In recent years, we’ve seen a massive increase in the use of pampas grass at weddings. Search ‘pampas grass’ on Pinterest and you’ll be inundated with images of how well it’s used to create height, texture and drama to wedding installations, often alongside dried palms (as featured above). It’s also been a popular choice amongst couples wanting to stick to a neutral colour scheme.
There has been growing concern amongst sustainable florists however, over the use of pampas grass in weddings. So we did some digging and discovered there is indeed a dark side to this ornamental grass ….
Did you know pampas grass is a noxious weed? (Translation: a weed that has been recognised by a governing authority as being harmful to agricultural or horticultural crops, natural habitats or ecosystems, humans or livestock). Pampas grass destroys native vegetation, is a fire hazard and harbours vermin (yikes!).
Nardine from WA based Scentiment Flowers is passionate about sustainable floral practises and would love to see more couples using alternatives to pampas grass such as toetoe, silvergrass, cycad palms, lovegrass and purple fountain grass. She is also encouraging all couples to ask their florists for more information on what is legal in their state (the use of pampas grass is actually banned in NSW, with hefty fines involved). Rural florists are particularly aware as they see firsthand the terrible impact of noxious weeds in their own communities.
VIC wedding florist Vanessa from Prunella suggests adding in dried elements such as baby breath or dried hydrangeas en masse to give texture and still achieve a neutral tone. She also suggests Corokia, a native NZ plant that dries really well and adds texture, height and drama.
These plants are a great substitute as they don’t harm our native environment and still look spectacular (to be honest, we can hardly even tell the difference between pampas grass and toetoe which is native to NZ).
Most florists are committed to doing the right thing, so just make it clear from your initial conversations that you don’t want to use pampas grass (or any noxious weeds) in your wedding styling and they will be able to offer some great alternatives like the ones pictured below.
If you’re keen to find out more ways to host an eco-friendly wedding click here.
6 Alternatives To Pampas Grass
- Toetoe (or Toitoi)
- Cycad Palm
- Purple Fountain Grass
Botanical name: Miscanthus. Common name: Silvergrass.
Botanical name: Cycas Revoluta. Common name: Cycad Palm.
Botanical name: Austroderia. Common name: Toetoe.
(Left) Botanical name: Eragrostis. Common name: Lovegrass. (Right) Botanical name: Corokia. Common name: Wire-Netting Bush.
Botanical name: Pennisetum Setaceum Rubrum. Common name: Purple Fountain Grass.
Featured photography by Bianca Virtue.
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