Author: Emma Bishop
Are you looking to go a little wild with your wedding? A Utah wildflower or two is a great way to reflect some of the state’s natural beauty in your nuptials. Most Utah wedding venues are perfect for the wildflower look. Here are our top six native wildflower picks for you to include in your wedding arrangements. Because it is illegal to pick wildflowers from public lands, find many of these blossoms in yards of friends and family involved with your wedding plans. You could also seek a special permit for picking wildflowers in Utah.
These beautiful wildflower blossoms are a wedding favorite, but you’ll have to go a bit off the beaten path to find the wild variety. Find these gems at your local garden center. If you don’t have time to plant and grow them, seek friends and neighbors who may be willing to give you some blooms for your wedding. There are several different types, with some blooming in the spring and others in the fall. Colors include white, red, pink, and yellow, and they make a charming addition to any bouquet. Pasqueflower (or anemone patens) is native to Utah, and it’s one of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring.
2. Blazing Star or Liatris Wildflower
You can find blazing stars growing wild in meadows and prairies across Utah. It is such a beloved native Utah plant that it has found its way into many Utah gardens, probably in your neighborhood. Ask around! The feathery purple flowers bloom in summer on the plant’s long and stately spike. It’s a popular wedding flower since it adds vertical interest to bouquets, centerpieces, and other arrangements. Dried blazing star works beautifully in floral crowns, wreaths, and garlands. Again, many Utah gardeners use this in their perennial beds.
The common sunflower is one of five species of sunflowers native to Utah. It’s also the one that produces those favorite seeds on which we enjoy snacking. If you get engaged in winter or spring, and are planning a fall wedding, pick up a packet of seeds to plant, and you’ll have lots of blooms in time for your celebration. Western Gardens has a wide array of seeds that do well in our Utah climate and soil. A word of warning: These wildflowers depend on bees to pollinate them and produce sunflowers. You’ll often find male bees resting on the flower heads, and it’s the females that sting.
4. Western Coneflower
This member of the sunflower family grows in Utah’s mountain meadows. It has a brownish-dark purple cone with green leaves at the base. Use it as a unique touch for taller arrangements or to add a rustic flair to your bouquet. It blooms from midsummer to fall and will hold its looks for a long time as part of a dried arrangement. Many Utah gardeners plant varieties of this in their gardens. Also known as Echinacea which comes in various colors. The most common is the Purple Coneflower. A quality local garden center like Western Gardens carries a good selection in different colors – white, orange, red, yellow, and of course, purple.
5. Yarrow Wildflower
Yarrow is a perfect match for almost any type of flower. It features small, flat heads of tiny flowers and fern-like green foliage. We see a lot of the non-native baby’s breath at our wedding receptions, but white yarrow could be a wonderful substitute. The most common colors are yellow, white, pink, and red. Yarrow can last up to five days after it’s cut. It’s heat tolerant so that it won’t wilt during outdoor ceremonies and receptions. According to folk legend, hanging the yarrow used in your wedding above your bed will ensure lasting love. Yarrow is also a hypoallergenic wildflower because it produces less histamine than other blooms. Your local independent garden nursery should have a good selection.
6. Sego Lily
Utah’s state flower is the perfect choice to show your state pride and give your wedding a homey touch. However, this is a true wildflower since it doesn’t transplant or grow well in lower altitudes. These sweet blooms are difficult to find, but you may see them along the arid West roadways and mountain valleys at altitudes between 5,000 and 8,000 feet. Because they are not common, leave the plants in nature. The bulb does not like to be disturbed and will die; therefore, the Sego Lily can be tough to grow in the garden, but you can try by seeking seeds from some native-plant societies and other online sources. The sego lily prefers hot, dry conditions and sandy soil.
While Utah is the beehive state and we welcome pollinator-attracting flowers in the garden, you probably don’t want bees buzzing your wedding. You may want to choose flowers that either don’t attract or repel bees. Roses and Red Penstemon work well.
Native wildflowers are an eco-friendly choice for your festivities because many thrive here naturally. Since they don’t need to be cultivated in a greenhouse or shipped from far away, they could also save you money. Check with your family and friends about their yards to see if they would donate to your beautiful day.
So let loose and embrace a bit of your wild side by going native with your wedding flowers.
About the Author:
Emma Bishop is a lifestyle and design writer, and mother of two beautiful girls. She is a social butterfly and loves to entertain guests at home with beautifully decorated spaces for any occasion.