8 simple steps to arrange flowers like a pro

8 simple steps to arrange flowers like a pro

Anyone can put a bunch of flowers in a vase, but little thought and technique go into the art of flower arranging. Creating a stunning bouquet requires a little planning and careful preparation to create a beautiful centerpiece and ensure the flowers retain their color and freshness.

However, it is easy to learn how to arrange flowers in a vase and make it look professional. Once you learn the basics, flower arranging can be fun and simple. We spoke with Charlotte Moss, interior designer and author of Charlotte Moss Flowers, to get her expert tips on creating and maintaining beautiful arrangements. This step-by-step guide to flower arranging will help you put together and display stunning bouquets.

Allison Micksh

Step 1: Choose a flower arrangement design

One way to guide your arrangement is to determine a color scheme before shopping for flowers. Then, when you go flower shopping, you know you're choosing colors that work well together. Monochromatic schemes, which show a variety of variations of the same color, can be eye-catching. For another high-impact floral design, try complementary colors that clash with each other.

Although you can be methodical about your color scheme, there is no way to go wrong when pairing flowers. Moss recommends choosing flowers based on what's currently blooming in your garden or what you can find at your local market.

“The key is to be open and see what you're drawn to,” she says. “Being too specific in your search may prevent you from looking for other beautiful female candidates.” Choose your favorites with different growth patterns, shapes and sizes, and see how you can combine them together.

BHG/Alicia Long


Step 2: Cut and prepare the flowers

After you arrive home with your flowers, you may be tempted to start arranging right away. However, there are some important steps to take to prepare your flowers and make them last longer. First, remove excess leaves and damaged petals from the stems. If there are unwanted buds on the same stem as the full flower, cut them off as well. Once the stems are clean, make a new diagonal cut at the bottom of the stems. Place the trimmed stems in a vase or bucket of water (this doesn't have to be the last bowl) with the cut flower food.

BHG/Alicia Long


Step 3: Choose a ship

When choosing a vase or other container for your arrangement, consider the type of flowers you are using. Tulips typically require the support of a straight-sided vase, for example, while tall branches or heavy flowers may need a weighted container, Moss says. Aside from traditional vases, she likes to place flower arrangements in woven baskets for a more natural texture.

To conserve water and keep the flowers in place, line the basket with a plastic container (shop your kitchen cabinets or reuse plastic water bottles and other packaging). If necessary, fill with moss around the container to hide it inside the basket.

BHG/Alicia Long


Step 4: Prepare your flower vase

The most important flower arranging technique doesn't involve the actual flowers, it's all about the container you put them in. If the flowers don't have a strong foundation, they won't stay in place and your arrangement will end up falling apart. . To make sure the flowers stay in place, create a grid of floral tape over the opening of the vase. Insert the stems through the mesh holes to keep them in place. You can also buy a flower frog, which is a container with pins for the stems to stick to. You can also make a flower frog using a small section of chicken wire bent into a ball.

BHG/Alicia Long


Step 5: Create a base with greenery

The best way to arrange flowers is to start with greenery as a base. Eucalyptus, ivy and fern leaves are good green plants. Use the stems of the evergreen to create an inverted triangle shape. This ensures that your arrangement will have both a horizontal and vertical presence. Also be sure to re-cut the stems before adding them to the vase.

BHG/Alicia Long


Step 6: Add focal flowers

Focal flowers are usually the largest flowers or have an unusual color or texture. Make sure to add odd numbers for a more natural (asymmetric) look. Do not place the focal flowers so that they stick straight out to the sides: they will look droopy and heavy rather than strong and playful. Placing the vase on a lazy susan can help you see all sides without having to move the vase.

BHG/Alicia Long


Step 7: Add the filler flowers

Add smaller flowers and textural elements into the arrangement to fill in the focal flowers. Again, don't place all the supporting flowers straight up or to the sides. You can think of the shape of the arrangement as a dome, and you need to fill in all the corners of that dome so that it looks complete. Gather the small flowers in groups of three or five to form clusters, similar to what happens in nature.

BHG/Alicia Long


Step 8: Finish the arrangement

Finish the design with floats or delicate flowers such as baby's breath, sedum or yarrow. Place them last so they are not crushed or buried by heavier blooms. Before displaying, give your finished flower arrangement a light spritz of water to mimic the look of fresh dew, Moss suggests. Refill the vase with water as needed to keep the flowers moist and fresh.

Victoria Pearson

Frequently asked questions

  • What tools do I need for flower arranging?

    You need flower stem cutting tools, sharp shears, floral tape, and thorn removers (if you are growing roses). Floral foam is useful but not environmentally friendly, so try working with floral tape or use a purchased or homemade floral frog instead. You should have flower preservatives on hand as well.

  • How far do you want the flowers to come out of the vase?

    The height of the flowers should be one and a half to two times the height of the vase. For example, for a 12-inch flower vase, your flowers should be 18 to 24 inches tall. For bowl-shaped containers or small cubes, keep flowers at about one and a half times the height of the vase.

  • How do I prevent flowers from rotting in the vase?

    The most important thing to do to prevent mold growth in a flower pot is to change the water regularly and trim the ends of the stems with each water change. Every day or two is best. Also add a floral preservative to your arrangement when placing it in the vase for the first time.

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