image of small posy flowers bouquet of pink roses with two gold wedding bands

Posy Flowers: Their History and Modern Uses

At The Flower Farm we love flowers no matter the arrangement or bouquet style. But we have a special place in our hearts for posy flowers set in posy bouquets. 

Posy flowers, ‘posies’ or ‘posy bouquets’ are – at their most basic – simply a small bunch of flowers. But their history and modern uses make them one of our absolute favourites. Here’s why.

What is a posy bouquet?

small bouquet of pink, white, orange and yellow daisies wrapped in white paper as an example of posy flowers

A posy is usually set apart from other types of bouquets by its size. They are typically meant to be held in one hand or even worn in the hair or pinned to the clothing. Because of that they can be made with even two or three flowers. And generally they are not made with more than five or six. They are often tied with ribbon as well.

What is the history of the posy?

small bunch of pink carnations held up against a pink background for types of posy flowers

Posies have a long history. In the Middle Ages, there was no public sanitation. So European women carried small, hand-held bouquets of fragrant flowers and herbs called posies or nosegays.

And as they walked along the roads, they would hold the posies to their noses to mask the odours of waste and refuse in the streets. This continued during the times of plague when posies not only covered the stench of death but were also thought to protect the user from infection. 

In the Victorian period, posies were often given as gifts. Suitors might give a small bouquet of a single flower to carry messages to their loved ones. They were also used as a fashion accessory at that time.

Small bouquets featuring a single rose surrounded by other ‘lesser’ flowers, would be held in a decorative posy holder, or attached by a ring at the end of the chain to the fingers. This way it could swing around attractively as the wearer danced. 

What flowers are posy flowers?

close up of purple and pink ruffled blooms for posy flowers

There is really no limit to the types of flowers that can be used as posy flowers. Common flowers are the traditional roses, carnations and chrysanthemums – some of our personal favourites! But you can also use tulips, baby breath, snapdragons and more. And our personal favourites – bright, joyful sunflowers!

In fact, the most common type of posy is a mix of different flowers. So whatever you love, you should feel free to go for it!

What are the modern uses of posies?

white roses in a wedding bouquet tied with a white satin ribbon on a white background

Posy bouquets are often used for flower girls, mothers-of-the-bride and other special guests and participants at weddings. Their petite size means they are special, but don’t overpower the bride’s own blooms. Plus they are easy for the young and the elderly to carry around.

But posies don’t have to be limited to weddings. Here are some of our other favourite modern ways to use posy bouquets:

  • Congratulations bouquet. These are particularly sweet for young girls who might have participated in their first ballet or drama performance.
  • Date night. Taking a small bouquet of flowers to a date is a beautiful way to treat the date as something special.
  • Prom or formals. The traditional corsage is, in essence, a posy bouquet. Whether worn in the hair, on the wrist or pinned to the clothing, corsages are making a comeback for today’s teens. 
  • Baby showers and sprinkles. Bringing a small posy as a gift for the expectant mother is always welcome. And the size is perfect for welcoming a tiny new bub. 
  • Decorations. We’ve seen rows of posies used to great effect in decorating for birthdays, memorials, showers or other events. Then they can be gifted to the guests at the end of the night too. 

close up of individually wrapped tulips in multicolours for posy flowers

Where to find the best posy flowers in Brisbane

If you’re looking for gorgeous posy flowers for a posy bouquet, we’ve got you covered. Our farm and shower shop will let you choose the best market-fresh, hand-picked beauties. And we’re always happy to put together the most stunning posies, whatever the occasion.