How do you achieve that perfect, florist style flower arrangement on a DIY budget? Regardless of whether this is your first arrangement or you’ve done it before, we’ve got a few tips to help you create the exact bouquet you want. This article will help you understand what works well when it comes to flower arrangement, and how to go about making the perfect bunch of blooms.

Basic principles of flower composition

  • Vary the patterns, textures, and colours of the plants to create harmony through distinction
  • Texture can be added with wispy, airy fronds breaking up the boldness of flowers such as hydrangeas or dahlias
  • Play with colour effects by using contrasting colours, complementary colours, or varying shades of the same colour
  • When creating your arrangement, add the larger, bolder flowers first, and then fill in the space with smaller, more delicate blooms and airy, wispy, fronds.

Flower frogs

Use a flower frog, secured to the bottom of a vase with floral adhesive, to anchor the flower stems in place. If using a kitchen bowl as your vase, consider creating a flower frog using strips of cellophane tape across the top to create a grid that can hold the flowers in place. For even more stability, cut the stems of your flowers short so that they do not rest on the bottom of the bowl, but rather on the tape grid. Another alternative when using an especially low vase or bowl is to use a spiked top flower frog to ensure the various parts of your arrangement stay in place.

Floral foam

Floral foam is a good alternative to a flower frog for holding arrangements in place. If you go for this option, be sure to water the foam every couple of days to keep the flowers from prematurely wilting. Other important considerations with floral foam include:

  • Ensure that the tip of the stem is always in contact with the foam. Don’t pull a stem partially out of the foam and leave an air pocket, just make a new hole if you find you have inserted the stem down too far
  • Cut the foam 1” above the rim of the vase or container to allow some stems to protrude out the side and downwards, as opposed to having everything stick upwards which appears quite unnatural
  • Note: You may get away with not using a flower frog or floral foam if you are creating a floral arrangement at home and will not be moving it around at all, but they are absolutely mandatory if you plan on transporting your flowers.

Practical Tips

  • To ensure longevity in flower freshness, place flowers in room temperature water as soon as possible after being cut, and add floral preservative. Warm water will help ensure that closed flower bulbs will open properly. Keeping flowers in the shade and away from heating vents will also help maximise their longevity
  • Cutting the stems by at least an inch will help them absorb water more efficiently
  • Strip any leaves from the stems that will fall below the vase’s water level
  • Start your arrangement by placing foliage to build a base
  • Caramel-coloured mission vases or ceramic jugs pair well with predominantly red and green arrangements, for example peonies cut at differing lengths surrounded by a base foliage of begonia or coleus
  • If using a trumpet shaped vase, don’t cut your stems too short as you will miss out on the delicate elegance added by long stems following the shape of a vase up and out. Make sure your flowers are at least 1.5 times the height of the container to give off an expansive feel. Crocosmia works well for this effect, as the stems are both stiff and elegant
  • When it comes to colour and texture, try going completely uniform and create an arrangement of dozens of the same type of flower, particularly a dainty one such as alstromeria
  • Clemantis paired with hydrangeas of the same colour create harmony while simultaneously looking diverse due to the texture and shade variations
  • Solomon’s seal, pea vines, cockscomb, spearmint, and poppy pods combine wonderfully to create an arrangement that is varying shades of green. Despite being all green, this arrangement is beautiful because of the different textures it displays.