flowers a-zsarah from blossom and branch

flowers a-z: w is for wax flower

by SarahB

Well, it really seems official now, with the crisp weather and the pumpkins cropping up everywhere. Welcome to fall! The flowers at the market seem to be changing faster than the leaves on the trees. Along with the great bounty of deep magentas, rich browns and warm oranges, I found this sunny yellow wax flower, just in time for the letter “w.” “W” is for wax flower! Wax flower grows on the Chamelaucium shrub, which is native to Western Australia (and is now cultivated in similar semi-arid climates, like California and Israel).

Wax flower gets its name from the tough, waxy feel of the tiny flowers. It smells pine-y fresh and wonderful, especially when the stems are broken or the petals are crushed. Wax flower comes in basic white and pink colors, and the yellow I have selected here is — horrors — actually dyed! Although I typically shy away from dyed flowers (I tend to think they look tragic), these happy little wax branches made me smile. So I broke one of my own cardinal rules. I do this sometimes.

Adorable wax blooms settled into a teacup.

As you can see, wax can absolutely stand alone as a fabulous bouquet plunked in a galvanized tin or a bronze pot or frankly any vessel that suits you. As we transition into the cooler months, I envision cozy nesting and bringing people into the home. A sweet idea would be to use wax flower in wildflower bouquets, which can become a gift for your dinner guests, a favor for a luncheon or bridal shower or special additions to jars and containers distributed throughout your home.

Follow along with me after the jump as I demonstrate some easy, breezy wildflower bouquets. — Sarah

The full post continues after the jump…

Clockwise: brown sunflower, purple ageratum, mauve scabiosa, scabiosa buds, yellow wax flower, chamomile, lavender, purple freesia, mimosa leaves and pink zinnia

I selected a range of seasonal purple and pink wildflowers with pops of white and brown for texture.

Gathering together a wildflower bouquet means using a few strong elements (such as the woody wax flowers) to create a structure and building from there. Grab a few wax flowers and hold them in your non-dominant hand. Hold them firmly, but allow some room to maneuver. Begin adding more delicate blooms to the mix.

To create a round shape, continually twist the bouquet around in your hand. As you rotate the bouquet, fill in each space that opens up. To create a one-sided look, simply arrange blooms to peek slightly higher in the back and gradually scale down in the front. No need to rotate the bouquet for a one-sided look.

A lovely abundance of autumn wildflowers!

Tie each bouquet with a little raffia or a similarly casual wrap.

You can create several of these little beauties in no time.

Choose a long and low tin or similar container to display your designs.

All together, the bouquets look like a glorious field of wildflowers. This would be great in the center of a buffet table or placed by the door as a little take-home treat for guests.

Enjoy the first sights and fragrances of fall, and join me back here in two weeks when “x” (the end of the alphabet is rather a challenge!) will be for . . .

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  • Such cute little wax flowers! I love little greeneries and think they can be the star of the show sometimes! I did my wedding almost entirely in greens and it was (in my opinion) fantastic!

  • these flowers are just lovely!! i love the eclectic mix. They don’t have a typical fall feel (IE orange!) but that’s why I love them all the more. The darker maroon flowers give that hint at fall and pull it all together. love it!

  • are these common in most markets or florists? if not, where can i get them? they are perfect for my Fall party next week!

  • Love them! We actually just had a little bouquet in the bathroom until last week.

    Katelyn, I’m not sure where you live, but here in NYC most of our little bodegas and corner markets seem to have them, so they’re pretty common.

  • Hi All! @katelyn, wax flower is actually a fairly common “green” for a florist to stock. Depending where you are, things like freesia, chamomile, lavender, sunflowers should definitely be around. Some florists or markets don’t carry the brown sunflowers but the regular and teddy bear versions are more common. Scabiosa is a bit hit or miss, but a great substitute could be anemones, which are just starting to come into season. Zinnea are on the way out, but you could use gerbera daisies in their place (readily available). And none of these blooms are terribly expensive!

  • Another great thing about Wax Flower is that, when rubbed between your fingers, it smells like lemon. So yummy & refreshing!

  • I live in Australia and saw a yellow bunch of these at the market last week, which I had never seen before (I knew the purple/pink and white ones). I din’t realise that they were dyed! I bought a bunch, which have filled my living room and have been such happy flowers – they even still look good as they dry out!

  • What a great and unexpected mix. I never would’ve thought of it (which is why I come here). But it’s like the perfect transition from Summer to Fall in a bouquet.

  • Ohh. I love that your featured the Geraldton Wax!! Which is what we Western Australian’s actually call the flower;) What a beautiful sight to see (although I too have never seen them dyed and yellow!!) I miss it (I don’t live in WA anymore), it’s my favourite flower along with the Japanese cherry blossom which looks very similar actually! I grew up with a huge, pale violet Geradlton Wax tree in my backyard and it always looked a tree full of fair dresses, straight out the Ida Rentoul Outhwaite’s GORGEOUS Australian bush fairy children’s poetry books. Look them up! Many Australian girls will remember this still popular classic from their childhoods!

  • I am from WA (Western Australia) and must admit when I saw the Geraldton Wax dyed yellow my first thought was shock-horror! Why would you want to deviate from the beautiful pink and mauves and even white wax you can find naturally?! But the yellow is kinda cool. A more beautiful (natural) yellow is our Golden Wattle, absolutely stunning when in flower. Also the yellow Geleznowia is rather funky. A bonus is, apart from the amazing diversity of natives we have here, they all last for absolutely ages when cut and put in a vase! Other Western Australian natives that are beautiful enough to paint are Dryandra, Grevillea, Banksia, Weeping Gum (my favourite!), and of course the elegant Kangaroo Paw. The wildflower season in WA is from July to October, and is considered one of the top botanical wonders of the world apparently.

  • The weather here just took a turn for the worst so it looks like wax flowers may be the only option for me (if I decide to have flowers in my home this fall). Thanks for the tip here!

  • To follow on from Katie above, while West Australia does have lots of lovely native flowers, and have been marketing them better for years, all of Australia has different (to non-Australia) flowers, many versions of those Katie mentions, and many others: Boronia, Hakea, native mint bush, christmas bells, heath, leatherwood, and a zillion others – but do look them up!

  • The thing is, in this case the dyed flowers don’t look unnatural… unlike the neon green carnations at the grocery store!

    I love finding brown sunflowers at the farmer’s market… hopefully they’ll have some this week! These bouquets are gorgeous.

  • I adore these bouquets. I found it shocking that they are dyed because like Rachel M said, usually dyed flowers look so unnatural! These are quite lovely though. The pink/purple against the yellow is so eye catching. I think this would be so beautiful as wedding bouquets. @houseofearnest, I would have loved to see your wedding greenery! My flowers for formal were mostly all greens and I thought it was such a different, yet elegant take on a formal bouquet. Love it!