How to Arrange Flowers for Ikebana


Ikebana is an ancient Japanese art of arranging flowers so they exist in harmony with the environment. Several schools or disciplines of ikebana floral arrangement exist, ranging from the ancient to more modern. All follow a fixed pattern of blending a triangular configuration with three points that represent the heaven, earth and man. Your flowers' placement represents these three points. All ikebana floral arrangements consist of an odd number of flowers placed asymmetrically.

Step 1

Place your ikebana vase on your work table. There are two styles: short and wide or tall and wide. This vase is not a just receptacle containing water and flowers; its color and shape enhance the beauty of the arrangement.

Step 2

Place the kenzan in the vase. It is a spiked metal or brass ring that holds flowers in place.

Step 3

Lower the primary flower into the kenzan. This is called the shin and forms the strongest element in the kenzan. Position it at an 11 o'clock angle (ensure it leans slightly toward your left shoulder). This is the longest stemmed flower (tallest) in your arrangement and represents heaven.

Step 4

Cut the second flower down to two-thirds of the length of the shin. This is called soe, and forms the second strongest element in the kenzan, representing man. Place it slightly in front of shin at a 40- to 45-degree angle toward your left shoulder (8 o'clock position).

Step 5

Cut the third flower down to half the length of soe. Lower this shortest flower, called hikae, into the kenzan, slightly in front of the arrangement at a 75-degree angle (4 o'clock). This flower represents earth.

Step 6

Lower a few smaller flowers or some greenery into the vase to hide the kenzan and add depth. These supporting flowers are stems are called jushi. Make sure they are shorter than shin, soe and hikae and that the water is still visible.

Step 7

Step back and review the arrangement. Rearrange the Ikebana until you are happy and feel a sense of calm filling your body an soul.

Things You'll Need

  • Ikebana vase
  • Kenzan
  • Water
  • Flowers
  • Greenery
  • Scissors


  • Ikebana Flower Arranging
  • Japan Zone: Ikebana
Keywords: ikebana flowers, arranging ikebana, ikebana floral arrangements

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.