I’m often asked whether I have any flower arranging tips for beginners. The short answer is: YES! However, sometimes I’m a bit hesitant to give too much advice to people just getting started with floral design.
My thoughts on flower arranging tips for beginners
Here’s why: discovering floral arranging is an exciting time, and an important part of the learning process is experimenting and just having fun as you try new things. Sometimes, I think flower arranging tips for beginners can end up feeling overwhelming and actually end up deterring people from trying floral design.
I don’t want to do that at all! So, in curating this list of flower arranging tips for beginners, I’m keeping it really simple. These are my top ten basic recommendations to help you get started with arranging flowers!
#1 – Clean, clean clean!
Prep work makes all the difference when it comes to flower arranging. I can’t stress this enough! Before you dive into designing a gorgeous bouquet or centerpiece, it’s important to properly clean your tools and containers.
Wash and disinfect these items to remove any bacteria that may be on them. When flowers come in contact with bacteria, they’re likely to die faster. The cleaner your tools, containers, and flowers, the longer your floral creation will live.
#2 – Prepare your flowers
To prepare your flowers, you’ll need to clean them, too. Remove any leaves from the parts of their stems that will be submerged in water. Leaves sitting in water often cause bacteria growth, so removing these leaves will also help your floral arrangement live way longer.
Next, when cutting your stems, be sure to clip them at a 45 degree angle. This makes it easier for flowers to drink up all the water they need. Once you’ve cut their stems, put your flowers in water immediately to keep them nice and fresh.
#3 – Caring for your flower arrangement
One of the most important flower arranging tips for beginners is not just about designing the arrangement itself but also caring for it afterward. To prevent bacteria growth, it’s best to give your flowers fresh water daily (or every couple days if you’re using floral foam).
Also, just like us, flowers get hangry (aka wilty and sad-looking) if they’re not fed. Good flower food isn’t just a sales gimmick; it really works!
#4 – Create a foundation for your flowers
When it’s time to start putting your arrangement together, you’ll want to use either floral foam or floral tape to create a foundation for your flowers. You can either stick your florals directly in the floral foam or create a grid across the top of the vase to help hold your flowers in place. Having this base for your floral arrangement will make it more sturdy and secure, so you can enjoy your beautiful work without it falling apart!
#5 – Arrange flowers in this order: large, medium, and then small
Now that you’ve done all your prep, these next flower arranging tips for beginners are about designing your arrangements.
It’s typically best to start your floral designs by arranging the bigger, heavier flowers you’re using first. This allows you to create focal points that you can design the rest of your arrangement around.
Next, start adding in your medium-sized flowers in a way that complements your large flowers. Finally, you can use cute, small flowers and sprigs of greenery to fill in space around the other flowers. These fillers are really what brings everything together as one cohesive piece.
Tip: save some of your longer stems with big leaves to use as fillers in the final step of designing your bouquet or arrangement. These types of greenery can be perfect for creating a cascading look that flows along the bottom of your arrangement.
#6 – Use your vase to help determine flower choice and stem length
Something that can be tricky about floral arranging is deciding which flowers to use and how long to cut their stems. A general rule is that your arrangement should be about one and a half times the height of your vase or container. This ensures that the vase doesn’t take away the focus from your beautiful arrangement. When choosing flowers to work with, keep in mind whether the flowers you want to use will have stems long enough for the container you plan to use.
Additionally, consider the width of the flowers you want to use. The width of your arrangement should also be proportional to the height of your flowers and vase size. The goal is to create a balanced look overall so that the arrangement has a natural look that flows together seamlessly.
#7 – Embrace the imperfections
This may seem counterproductive to learning flower arranging, but hear me out: don’t be afraid to embrace the imperfections of your floral arrangements. It’s okay if your floral arrangements aren’t perfectly symmetrical or picture-perfect. In fact, these little quirks are often what makes your designs extra cool and unique!
Asymmetrical floral arrangements are always on trend, and it’s a great style for beginner floral designers to embrace. Asymmetric arrangements are very forgiving, fun to design, and are a classic example of how something “imperfect” can still look absolutely gorgeous!
#8 – Start with small floral arrangements
When you’re just starting to work with flowers, one of the most helpful things you can do is give yourself realistic expectations. Picasso didn’t learn to paint with such brilliance overnight, and I know I sure didn’t learn all the ins and outs of floral design overnight either!
Floral arranging takes time, practice, experimenting, and lots of re-working. This is why, in the beginning, I recommend starting by designing small floral arrangements. Don’t expect to create a huge floral installation or centerpiece your first time arranging flowers. Start small, and enjoy the process as you build confidence. Then, you can work your way up to arranging larger floral creations.
#9 – Find your own floral design style
It is important to give yourself permission to find your own floral design style. This is one of the flower arranging tips for beginners I am most passionate about! Sometimes it can feel like there’s tons of pressure to design what you see in magazines or on Instagram and Pinterest.
The truth is: it’s totally okay to design floral arrangements that don’t match what everyone else is designing! Yes, it’s good to know the general rules of floral design and to draw inspiration from other people’s arrangements, but don’t let that box you in. Even if your ideas aren’t what is “in” or popular at the moment, don’t be afraid to try them! Sometimes it’s the most unique, unexpected elements that truly complete a floral arrangement and give it that “wow” factor.
The best way to find your unique floral design style is to have fun experimenting with different floral color palettes, design techniques, aesthetics, flowers, greenery, etc.
As you practice floral arranging, ask yourself questions like these:
- What colors and color palettes am I naturally drawn to?
- What styles and/or aesthetics feel intuitive and interesting to me?
- What do I draw the most floral inspiration from?
#10 – Prioritize using fresh, seasonal flowers
Last but not least, remember that you’ll always have the best results using flowers that are fresh and in season! These are the flowers that are going to hold up well and look the most ideal in your arrangements. Using flowers that aren’t the most fresh or were grown out of season means these flowers will probably be more wilted and faded. So, when you’re planning your next floral arrangement, be sure to do some research to find out what flowers are in season in your area.
Plus, incorporating seasonal flowers or ones that are unique to your area is a fun way to make your floral arrangements even more unique!
Have fun using these flower arranging tips for beginners as you dive into floral design!
Now you’ve learned all the most essential flower arranging tips for beginners, and it’s time for you to dive into designing some actual arrangements!
If you’re still feeling a bit unprepared for floral arranging, I want to encourage you to just get started anyway. There’s always more to learn and discover about the rich world of making flower arrangements, and that knowledge will always be there. The cool thing about floral design is that you can learn a ton as you go! So, the more you practice, the more you’ll naturally learn.
Don’t overthink it. Just get started, and see how much beauty you’re already able to create. Have fun!