Unconventional Bouquets and Centerpieces

A San Francisco florist gives the inside scoop on what’s hot in botanicals.

Within the airy industrial building of Heath Ceramics in San Francisco is a tiny flower stall, La Fleuriste. On the flower cart are pops of colors of ranunculus, dahlias, anemones, and scents of blooming jasmine, of chocolate cosmos, of tuberose, and of other floral surprises.

The person who selects the blooms for La Fleuriste, Lidia Sadoun, is also one of the go-to floral designers in the city. She pretties up tech offices for events, outfits tabletops at charities, and decks out brides, grooms, best men and women, and cake tables.

Her work may be pretty and pinnable, but it’s also demanding. For one thing, her hands get hammered—“hawthorns have the gnarliest thorns,” she says. And sleeping in? Dream on. Although Sadoun does get to sleep ’til 5 a.m. on occasion. But on other mornings, she’s up at 2 to get first dibs on garden roses, rare imports, and new varieties that don’t last long at the San Francisco Flower Mart.

Sadoun knows how long a rose takes to open—“it depends on the variety; some take one to two days, others take up to four”—and which flowers wilt fast (gardenias, zinnias, and hydrangeas). Armed with that knowledge, she plans her week flower by flower. And what a portfolio of prettiness! Sadoun shares what’s trending in botanicals and shows off some of her unusually gorgeous creations.

Unconventional varieties. People like a surprise, so Sadoun selects a few when they are available, like the fritillaria, poppy pods, clematis, and hellebores.

bouquetPhoto by Grace Havlak

Repurposed look. Event planners and couples like the idea of plants that can be repotted, rather than thrown away. Succulents are one such variety.


Unusual containers, aka “not your typical vase.” Sadoun notes that wedding couples have given her items that are meaningful to use as holders for flowers. She also likes to use what she finds at flea markets and antique shops, such as Moroccan-etched tea glasses and colanders.

fleuriste-lacocina-colanderPhoto by Josh Gruetzmacher

Rustic elegance. It’s not just a bouquet of roses anymore. “It’s what you put with those flowers that defines rustic and elegant, such as rosemary, chervil, or sage.”

lidia-lacocina3Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Tillandsias, aka air plants, and herbs. Air plants add great texture. Meanwhile, herbs are pretty, rustic, and fragrant.

fleuriste-succulents-weddingPhotos by Larissa Cleveland