In what feels like a major Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense moment, we're sensing death all around us — but instead of seeing people, we're seeing flowers. And we're not afraid... we’re enchanted. From dried, whispy pampas grass to lifeless but delightful bunny tails, these dead blooms are everywhere and they're totally changing what we thought we knew about florals.
We started detecting the rising popularity of an inanimate aesthetic on (where else?) Instagram, where all kinds of flowers were being resurrected in the form of bundles, arrangements, bouquets, and event decor. Kelsie Hayes, founder of the NYC-based Popup Florist, has fully leaned into the dead trend, most recently creating a bouquet bar for a Jimmy Choo soirée that was essentially a chic graveyard of bleached Ruscus and strawflowers. She even decided to stick to dried florals exclusively for her pop-up shop at Neiman Marcus. According to the Caspia-loving Hayes, it's the low-maintenance, long-lasting nature of this floral category that appeals to her busy clients, allowing for her to source diverse options from all over the world. It's an interesting shift from the traditional purpose of buying flowers as a way of bringing the freshness of outdoors into the home.
"Our clients seem to travel a lot and want the decor, but aren’t necessarily going to be home enough to enjoy fresh flowers, which makes dried a great alternative," Hayes explains. She also suggests considering dried arrangements as gifts because your recipient can enjoy their bunch for longer without the pressure of hydrating them right away. It's also a trend that extends far beyond the vase, as we've seen with crafty cake toppers, bridal headpieces, and vibrant artwork made from dried petals and stems. Plants are getting a similar treatment, with preserved ferns and other botanicals available for order online.
We spoke to a representative from the ultimate house-meets-garden destination, Terrain, about how these fragile, dried materials are packed to resist breakage when in transit for delivery. "Preserved botanicals are delicate by nature so we have a process of wrapping and layering each one carefully during shipping so that they arrive safely and ready to display," explains associate green goods buyer Erin Sweeney. Over at the popular flower shop Bridalwish, floral stylist and Etsy seller Selin Soysa secures her delicate floral designs by sticking them to the inner box and fills the space around it with tissue paper and an air pillow so nothing moves around. She's even happy to share an image to put anxious brides at ease knowing their orders are in top shape en route for their big day.
So when it comes to seeing (and purchasing) dead flowers, there's really nothing to be afraid of. Ahead, experience a floral funeral of sorts with a range of dried styles to get started on your own bouquet.
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