How to Arrange Japanese Flowers


The best way to arrange Japanese flowers is to practice the art of Ikebana. Literally meaning "flowers kept alive," Ikebana is an ancient practice of flower arrangement dating back to the 15th century in Japan. It attempts to capture the relationship between humanity and nature and is largely considered a meditative practice. Practitioners of Ikebana are said to develop great patience, tolerance and an ability to live in the moment. By combining stems, leaves, branches and blooms in a minimalistic way, Ikebana highlights the most beautiful elements of Japanese flowers.

Step 1

Find a wide, shallow container no more than two inches in height.

Step 2

Place a kenzan against the rim of the container. A kenzan is a needle point holder used to secure stems in place and can be ordered online from Ikebana interest websites.

Step 3

Collect the flowers you would like to use. As Ikebana pieces are minimalistic, you will not need more than three or four main blooms to work with and another three or four leaves or stems. Japanese peonies, cherry blossoms, roses and golden bells are Japanese flowers commonly used in Ikebana arrangements.

Step 4

Separate your flowers and stems in order of height.

Step 5

Choose your longest stem and place it in the kenzan. Allow the stem to lean slightly toward your left shoulder.

Step 6

Place the next longest stem in front of the first piece at a 45 degree angle. This piece should be no more than three-fourths the length of the first stem.

Step 7

Position a flower at the base of the arrangement leaning at a slant toward your right shoulder. The flower should be about a third the size of the first stem and will serve as the focal point of the piece. You now have the traditional triangular base of your Japanese flower arrangement.

Step 8

Add short stemmed foliage to the kenzan in order to prevent it from showing. Dark green foliage or one or two more flowers of the same length will provide depth to your arrangement, but be careful not to overfill the kenzan.

Step 9

Step back and look at your arrangement. Be sure there is a sense of balance to the piece and a general triangular shape. Spin the container to be sure you cannot see the kenzan from any angle.

Step 10

Fill the container with water and replace it daily.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure your foliage is not directly touching the water as leaves and petals submerged in water will rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow container
  • Scissors
  • Stems or leaves
  • Flowers
  • Kenzan
  • Water


  • Japan Zone: Ikebana
  • Moribana by Reiko Takenaka
  • Ikebana International
Keywords: japanese flowers, ikebana, arrange flowers

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. Her work has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and journals. Shipman has also authored three collections of poetry: "Cold Days," "Bastante" and "Short Poems." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Southwestern University.