Designing with South African Flowers

A bounty full of unique flowers

By: THURSD. | 07-04-2024 | 4 min read

Immediately Catching the Eye

South Africa's position on the world map, together with its moderate climate, brings a bounty full of unique flowers that immediately catch the eye when used in a floral arrangement. Besides their unique decoration value, these flowers are also known for their long vase life. Designing with flowers from South Africa give this different kind of twist to your floral arrangements, from very big to very small. Flowers like protea or nutans stand out right away, where modest fillers such as brunia turn a regular piece into an exclusive work of art.


Of course, when you think of flowers from South Africa, perhaps the first to pop into your mind is the protea, where it also goes by its nickname sugarbush. No wonder, because this is the most popular flower from the country. Protea comes in many guises.

A robust beauty - that’s the best way to describe Protea. With its ingenious orange and pink bracts, mysterious heart (the flower), and sturdy stem, it’s hard to overlook them. That’s why this flower is so well-suited to putting on a solo display in an attractive vase. But it also seizes its opportunity to shine in a bouquet. The colors range from pale to dark pink, with white and saffron tones around the flower. Its appeal is purely visual - it leaves a scent for other flowers to fulfill. Text by: Funnyhowflowersdothat


Serruria, a.k.a. protea Blushing Bride, is one of the most sought after wedding flowers. These are truly one of a kind. Think of a tropical peony, and you get the serruria, which is actually a member of the Proteaceae, endemic to South Africa.

Pointed petals that range from ivory-white to pale green to pale pink, open to reveal a blush center, hint the name, Blushing Bride. Combine with cymbidiums and spider chrysants for a tropical bouquet or combine with ranunculus and orlaya flowers for a romantic bouquet. Designing with South African Flowers


Leucospermum is related to Protea, and the resemblance is clear, with its extravagant and enthusiastic stalks. This South African bloomer is officially called Leucospermum cordifolium, but many call this flower nutans as well. Luckily we can just call it pincushion protea. As you can see, the name pincushion refers to the manner in which it flowers. The fabulous flower looks a bit spiky initially, but it’s soon revealed to have not pins, but extravagant and enthusiastic flower stalks.

Although originally orange, the flower now also comes in ochre, lemon, and a reddish color. The sturdy leaves are slightly hairy and point upwards along the stem. The leaf is coated with a thin layer of wax as protection against the salty sea wind... although it probably doesn’t need it indoors.

Designing with South African Flowers
Ikebana with Leucospermum by Denis Ikebana Lyon

Text by: Funnyhowflowersdothat


Brunia is an evergreen shrub. It has highly textured woody stems. Each stem is made up of leaves that resemble short pine needles. It is also referred to as silver brunia or silver balls. This name refers to the berries or baubles produced by the plant. The balls grow in clusters.

Most often, the berries come in the color silver. Sometimes it can have a purple tint or greenish hue. What is unique about the plant is that the berries and stems are usually the same color. Many people love putting this hardy plant in fresh bouquets. It can last up to a week in a vase of water. Also, it dries perfectly for long term use.

Designing with South African Flowers
Floral design with brunia Silver

It has quickly become a traditional wedding essential. Many Brides choose to incorporate the silver berry into table decorations, bouquets, and boutonnieres. Brunia is so fantastic because you can plop it randomly anywhere and it always looks like it has an important role to play! Add these guys in your next arrangement and see for yourself!


Dried flowers of the genus Helichrysum are said to last forever, hence they are also referred to as everlastings, immortals, or sewejaartjies (seven years). There are about 600 species worldwide, and more than 240 occur in southern Africa. This flower is often used in dried floral arrangements.

Designing with South African Flowers Growing up to 1m tall, this compact, much-branched shrublet has soft woody stems and branches and a thick covering of grey-woolly hairs that feels like felt. The densely crowded leaves are erect and narrowly oblong, usually about 5-8mm wide. Towards the branch tips, the leaves give way to narrow, dry bracts and finally to a solitary, conical flowerhead about 20mm wide.



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