How to Make a Japanese Flower Arrangement


Japanese flowering arranging is an art form that the Japanese call "ikebana." Its fundamental philosophy is to develop a closeness with nature. The style of these flower arrangements is minimalistic, with the empty spaces between the floral materials of equal importance to the floral materials themselves. Japanese flower arrangements are almost always asymmetrical, achieving a sense of balance in the arrangement of the component plant materials. The art of ikebana strives to create a link between the outdoors and the indoors that is inherent in the way the flowers are arranged.

Step 1

Choose a transparent glass container, either clear or colored, for your Japanese flower arrangement. Add colored stones or marbles to the container to hold the stems of the arrangement's components in place.

Step 2

Select plant materials. The Japanese style of flower arranging usually consists of either three of the same flower or a single flower set off by unusual greens with vertical lines, branches with unusual bark, or branches with small fruits or berries still attached. Remove all leaves from long-stemmed flowers such as roses, carnations or lilies.

Step 3

Insert the stems into the rocks or marbles. Hold the base of the stems tightly together so they are inserted into the rocks close together. Allow the stems to extend in the same direction for a few inches before arching over, creating both horizontal and vertical movement. Adjust the position of the flowers by pulling down on the flower stem or moving it from side to side. Remove and trim a few inches off the bottom of the stem if you wish to change the length for a more pleasing design.

Step 4

Add flowering branches, vertical greens such as bamboo, small branches of pine or evergreens, or berry-filled branches of shrubs or trees. Insert these materials into the rocks or marbles in the container, using them to support the plant materials. Strive to use branches that are approximately three times as long as the width of the container to achieve a balanced look.

Step 5

Evaluate the arrangement by setting it on a shelf or mantle; Japanese flower arrangements are meant to be seen only from the front. Read just the stems if needed to achieve an asymmetrical effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Clear or colored transparent container
  • Marbles or decorative stones
  • Floral materials, including three of the same type of flower
  • Upright, vertical greens
  • Flower clippers


  • Ikebana International: What is Ikebana
  • University of Illinois Extension: Flower Arranging

Who Can Help

  • Art Institute of Chicago: The Arranged Flower
Keywords: make Japanese flower arrangement, ikebana, asymmetrical flower arrangements