AU: Trend for cotton stems in floral bouquets puts spring in farmers' steps

A growing trend to use cotton stems in floral arrangements is providing new income streams for farmers as millennials seek to curate more "natural" looking homes.

Toowoomba florist Cherie Zimmerle said the popularity of the stems — which can cost up to $20 each — had grown alongside the dried flower trend, which was behind a boom in the Australian native flower industry.

She said consumers were becoming more thoughtful with their purchasing, opting for a longer-lasting, homegrown, high-quality product. "The great thing about cotton is that you don’t have to go and buy a new bunch every week," Ms. Zimmerle said. "The leaves dry once it's picked, and the cotton lasts just as a cotton-wool ball would."

Ms. Zimmerle said what was once considered a hipster trend is now seeing everyday Australians purchasing cotton for in-home decoration. 

While most Australians would only be exposed to cotton after it has been processed into clothes or linens, the growing appreciation for the raw product is providing new opportunities for farmers. Cotton Australia chief executive Adam Kay said displaying natural fiber showed the other qualities of cotton. "It's long-lasting and people are purchasing it because it does make a beautiful display," he said.

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