Flower Arranging Instructions

Whether you're a gardener or just enjoy having fresh flowers around, learning a bit about flower arranging can help you make truly beautiful flower arrangements that will amaze your friends and family!

Here you'll find helpful tips, tricks, videos, and photos, to guide you in your flower arranging, as well as information on the meanings of some flowers so you can put even more sentiment into your bouquets and flower arrangements.


You can see all 3 types of flowers in this flower arrangement.
You can see all 3 types of flowers in this flower arrangement.

Basic Flower Arranging - AKA Flower Arranging 101

Here are some of the basics that you'll want to know about flower arranging before you begin your own bouquet or arrangement.

The 3 Main Types of Flowers

There are 3 main types of flowers in any arrangement:

1. Line Flowers

2. Mass Flowers

3. Filler Flowers

Line Flowers, also sometimes called Focal Flowers, are tall and add height and width to your arrangement. Most will have buds or flowers growing up a center stalk. Some examples of flowers that work well as line flowers include Delphiniums, Snapdragons, Bells of Ireland, Gladiolus, and Liatris. You can also use branches like willows and others as line flowers.

Mass Flowers, or Intermediate Flowers, are what give your flower arrangement it's mass (makes sense!) and these are the flowers you should begin your arrangement with. They are usually the focal point of the bouquet and as far as colors go, will incorporate the main colors of the arrangement. Some flowers commonly used as mass flowers in flower arrangements include Gerber Daisies, Roses, Carnations, Tulips, Iris, Lilies, and Daffodils.

FIller Flowers are just this, flowers that fill in the spaces left by the Line and Mass flowers. They are often stems with a lot of little flowers, like Baby's Breath, and Heather, or greenery and foliage that are used to round out your flower arrangement.

The Color Wheel
The Color Wheel

Thinking About Colors

Now that you know about the 3 main types of flowers you'll use in your arrangement, you'll want to consider your color scheme. Color is important both with regard to the flowers as well as the container. As you contemplate your colors let these questions guide you:

Do you want to create a Monotone Arrangement with flowers of all the same color, or maybe stick with 1 basic color but use different shades?

Or, how about using Complimentary Colors; colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel, like greens and purples, or blues and oranges?

Another option is using Related Colors or colors on the same side of the color wheel, such as greens, yellows and oranges, or blues, purples and reds?

Choosing Your Flowers

Deciding which of the many beautiful flowers available to use in your arrangement can be hard sometimes. But, when you allow your intended color scheme, your design ideas for your arrangement (small or large, formal or informal), as well as the 3 main types of flowers to guide you, you'll find you'll be able to more easily zero in on which flowers to use.

Other factors that will help you in choosing which flowers to use in your arrangement include:

What's available in the garden at the time.

The size and style of the container you've selected.

Your favorite flowers - or those of the person you're making the arrangement for.

The meanings/symbolism of certain flowers. (See Below)

Your general mood for the day!

And, unfortunately, your budget.

Here's a special tip: you may find you can afford more flowers when you order online from a shop like ProFlowers.com or FTD (yes these stores generally send pre arranged flowers but you can select to purcahse single kids of flowers here too and even buy them without a vase). These sites often have pretty affordable flowers, it's easy to find the flowers you want, and, you can make use of money saving proflowers coupons.

An example of a well balanced flower arrangement
An example of a well balanced flower arrangement

Strive for Balance in Your Arrangement

Once you've thought about how you'll incorporate the different types of flowers, picked your colors, and selected the flowers you'll use, you'll want to begin arranging your flowers.  As you work, one of your main goals is to maintain balance to your flower arrangement. 

Basically, what is meant by this is that you should try your best to use the colors and shapes of your flowers in your arrangement so that no one flower, color, shape, etc takes over the bouquet.

This doesn't refer to balance in number though, it's more about balance in appearance. For example, dark colors appear "heavier" to the eye and take more focus than lighter colors, and the same is true for large vs small flowers.

As a result, you'll likely require more lighter and more smaller flowers (depending on your flower selection) to achieve a balanced looking arrangement as opposed to the darker and larger/taller flowers.

A picture of a common Flower Frog, although they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are made from many different materials.
A picture of a common Flower Frog, although they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are made from many different materials.

Securing Your Flowers in Your Container - Floral Foam vs Flower Frogs

When you're creating flower arrangements, sometimes it's nice to be able to secure the flowers the way you want them, as opposed to letting them just float in the vase.  To achieve this, some people like to arrange their flowers using Floral Foam, while others prefer to use Flower Frogs.

You've probably seen floral foam, as it's the most common way that florists will secure their flowers in the arrangements they create. If you're using floral foam you'll want to soak it first in water and plant food to make sure that the flowers have water right away; which is essential to maintaining their freshness.

Some flower arrangers do prefer flower frogs over floral foam as they don't cause the stems of the flowers to break when inserting them into the flower arrangement, and they allow the flowers to more readily absorb water.

Many find flower frogs nice to use because they also allow you to re-arrange your flowers more easily, whereas you can really decimate a block of floral foam by pulling flowers in and out.

Also, flower frogs are reusable where as floral foam generally is not. This is an important consideration for many. Some people even like to collect Flower Frogs and put them on display.

Watch a Flower Arrangement Being Created from Beginning to End

Tips for Making Your Flower Arrangements Last as Long as Possible

It's always a shame when a lovely flower arrangement starts to look, well, not so lovely anymore. Here are some tips you can use to make the flowers in your arrangements and bouquets last as long as possible.

Keep Your Flower Arrangements Cool - This includes both keeping your flower arrangements in a cool location as well as keeping the water they're in cool.

Make sure to place your arrangements out of direct sunlight (I know they look pretty there, but they won't last as long), as well as away from large lights, heating uints, fireplaces, etc.

With regards to the water, change it often, and use the coldest water possible. Also, if you must put your flowers in that sunny window (or another warmer location) slip a few ice cubes into the water every so often to keep things cooler.

Pick or Buy Your Flowers When They're Young - If you can, try to select flowers that aren't fully open yet. This will allow you to watch them open, and, more importantly, make them last longer.

Feed Your Flowers - Florists give you flower food with your flowers for a reason, it helps them last longer! The nutrients in the flower food help flowers take up more water, provide them with necessary nutrients, and help kill bacteria that may form in the water.

Re-Cut the Stems - If it's possible, re-cut the stems of your flowers once you get them home, preferably under cool water. Make sure though to use a very sharp knife or clippers, not scissors. You want to use something that will cut the stems but not crush them as this will decrease their ability to take up water and thereby decrease their lifespan.

When you re-cut the bottoms of your flowers, try to cut about 1 - 2 in. off the bottom and make the cut at a sharp angle.

Eliminate Plant Material in the Water - Use your sharp knife or clippers to also remove any leaves, stems, flowers, etc. that will be under the water in the vase/container. Leaving these on will help promote bacteria growth, which, as we now know, will shorten the life of the flower arrangement.

Be Gentle - Whatever you're doing with your flowers, be gentle. Don't drop the flowers into the vase or container as when they hit the bottom this can bruise their stems. Gently set them into the arrangement. Arrange them delicately for the same reason. Plus, you don't want to accidentally break any of the stems.

Favorite Flower Poll

What's Your Favorite Flower

See results without voting

Flowers and Their Meanings

As with many things in nature, flowers aren't only georgeous and amazing, they have also come to have unique meanings and symbolism over the years. Here are just some flowers and their meanings.

Roses

Roses are one of the most popular flowers, and actually each color of this fragrant flower has a different meaning:

Red - Passionate Love and Desire, while a single Red Rose means "I Love You"

Pink - Happiness and Friendship

White - Purity and Innocence

Red and White (Fire and Ice) - Unity

Orange - Passion and Fascination

Burgandy - Unconscious Love and Beauty


Daisies

Daisies are very common flowers and often are seen growing wild.  Daisies symbolize:

Innocence, Gentleness, Loyal Love, Purity and Beauty

Hydrangeas

Hydranges, usually a lightish pink or lavender in color, can also be found in whites, and beautiful periwinkle blue, like in this photo. Hydranges often symbolize:

Perseverance, Heartfelt Sincerity, Gratefulness for Understanding

Carnations

Carnations, like roses, are very common flowers, and have different meanings depending on colors. Here are just a few of the colors you can find carnations in and their meanings:

Red - "My heart aches for you"

Pink - Gratitude, "I'll never forget you"

White - Innocence, Purity, Sweetness

Striped - Refusal - "Sorry I can't be with you"


Sunflowers

Sunflowers add something special to any flower arrangement, and can really light up whatever space they're in.  Sunflowers carry the meaning:

Adoration, Pride

Tulips

In general, Tulips carry the meaning of Perfect Love. More specifically though, some of the more common colors mean:

Red - Declaration of Love

Pink - Caring

Yellow - Sunny Smile, Hopelessly in Love

White - Forgiveness

Poppies

Poppies are delicate flowers that can add a very special feel to any flower arrangement.  They are known to symbolize:

Red - Pleasure

White - Consolation

Yellow - Wealth, Success

Calla Lily

The Calla Lily is a very popular flower in wedding bouquets.  No wonder, it's meaning is:

Magnificient Beauty

Daffodil

Daffodils are common in arrangements both as cut flowers and as bulbs you can watch emerge out of the basket.  They've come to symbolize:

Chivalry and Regard

Comments 14 comments

mothersdayflowerz profile image

mothersdayflowerz 7 years ago

I'm always amazed whenever I go to the florist and watch them work their magic. Making flower arrangements really is an art, there should be a museum for this too. Enjoyed the video also.


BlueSkyBright profile image

BlueSkyBright 7 years ago

Flower arrangement are certainly an art form and takes a lot of skill


GinneyHarris profile image

GinneyHarris 7 years ago Author

Mothersdayflowerz, you're right, flower arranging really does seem like magic sometimes but I think it's a magic we all can work : )

BlueSkyBright, I agree with you as well, creating beautiful flower arrangements is an art form - too bad the creations don't last forever.....but I guess that too is part of their beauty.

Thanks for the comments guys!

Ginney


United Locksmiths profile image

United Locksmiths 7 years ago from England

This is a great information! My wife loves to arrange flowers at home. Sometimes I would hear her wishing she knows better about flower arrangements because she doesn't seem to be satisfied with her own arrangements. This is definitely a helpful information for her. Thanks!


turntec 7 years ago

Actually I am in the profession of Architecture, flower arrangements is really great art, and this hub will assist me more.

Thanks for this video also!


TrudyVan profile image

TrudyVan 7 years ago from South Africa

love your hub. Great information. rated your hub as great.


florela 6 years ago

lovly hub;)


Linda Myshrall 6 years ago

This is a great article! Glad I found it, Linda


Flower shop in Vancouver 6 years ago

Hey great stuff, thank you for sharing this useful information and i will let know my friends as well.


xiaoshu profile image

xiaoshu 6 years ago

life doesn’t always give us the joys we want.

we don’t always get our hopes and dreams, and we don’t always get our own way.

but don’t give up hope, because you can make a difference one situation and one person at a time.look for the beauty around you—in nature, in others, in yourself—and believe in the love of friends, family, and humankind.


jamil 5 years ago

Good info and beautiful shots of your flowers. Thanks. Everything is slowly coming out here in our area of the South. Global warming hit hard and we are waiting to see which of our plants made it through the many freezes we've had, as well as waiting to see if we have another one before Easter. However, this delay means that our wisteria blossoms have been protected inside their little vines long enough to make it this year--now to fight the squirrels off of them!


cyoung35 profile image

cyoung35 5 years ago from Corona, CA

Great hub, I love your color wheel. I really like the ideas on how to make your arrangements last longer. I think many people don't use those techniques...I know I haven't used some of them before.


Judy H. McElveen 3 years ago

Great info! This will help me immensely with a project I've volunteered for - making a flower arrangement for our church. I literally knew nothing about the principles of flower arranging and you've covered them very well. Wish me luck! Thanks so much for the article.


Gayle 3 weeks ago

I wish this had a link so it could be pinned on PINTEREST for further use......

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