How to Do Flower Arranging


Arranging flowers into an attractive form in a container is an art that has a history going back hundreds of years to ancient China. In modern times, flower arrangements are sold in florist shops and grocery stores that make the best use of different flowers to optimize profit and cooler space. However, it is possible to make your own flower arrangement in an attractive vase by following some basic floral arranging rules used by every professional florist.

Step 1

Lay out the fresh flowers grouped by the size of the blooms where they are easy to reach. The largest flowers should have stems at least twice as long as the vase is tall. For example, if your vase is 9 inches tall, the longest stems on the biggest blooms should be at least 18 inches tall. Use flowers that have some blooms open and some closed and some half open. This gives the arrangement a fresh look, and extends the vase life.

Step 2

Fill an attractive leak-proof vase 3/4 full with clean water. Tap water is OK, but the water must be clean. This is especially important if the vase is clear, because clear water makes the arrangement look fresh and pretty. Add floral preservative at the required amount according to the instructions on the label.

Step 3

Decide how the arrangement will be viewed. If viewed from the front only, for example, if it will be sitting against a wall, then it will be a one-sided arrangement. Start the arrangement by adding the greenery. Cut the greenery stems and add plenty of greenery at all different levels. If you are making a one-sided arrangement, allow the greenery to be higher in the back of the arrangement. If the arrangement is viewed from all sides, add the greenery so it is higher in the middle of the arrangement. The greenery serves two purposes -- to give the arrangement a natural look, and to hold the other flowers in place once the stems are placed into the greenery.

Step 4

Add the smaller flowers next. These are called the filler flowers. Cut the stems at a length so the filler flowers look like they are a natural part of the greenery. Don't pack them in too closely, however, because you can fill in where needed after the arrangement is finished. Also, packed-together flowers in an arrangement look unnatural. Some of the filler flowers should be cut so they rise above the greenery.

Step 5

Cut one of the largest flowers with the longest flower stem at a length 1 1/2 times longer than the vase is high. Place in the middle of the arrangement. That is your highest flower and is used as a guide for the rest of the larger flowers. Place the other larger flowers at different levels into the arrangement depending on how the vase is viewed. Do not use too many of the larger flowers or the arrangement will look crowded. Add smaller flowers and greenery throughout the arrangement to fill in the empty spaces and bring the arrangement into balance visually.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh flowers
  • Fresh greenery with stems attached
  • Vase
  • Floral preservative
  • Floral shears


  • Floral Craft Resource: Flower Arranging Ideas
  • Flower Arrangement Advisor: The Ten Basic Arrangement Forms
Keywords: flower arrangement, floral arranging, basic florals

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.