Stunning on their own, grouped together or among other flowers, there is nothing quite like a Peony. Cultivated for over 2,000 years and prized by flower lovers, Peonies are timeless. They we’re voted by Sydney for Aleena’s bouquet when we did the Morning Show Luxury Wedding. We can’t get enough of them, it’s no wonder that Peony’s are our brides most desired wedding flower.
There are many different varieties of Peonies, the more popular varieties are the double forms. Peonies come in either a single form with 5 or more petals and a fluffy yellow centre or in a double form with ruffled petals.
Colours include white, pink (most fragrant blooms), peach, scarlet red and dark maroons, as well as a rare yellow.
The only problem with these gorgeous flowers is that the flowering season is so short. Peonies bloom in Australia in late October and November for roughly five weeks. (May to June for Northern-Hemisphere) So for the rest of the year, here’s our guide on substitute flowers.
David Austin Rose (English Rose & Varities)
Availability: October to May
Colours: white/cream, red, orange, yellow, purple, pink
The very fragrant David Austin Rose is often mistaken for the Peony, although it’s bloom is about third of the size smaller than the Peony. The David Austin Rose and other English Rose varieties are often a short lived flower. Each colour of the David Austin Rose encompasses a unique scent with it’s petals opening up to reveal a beautifully ruffled centre. It is also important to note that the David Austin Rose are quite a fragile flower with thin stems, so they are mostly used for bouquets.
Availability: late August to November
Colours: white / cream, red, brown, orange, yellow, pink
With over 400 species only one Ranunculus variety, Ranunculus asiaticus, is used in floristry. Also known as the Persian Buttercup, the beautiful vibrant and intense colours of Ranunculus flowers are perfect for a pop of colour to your wedding theme. The texture and the shape is also quite similar and often mistaken for the peony when open, but like the David Austin the bloom is smaller in size than the Peony. It’s paper thin petals form in a circular fashion giving them a slightly more unique look and many open to reveal black or green flower centres that contrast beautifully with their vivid petals. Ranunculus looks best when paired with other seasonal blooms. The white Ranunculus is particularly a great substitute for David Austin Roses and Peonies as they flower earlier in Spring.
Double Flowering Tulips & Open Tulips
Availability: June to September (although it is also possible to import them during the other months)
Colours: yellow, white, red, burgendy, purple, pinks, orange, multicoloured
It’s said a Tulip of any colour means ‘perfect lover’ while red tulips mean ‘a declaration of love’. While your classic tulip (left) doesn’t bear much resemblance to the beautiful Peony with it’s petals closed, as the flower opens up to reveal it’s beautiful centre, you will change your mind. However, Double-Flowering Tulip varieties are often called ‘Peony-flowering Tulips’ because of their unmistakable resemblance to the Peony. Known for their elegance and sophistication an open or double flowering tulip variety makes a lovely substitute for the Peony especially as they are plentiful in the Winter Months, and it is often available to import during the other months. Tulips grow toward sunlight resulting in curved, bendy stems which can be mistaken for the blooms wilting or weeping, but the direction of the growth will be changed by turning the arrangement around.
Availability: Year Round
Colours: white / cream, pink, purple, lilac, yellow, green
If you’re after a soft and romantic look, Lisianthus is your pick. The beautiful ruffled bell-shaped blooms are easily mistaken for a rose or Peony variety when in full bloom but is a much hardier flower, lasting a few weeks when cut. Lisianthus boasts multiple blossoms and buds per stem. Their tall stems make for elegant additions to bouquets and centrepieces and with blooms of about 3 inches they create a soft unique look to the traditional rose buttonhole.
Availability: Year Round
Colours: white / cream, red, orange, yellow, pink, blue, and striped varieties
Not a common wedding flower, Carnations are a low budget alternative to Peonies and have been slowly making a comeback over the past few years. In previous years Carnations have had the stigma of being filler flowers and synonymous with ‘petrol shop’ flowers. The Carnation bloom is much smaller than the Peony, but bundled together Carnations take on a new and larger ruffled form. On their own they create a unique textured look, but particularly as Peony substitute a few Carnations bundled together among other beautiful flowers in your bouquet will look stunning. Carnations also handle hot summers well. In the Language of Flowers a red carnation means “divine love”, a solid colour means ‘yes’, perfect for a wedding!
Other great flower substitutes include: Dahlia which blooms over Summer and Chrystanthums!
Let us know what your favourite is in the comments below!