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Are Fresh Cut Flowers Safe To Use On Wedding Cakes?

Fresh Flowers on Wedding CakeAsk the Expert: Placing fresh cut flowers on wedding cakes My customer would like a cake topper with florals, and many flowers cascading at an angle around the cake. Is it safe to place the stem in to the cake and well as the flower resting on the cake icing?

How do you begin to charge for this.

Thanks Pat

Flower Shop Network Expert Reply:

Answering the question “What is an edible flower?” isn’t easy. The answer can vary even within a particular bloom depending on the way it was grown and processed. The strongest factor is that the flower can not be inherently poisonous. This doesn’t mean that the flower necessarily tastes good.

The best way I can answer your question is to first clarify the difference between edible flowers and flowers that are safe to use on wedding cakes.

Edible flowers are those flowers that are safe to consume. These flowers are grown specifically for human consumption and will be organically grown or treated with safe pesticides only.  This does not mean everyone can eat them. Just as with certain foods, some people may be allergic to the flowers.

Petals are usually the edible part of the flower, however this isn’t necessarily true. Always verify which part of the flower is edible. Remember even edible flowers should be eaten in moderation.

One rule of thumb when preparing edible flowers is to remove the pistil and stamen before eating the flower.

Flowers safe to use on wedding cakes are used strictly as a garnish and for decoration. Although these are non-poisonous flowers, they are not necessarily organically grown and therefore should not be eaten. It is extremely important to washed the flowers thoroughly before using them. It is important to have a barrier between these flowers and the cake. NEVER place a flower stem directly into the wedding cake!

Many wedding florists use specially designed holders when placing flowers on the cake. These holders give florists the ability to arrange flowers in the cake without exposing the the cake directly to the flower.  They also make it easier to remove the flowers when serving the cake.   

A good rule of thumb for selecting wedding cake flowers is “When in doubt leave it out!”

Below is a list of common edible flowers:

Bachelor button Bee balm Borage
Calendula Chamomile Chive flowers
Chrysanthemum Dandelion Daylily
Dianthus Fuchsia Gardenia
Gladiolus Hibiscus Hollyhock
Impatiens Lilac Marigold
Mint Nasturtium Pansy
Roses Sage Squash blossom
Snapdragon Sunflower Violet

Hopefully this list will help you get started. Remember any flower not certified as organic should be used only as decoration and not eaten.

To learn more about edible flowers read NC State University’s Edible Flowers article. I also found information about this subject on the National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service site’s Edible Flowers pages.

Do not use the following poisonous flowers:

Azalea Belladonna Calla Lily
Crocus Foxglove Hyacinth
Larkspur Lily-of-the-Valley Rhododendron

The lists above are just an abbreviated list of the non-toxic and toxic flowers available. Check with your local extension services or horticultural departments for a more in-depth reference.

This flower question was brought to you by the local florists in Kansas City.


  1. This sight should be read by florists and brides, as well as the cakebaker.

  2. jen Miller says:

    Hi there, I’m a florist in Washington State and i’m going to be doing the flowers for a wedding in September, I’m curious if I can use freesia and lily grass on the cake. Thank you, Jen

  3. Both are moderately toxic and can cause upset stomachs if ingested. My recommendation would be to not use these flowers, or make sure they do not touch any part of the cake that will be consumed.

  4. Fern Tabelon says:

    What about dusty miler leaves and lisianthus flower? Are they safe to use as cake decors?

  5. Jamie Woods says:

    While neither of these plants is considered poisonous, they can cause upset stomachs if consumed. If you decide to use them as cake decor, make sure they do not touch any part of the cake that will be consumed. Often times there are special holders that can be used to put the flowers in for decorating a cake.

  6. Thank you for your response Jamie. If I use floral picks will this help? Will the leaf or the petal touching the cake cause any problem?

  7. Jamie Woods says:

    I would definitely use the floral picks. You can also place a layer of waxed paper under the flowers to ensure they do not touch any part of the cake that will be consumed. If the flowers you are using are not organic and pesticide free, it would be best to not let any part of the flowers touch the actual cake. I have also seen florists and cake decorators add extra frosting where the flowers go, and then remove that frosting when removing the flowers prior to serving the cake. No matter what you decide, do not stick bare flower stems directly into the cake.

  8. Thank you Jamie.

  9. Jamie Woods says:

    You’re welcome. Let me know if I can help in any other ways!

  10. Hi Jamie,
    What about Nandina leaves? What about grape leaves and vine?
    Thank you for your usual help.

  11. Fern,
    Grape leaves would be ok. I wouldn’t use nandina leaves.

  12. What about seeded eucalyptus? Wax flower? Are garden roses edible as well?

  13. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Katie,
    For any fresh flowers going on a cake that are not edible, or are edible, but not organic, do not let the flowers touch any part of the cake that will be eaten. The petals of a garden rose are considered edible, but only if they have been organically grown. Seeded eucalyptus should not be used on a cake, and while wax flowers are not considered toxic, it would probably be best to leave them off. There are ways to use fresh flowers on cakes. The key is to have a barrier between the flowers and the part of the cake that will be eaten.

  14. I used grape leaves (from a friend’s vine which were not exposed to pesticides) to line the sides of the cake where I positioned the fresh flowers. The dark green added to the visual appeal. I used flower picks or wrapped the stems with tin foil. Thanks again for your advices Jamie.

  15. Dawn Osgerby says:

    I have a bride wanting a Hawaiian theme and wants bird of paradise and anthurium lily would anyone know if these are ok?

  16. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Dawn,
    I would not allow either of these flowers to come into direct contact with any part of the cake.

  17. Carina Lancaster says:

    I’ve read your article about flowers that are ‘safe’ for decorating, just wondering about some common leaves that might be safe for decorating purposes only?

  18. Donna Hall says:

    What vines or greenery are safe to use on a weddding cake. My bride wants only something like Italian rescue. No flowers, just greenery. Do you have a suggestion?

  19. Donna Hall says:

    Sorry I hate auto correct! Italian ruscus is what I meant!

  20. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Carina,
    What leaves are you looking into using? No matter if they are flowers or leaves, if they are going to come into direct contact with edible parts of the cake, they should be organic so they are free of any chemicals. Your best bet will be to place a layer of wax paper, or a layer of fondant that can be removed under the leaves.

  21. Jamie Woods says:

    It’s hard to say for sure which specific greenery will be safe. Grape leaves/vines would probably be safe. I’m not sure on the Italian Ruscus. I can’t find a definitive answer. Whatever you end up using, always make sure that it has been grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides if it’s going to be placed directly on the cake. If you aren’t sure, I would use something to create a barrier between the greenery and the edible parts of the cake, like wax paper or an added layer of icing/fondant that can be removed prior to eating the cake.

  22. Where can I find edible flowers

  23. What about dahlias? I have a bride that would like burgundy flowers (roses, dahlias or ‘the like’). Thanks

  24. Jamie Woods says:

    For dahlias, you will need to make sure there is a barrier between the flower and the parts of the cake that will be eaten.

  25. Kathy Washam says:

    Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any approach you’ll be able to remove me from that service? Thanks!

  26. Jamie Woods says:

    I would look for an unsubscribe button/message in one of the emails.

  27. I would like to use home grown zinnas, no chemicals applies, as decorations for a cake. If I wrap the stems in foil before putting the flowers on the cake, it it safe. They will be removed for eating. Thanks!

  28. Hi Jamie,
    would Hydrangea flowers be a yes or no?

  29. What supplies would be best to use to place real flowers on cakes? Any brands or sites you can reccomend for the floral tape or tubing? Anything really. I’m a DIY bride need help!!!

  30. Does anyone know if Eucalyptus leaves are safe to put on cakes?

  31. Miroslava Casiano says:

    Hi Tanya! Hydrangeas are actually toxic to humans if ingested. If you try out any of the flowers we listed, be sure to get blooms that are organically grown :)

  32. Miroslava Casiano says:

    Zinnias are non-toxic, so if they are organically grown and are removed from the cake before eating it, there shouldn’t be a problem.

  33. Miroslava Casiano says:

    Tanelle, eucalyptus leaves are poisonous to humans and animals. We wouldn’t recommend you put them on a cake just in case someone actually ends up eating one of the leaves. Some symptoms caused by eating eucalyptus leaves are nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

  34. Miroslava Casiano says:

    Hi Gloria! Here’s a good website we recommend if you’re looking for floral tape or anything related to flowers –> http://www.fgmarket.com/ All you need to do is type in the products your looking for at the top or select Floral on the navigation to browse the categories :)

  35. Would it be safe to use ferns on the cake if applied appropriately? I was going to use them as fillers along with roses. Thanks!

  36. Miroslava Casiano says:

    Sarah, some species of fern are toxic, so we would recommend that you handle with care. One species of fern that is non-poisonous is Boston Fern, also known as Sword Fern.

  37. Pat Mitchell says:

    Can I use the white Daisy’s I have planted in my yard? No pesticides have been used on them although pesticides are used on grass near flower bed. Also are the plant in the snapdragon family called archangel a flower free of poison? I also have those in my flower garden and would like to use the one that is predominately white along with the greenery attached on both. Thank you. Oh I plan to wrap stems around and at bottom of stem and maybe put in plastic straw before putting in cake.

  38. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Pat,
    Daisies, which are part of the chrysanthemum family, could potentially cause skin irritation. The yellow archangel plant is possibly edible.

  39. Jenny Knodell-Friese says:

    Hello! Is baby’s breath ok to use on a wedding cake? Looking to add some on the bottom and top tiers. I’m assuming it will also need to be grown organically without chemicals? Thank you so much!

  40. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Jenny,
    I would advise you not to use baby’s breath on a cake. If some of it is ingested, then it could cause vomiting or diarrhea.


  1. […] Fresh flowers can instantly make a cake look beautiful and they look far better than artificial man-made decorations (but please always check they’re edible before throwing them onto your cake). […]

  2. […] are non-toxic because they are obviously going onto something that is going to be eaten.  Here is a list of flowers that are safe to use while cake decorating.  Next, you’re going to want to wash off your […]

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  4. […] DO NOT use poisonous flowers on cakes. Check here or here to make sure the flowers you want to use are food […]

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