How to Arrange Flowers in a Vase


Fresh-cut flower arrangements in your home bring the garden indoors and add a bit of elegance and drama to a room. Living flowers make a room feel alive. But perhaps your experience trying to arrange flowers in a vase has produced not-so-great results, or maybe the flowers wilted quickly and you were left with another empty vase. It is quite easy to create longer-lasting flower arrangements by using the following steps.

Step 1

Select a transparent vase if you intend to change the water daily. Select an opaque vase if the water will sit more than one day. Consider collecting vases from garage sales, antique markets and thrift stores. Most are inexpensive and can be cleaned and reused.

Step 2

Tape a grid across the mouth of wide vases. Use floral tape or even transparent tape if that is what you have on hand. Simply crisscross the mouth of the vase with the tape. Then wrap the tape around the rim (over the tape ends) so that the grid will stay in place. This creates sections to prevent all of your stems from flopping to the rim.

Step 3

Cut, at an angle, at least 2 inches off of the stems, and clean the stems or branches of flowers and plants that will be beneath the waterline of your vase, as the leaves will rot if under water. Use a pair of decent-to-good-quality floral nippers so that you don't crush or tear the stems when cutting them.

Step 4

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a small pot. Cut flower stems several inches longer than you need for your vase. Gently drop the flowers into the boiling water, and turn off the heat. You should see air bubble up from the stems. The boiling water shocks the flowers. Allow the flowers to sit until the water is cool. Remove the flowers, and cut them to length. The stems will now draw water much better.

Step 5

Position your vase on a lazy Susan. Fill it with the amount of water you desire. Insert taller flowers in the center of the vase. Be sure to cut each stem so that the stem can draw water. Turn your vase to check all views. Position your larger flowers next and then your smaller flowers. Use a filler such as baby's breath to "flesh out" the arrangement.

Step 6

Use a transparent rubber band to hold stems together if you are using a smaller or narrow-mouthed vase. Position the rubber band to match the water level of the vase. Weak-stemmed flowers can be supported with thin garden branches.

Step 7

Add one or two drops of bleach to the water in the vase to kill bacteria.

Things You'll Need

  • Vase
  • Tape
  • Garden nippers
  • Cut flowers of your choice
  • Branches
  • Boiling water
  • Pot
  • Lazy Susan
  • Clear, elastic rubber bands
  • Bleach


  • Country Living
  • Glam
Keywords: arrange flowers, vase flowers, arrange vase

About this Author

F.R.R. Mallory is a senior at UC Berkeley completing degrees in both Neuropsychology and English. She has been published since 1996 in both nonfiction and fiction, books, short stories, articles and essays. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.