How to Arrange Flowers & Centerpieces


Flower arrangements are pricey directly from a florist. With a few tools and a little practice it's possible to create professional looking flower arrangements and centerpieces with flowers fresh from the garden. Plus, fresh flowers will often last longer, and as an added bonus, cutting flowers will encourage more blooms from the plants.

Step 1

Prepare the flowers and greenery. Cut the stems of the flowers at a 45-degree angle and remove any leaves that will be below the water's surface when in the arrangement. Put in a bucket of ice water for at least 60 minutes. Do the same thing with the greenery.

Step 2

Soak the floral foam (Oasis) in water while the flowers are in the ice water.

Step 3

Push the foam into the vase or container. The foam should be slightly larger than the vase so it wedges in the vase for stability. The vase should be a solid color or metallic so you can't see through it to the foam. Fill the vase with water.

Step 4

Cut the stems of the greenery and push into the foam so it's completely covered. The greenery should be arranged in roughly a triangular shape. Place the tallest stems in the center, medium length stems next to the taller ones angled slightly outward, and short stems at the bottom, almost at a 90-degree angle.

Step 5

Cut the stems of the large flowers in three different lengths. The tallest should be a few inches shorter than the tallest greenery, medium length an inch or so shorter than the medium length greenery, and shortest stems slightly shorter than the shortest greenery.

Step 6

Place the tallest flowers in the center of the arrangement following the roughly pyramid shape. Push all stems firmly in the foam. Continue placing the flowers in the foam angling the medium length flowers slightly outward and the shortest at the 90-degree angle.

Step 7

Repeat the process with the medium size flowers

Step 8

Fill in any gaps with the filler flowers.

Tips and Warnings

  • Try not to remove a flower stem and then replace in a different position. If the foam gets too many holes it will start to crumble and the flowers won't stay in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting shears
  • Bucket
  • Ice water
  • Vase solid color or metallic
  • Floral foam (Oasis)
  • Greenery
  • Large flowers like lilies, roses, mums and zinnias
  • Medium flowers like carnations, larkspur and delphinium
  • Filler flowers like baby's breath, dianthus, mini carnations and bachelor buttons


  • "Jane Packer's Guide to Flower Arranging: Easy Techniques for Fabulous Flower Arranging;"Jane Packer, Paul Massey, and Jo Barnes; 2008
  • "Creative Floral Arranging: How to Decorate with Fresh, Dried & Silk Flowers;"The Editors of Creative Publishing; 1998
  • Flower arranging

Who Can Help

  • How to arrange flowers
Keywords: flower centerpieces, flower arrangements, how to arrange flowers

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for