it is just such a handy one for its gorgeous fluffy texture, beloved by brides all
over the world. Now Gypsophila can be a little bit love/hate. I mean, five-ten years ago it was definitely more in the hate category, but nowadays it is becoming cooler and cooler. And so many more of my clients are asking me for Gypsophila to be included, or for Gypsophila to be the main floral used within our design to create that gorgeous lovely, soft heavenly feel. Gypsophila will last a good 12 hours out of water, no issue whatsoever. Spray very lightly with a little bit of water and you are on to a winner."
Gypsophila can really create that gorgeous lovely, soft heavenly feel
"Now that concludes my top 10 for waterless floral materials. I hope it has been helpful, I hope it has been useful. And the next time you are creating your own floral installation, I hope you will consider using some of these waterless blooms, out of water of course, to make your life easier and make your installation more fabulous and make it last for the full duration of the event, without any hassle, and without any anxiety either."
This article is based on a video tutorial by Joseph. Watch it here:
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