The lily family produces some of the most dramatic, exotic and long-lived cut flowers in the plant kingdom. Whether you have calla, asiatic or oriental lilies at hand, you can easily construct an attractive and appropriately scaled floral arrangement for any occasion or setting. As important as the flowers themselves is the suitability of the vase or container to the setting and to the shape of the blooms. Keep both in mind when making your selections. One lily stem in a crystal bud vase can be as striking as 100 stems in a large basket or urn arrangement. The context is what makes the arrangement seem to fit the mood.
Select a container to use with your lilies that fits the scale and mood of the space in which you intend to place it. Choose a container for table centerpieces, cocktail or side table arrangements that are attractive from all sides and any angle. Choose a container for arrangements used on sideboards, bathroom counters and hall tables that looks finished from at least the front and sides.
Prepare and condition the lilies for the arrangement by cutting down the length of the stem on the bias if needed while holding it under running or pooled water. Place the flowers in water treated with floral preservative or a teaspoon of sugar and two drops of household bleach. Remove all leaves that will fall beneath the water line in your chosen container. Remove the pollen sacs on the end of the stamens with your fingers or a facial tissue.
Arrange the lily flowers in the vase so that they are at the desired height not exceeding more than twice the height of the vase to maintain proportion. Layer the lily flowers in the vase so they come to rest naturally and evenly in the vase opening. Add green filler or complementary flowers to the arrangement as desired.
Cut floral foam to support formal or tailored arrangements to fit snugly in the base of an opaque container. Soak the foam in a sink of tepid water until drenched and heavy and place back into the container so that it fits very snugly. Add smaller pieces of wet floral foam to act as anchoring wedges if needed.
Plunge the cut lily stems into the floral foam in a pattern and arrangement that suits your setting and style. Cover all of the foam with flowers or green leafy filler so that no floral foam is visible. Pour more water over the foam each day to keep it wet.