As a floral workshop teacher, I usually have an endless supply of floral design tips circulating in my head. A simple conversation about flowers can inspire a million different ideas for me. It’s exciting, but it also means I need to remind myself to slow down before I end up way ahead of myself (and possibly scare everyone around me with my hyper-speed verbal processing).
I will say: in all of the floral design tips and tricks I’ve learned, nothing’s more essential than learning how to choose flowers for your floral arrangements.
Essential floral design tips: how to choose the best flowers as a florist
Whether you’re an aspiring florist or someone who’s been in the biz for years, the flowers you choose really determine the quality of the arrangements you make. After all, even if you have super creative ideas or know how to put together a gorgeous arrangement, none of that matters if you don’t have the right flowers to make it happen.
So, here are my top seven floral design tips on how to choose the best flowers as a florist!
#1 – Choose fresh, local flowers whenever possible
One of the most important floral design tips I recommend is that you choose flowers that are fresh and locally-sourced whenever possible. Local flowers tend to be fresher, since they weren’t transported as far to reach you. Additionally, they are more likely to be what’s in season in your area, meaning they will last longer and hold up better in the current climate.
I recommend that florists shop for flowers at local flower farms, farmers’ markets, and flower markets if possible. Plus, buying flowers from these places is a great way to connect with flower vendors in your area and find people/businesses to possibly partner with in the future!
#2 – Pay attention to flower stems
Of course we know to pay attention to flower petals when selecting florals to work with. When it comes to my top floral design tips, it’s also just as important to inspect the stems of the flowers we’re looking at using. It’s best to choose flowers with stems that are firm and sturdy, versus ones that are bending and breaking.
However, some flowers have stems that are naturally more bendable and curved, and I want to clarify that those are more than okay to use. It’s more about making sure that the stems feel strong and look healthy than anything else. In fact, I highly recommend choosing flowers with a variety of stem types, such as tulips (curved stems) and roses (straight stems) to add depth and natural flow to your floral arrangements.
#3 – Avoid buying flowers with moisture on the petals
Flower petals with droplets of water on them are an iconic, picturesque view. Rain-kissed rose petals feel instantly romantic! Yet, it is important that florists avoid buying flowers with moisture droplets on the petals. While it might be a pretty look initially, this extra moisture can make the flowers decay and rot faster than they normally would. This happens because excess moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and that bacteria is what kills flowers.
#4 – Choose flowers with different textures
Textures are an essential element when it comes to floral design tips. Even if you’re working with lots of similar colors, choose flowers with different textures. These varying textures will give your arrangement personality and make each flower stand out, even in monochrome color palettes.
#5 – Choose flowers of different sizes and shapes
Many floral design tips focus on color theory and floral color palettes. Don’t get me wrong, color is absolutely essential and powerful when it comes to floral design. However, prioritizing perfect color schemes can make us forget how flowers can work together in other ways. Along with textures, I suggest that florists choose flowers of many different shapes and sizes to add depth and distinctiveness to their arrangements.
For example: picture a mixture of tiny blooms, thin and long blossoms, and round-shaped flowers (amongst a million other possibilities). This variety adds so much excitement and life to your floral arrangement. Just like when you incorporate several different textures, utilizing flowers of different sizes and shapes can spice up even the most simple, monochrome floral color palette.
#6 – Choose greenery that matches your florals
When choosing greenery to add to your floral arrangements, you’re not just choosing fillers to take up space. Greenery is such an important, yet underrated part of a floral arrangement! Not just any color of foliage will work for any arrangement,either. Keep a variety of greenery available in many different tones.
For example: I love having greenery on hand that covers a variety of color palettes: dark greens that are almost brown or black, light lime colors, muted or pastel eucalyptus greens, greenery with red tones mixed in, too, etc.
Then, when I’m choosing greenery to add in to my arrangements, I try to select greens that play on the color palette of my florals. For example, if I’m working with red roses and yellow tulips, I’ll incorporate some greenery that also has rich, red tones. I’ll maybe even add in a pop of the lime green foliage to play on the yellow tulips, too.
Sometimes, it may feel intuitive to choose a more muted foliage color with bright, rich-toned flowers, so that the flowers really stand out. Yet, when you use greenery that matches those florals, it actually makes your arrangement pop even more.
For more info on this topic, check out this short tutorial I made on how to choose greenery when designing flowers.
#7 – Get inspired by what’s around you
Last but not least in my floral design tips, I want to encourage you to take some time to let the world around you inspire you. There are so many ordinary items in your daily life that may be the perfect addition to an arrangement if you take the time to look for it.
Think about the fruits and vegetables in your fridge. Meander through the produce section at your local grocery store or market. Take a walk in your neighborhood and see what stands out. See if there are any plants or bushes in your own yard that strike inspiration. Are there any plants that would look epic if you dried them? You never know what you could forage if you go looking!
You don’t just have to use flowers that you bought from an official flower vendor. The natural world is brimming with inspiration and unique florals. You have total permission to get creative and use those in your arrangements, too!
Floral design tips on choosing flowers come down to using healthy product and letting your creativity flow!
My top floral design tips on how to choose the best flowers as a florist are really quite simple. It all comes down to this: selecting a variety of strong, healthy flowers and greenery.
Choosing the right flowers in the beginning will help give you complete freedom later on to do what you do best: design gorgeous floral arrangements. Once you’ve followed these floral design tips to choose your florals, get creative, and design away!