I tried hand embroidering a crapload willow leaves for a furisode (as well as various insects and ridiculously detailed water lilies), and I got too fed up with it and never finished it after getting about half done over the course of six months(one example)- http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2375960/
So yah. If you don't have amazing patience for repetitive figures, I vote applique with stitched edges. Maybe embroider in the "veins", too, to look moe 3D.
has LOADS of satins. And really well priced. (My Schala cosplay's duchesse satin was 8.99 a yard for 60" wide fabric. And I needed eleven metres of it. X_X)