How to arrange flowers
Add a little beauty to your life by following our simple how-to guide for creating a beautiful flower arrangement for your home.
By Aleksandra Keast of Aleksandra
There’s something about flowers that brighten up a room. They add a pop of colour, bring the outdoors in and provide an eye-catching talking point. Plus, they smell lovely. Don’t leave it for a special occasion – keep fresh cut flowers in your home as an everyday occurrence. Follow our simple step-by-step guide to creating the perfect floral arrangement for your home.
1. Choose your vase
When it comes to choosing your vase, there are a few things worth considering. First, choose a vase with a wide opening and enough length for the floral elements you have chosen, so you have lots of space to play with when arranging. The size of the vase will be influenced by the space you want to fill. Is it a large area or are you looking to create something smaller for a coffee table or dining room? After you’ve selected your vase, give it a good wash to clean out any dust or old bacteria, then fill it with clean, fresh cold water.
2. Prepare your flowers
Before you start placing your flowers in the vase, get them prepared so they’re ready to work with. Strip any roses of their thorns and remove any ripped or bruised petals. Tidy up the stems by removing unnecessary greenery that would sit in the water and spoil. Cut the stems on an angle and place them in a bucket of water to have a big drink while you’re planning your arrangement. Cutting on an angle allows the flowers to hydrate more efficiently.
3. Create a base
The first step is to create a mass of flowers you can use to build a base (also called a nest). Use your selected vase to measure how far you should cut each stem, so you don’t cut stems too short. Look at each stem and place them in the vase according to their own shape. Cut some stems shorter than others to provide the taller flowers with some support.
4. Start to add your layers
Once you’ve created your base, create some layers with other flowers. For instance, add some cascading flowers (in the case of this arrangement I’ve chosen flowering eucalyptus). Start on one side of the arrangement and work your way around, ensuring that your creation doesn’t look too symmetrical. Look at how each stem falls or trails naturally and work with its form. If you use this method, you’ll start to notice more shape in your arrangements.
5. Build a collar
Once you’ve added layers, you’ll notice some gaps in your arrangement that need to be filled out. Do this with some more delicate and sculptural blooms. (In this case, we’ve chosen cymbidium orchids.) To protect and highlight the delicate blooms, create a collar around each using some sculptural leaves.
6. Create groupings and block colour
To add yet another layer to your arrangement, use flowers in block colours and ‘en masse’ groupings. Odd numbers of groupings are often more visually appealing and less symmetrical, which adds interest, so keep your flowers in groups of 1,3, and 5. Cut and arrange your flowers using various heights to create a more interesting visual experience. We’ve used black pearl roses here. Peeling back the petals will make them more open and blousy, as well as help to fill in a bit more space in your arrangement. Allow the flowers room to breathe; don’t cram them in too tightly – less is more.
7. Add some height
Now you’ve got cascading flowers and blocks of colour, don’t forget to add some height to lead the eye up and out of your arrangement. We’ve added some kangaroo paw here, which adds height and also provides a sculptural elegance to the arrangement.
To ensure your arrangement lasts as long as possible, keep it out of direct sunlight or away from heat exposure as this will exacerbate the wilting process. Tend to your flowers regularly by picking out dead buds or fallen leaves and change the water every two to three days. Most of all, enjoy your arrangement!
Top tips for choosing your flowers
Experiment with lots of different flowers and try new varieties. You’ll soon get to know their life span, the textures they provide and how they open. Tulips, for instance, cascade and form their own shape (or ‘dance’) as they age. Admire this process as part of the lifecycle of your arrangement and don’t throw them out too soon.
When it comes to choosing flowers for your arrangement its important to have a good selection to choose from. Here are some flowers to look for when creating your arrangement.
- Flowers that cascade and trail
Tulips, Amaranthus, trailing passionfruit, jasmine trails, Pieris, flowering gums, peppercorn, ivy and other vines.
- Branches or foliage
Flowering blossom, magnolia branches, dogwood, elm, fruit on the branch (such as pomegranates and persimmon).
- Delicate and fragrant blooms
David Austin roses, hellebore, waterlilies, lotus flowers, orchids, daphne, begonias, Queen Anne’s lace, pitcher plants, magnolia flowers, sweet peas.
- For grouping/‘En masse’
Garden roses, Ranunculus, hydrangeas, dahlias, Siam gingers, chrysanthemums, peonies, anemones.
- To create height and length
Delphinium, kangaroo paw, tuberose, lotus flowers, Hippeastrums, iris, gladioli.
- Sculptural and graphic specimens
Orchids (Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium varieties), philodendron leaves, Anthurium, ornamental pineapple, calla lily.