The Atlantic

Are Commercial Wildflowers Ever Truly 'Wild'?

Many florists want blooms that are hardy enough to travel and available year-round—which usually means human help is required.
Source: Rachel Andre

The roses looked pathetic. When shipped to the florist I worked at during high school, they arrived wadded together and smashed into four-foot-long boxes. The lisianthuses, however, looked as alive as I imagined they did when still in the ground. Each stalk showcased multiple purple or pink blossoms emerging from foliage in various states of bloom, as if being picked had interrupted each flower halfway through a stirring monologue. Every stem looked fresh, unique and, well, wild.

That’s what brides thought of lisianthus, too. Ideal for wedding fantasies of haphazard but conveniently beautiful bouquets, the florist billed lisianthus as wildflowers. But they must have come from greenhouses. The wholesale suppliers guaranteed a year-round lisianthus supply (its blooming season is June to September) to my Illinois florist (it’s native to Mexico and the Western United States). Odds are there wasn’t one man sprinting to his yard and harvesting a bundle every time

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