Learn how to arrange flowers and create a beautiful, colorful bouquet. All you need to do is keep these flower arranging techniques in mind.

By Jenny Krane
November 06, 2018
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While anyone can plop a handful of flowers into a vase, there is a little more thought and technique that goes into the art of flower arranging. That being said, it's not difficult to learn how to arrange flowers in a vase and have it look like a professional's work. Once you learn the basics, simple flower arranging is easy, fun to do, and makes finding the perfect centerpiece a little bit easier.

Decide on a Flower Arrangement Design

Decide on a color scheme for your arrangement before shopping for flowers. Then, when you go to buy flowers, you know you're picking up what you need in colors that work well together. Monochromatic schemes can be striking, and show off the variety of different hues of the same color. For a high-impact floral design, try complementary colors—they will pop against each other. While you can be methodical about your color scheme, there really isn't a way to go wrong when pairing flowers. Pick your favorites with different growth patterns, shapes, and sizes and see how you can make them come together.

Right: Credit: White Pitcher Container Step-by-step

Cut Flower Care and Prep

After arriving home with your flowers, it's easy to begin arranging right away. But, there are some important steps to take to prepare the flowers and make them last longer. First, remove extra leaves and damaged petals from stems. If there are unwanted buds on the same stem as a full flower, cut those off as well. Once the stems are cleaned up, make a fresh diagonal cut to the bottom of stems. Put the trimmed stems into water with cut flower food.

Prepare Your Flower Vase

The most important flower arrangement technique doesn't actually involve the flowers—it's all about the vessel you put them in. If the flowers don't have a sturdy 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 mouth of the vase. Stick the stems through the holes of the grid to keep them in place. You can also purchase a floral frog, which is a vessel insert with pins for stems to be stuck into. You can even DIY a floral frog with a small section of chicken wire bent into a ball.

Create a Base with Greenery

The best way to start arranging flowers is to start with greenery as a base. Eucalyptus, ivy, and fern fronds are good greenery go-tos. Use the stems of the greenery to create an inverted triangular shape. This guarantees your arrangement will have both a horizontal and a vertical presence. Also be sure to recut stems before adding them to the vase.

Add Focal Flowers

These are usually the largest flowers, but can also have an unusual color or texture. Make sure to add in odd numbers for a more natural (not symmetrical) look. Don't place the focal flowers so they are sticking straight out on the sides: they will look droopy and heavy, rather than strong and perky. Placing the vase on a lazy Susan can help you to see all sides without having to move the vase

Add Filler Flowers

Add smaller flowers and textural elements in the arrangement to fill around the focal flowers. Again, don't place all of the supporting flowers straight up or to the sides—you can think of the shape of the arrangement like a dome, and you need to fill in all angles of that dome for it to look complete. You can combine smaller flowers together in groups of three or five to create clustering, like what happens in nature.

Finish Arrangement

Finish the design with floaters or delicate blooms like baby's breath, sedum, or yarrow. Put these in last so they don’t get squished or buried by heavier blooms.

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