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Floral Arrangement Tutorial

How to Arrange Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate links.

I took a floral arranging class as a university student. I often say that that class and my public speaking class are the two most practical classes I attended.

Floral arrangement styles have changed over the years. I follow several florists on Instagram (who have styles I love but that are very different from what I learned), many of whom are also the growers of those flowers, and they have inspired me to grow flowers I have never grown before. I find myself really drawn to very full arrangements, and in order to achieve those, I need to be able to cut more flowers at once from the garden. In the past, my arrangements have been smaller, because I had fewer flowers in bloom at the same time. Changing the layout in my garden beds has allowed me to plant more flowers.

Want to grow more flowers in your garden without spending a ton? Check out my article on Growing Flowers for Less.

Earth Angel Roses The Prudent Homemaker

When cutting flowers from your garden, it's important to cut them early in the morning to reduce wilting. I find that the closer to dawn I cut, the longer my flowers last. This is even more important in summer when dawn temperatures are quite warm.

Cut your flowers at an angle with sharp shears, and remove any leaves that will be below the water line to keep the flowers lasting longer.

Floral Arrangement 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I like to use chicken wire balled up inside a wide-mouthed urn to hold my flowers in place. Chicken wire will rust after a few uses, but it's still useable. I prefer to use it inside a container where it won't show for that reason. In a clear vase, I'll use a flower frog.

You can use floral preservative, but you can also use an aspirin in the water, or just change out the water each day to keep disease from taking hold in your vase. At the very least, add water to your arrangement each day (which is usually what I end up doing). Fresh water each day is best, as it gives your flowers needed oxygen.

 Floral Arrangement 2 The Prudent HomemakerI started my arrangement with any long greenery that I want to use on both sides. Here I'm using Bells of Ireland, which I grew from seed. These are a long flower that usually grows tall, but mine grew more sideways with our constant wind, so I decided to use them this way instead. Often I'll use vines here, such as honeysuckle.

Floral Arrangement 3 The Prudent Homemaker

I use the chicken wire to hold the stems in place. I prefer chicken wire over floral foam for many reasons: it's less expensive, it can be reused, and you can move your stems if you don't love where you first put them.

Floral Arrangement 4 The Prudent Homemaker

The next thing I added is a large Cafe au Lait dahlia on each side. A large flower or three are easy to add at the beginning. If you have several large blooms, the general rule for flower arranging is to have an odd number of them. In this case, I only had two dahlias in bloom, but on each side of the table, only one will be visible.

Floral Arrangement 5 The Prudent Homemaker

 Next, I added in several roses from the garden. These are a combination of David Austin and Kordes roses.

Floral Arrangement 6a The Prudent Homemaker

 Lastly, I added short bits of honeysuckle in bloom. 

Floral Arrangement Tutorial 6 The Prudent Homemaker

In my garden, I try to always have something ripe to eat throughout the year. I am now working to also always have flowers in bloom to be able to cut flowers each week for the house. It means doing a lot of succession planting and also seeking out flowers for each season of the year. Erin at Floret has a great article on succession planting; it's designed for flower farmers, but you can apply the same technique in your own garden.

June Floral Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

This is the other side of the arrangement. Having enough flowers in bloom in the garden at the same time  for this full of an arrangement is a challenge for me, but I am planting more flowers each year so that I can make arrangements this large more often for our home.

Looking to learn more? Here are two great floral arranging books from two of my favorites:

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Tagged in: Flowers


  • http://thejewishlady.com July 07, 2018

    I am also crazy about flowers! Are you familiar with Debi Lilly? She is a celebrity entertaining expert that I got to meet last October through a blogger event. I asked for Hanukkah ideas and she was gracious enough to help me make a beautiful white bouquet with a silver vase from her collection. I learned that a smaller size arrangement can be perfect for a centerpiece (previously, I only made huge ones that were too much). Here's a link if anyone wants to see it: http://thejewishlady.com/create-edible-menorah-o-organics-shaws-supermarkets/

  • GORGEOUS!!! Thanks for the tutorial! I've been considering trying to grow flowers for cutting on my balcony garden and this is a great incentive! I currently use a floral frog when arranging small arrangements , thanks to reading about it on this blog, and it's definitely taken my arrangements up a notch!

  • Carolyn July 07, 2018

    Thank you so much for this!

  • Debby in Kansas July 07, 2018


  • Becky July 07, 2018

    Your bouquet is lovely, as always.

    My mom was pretty good at flower arranging, and taught me the basics when I was a girl. Then, with most of my girls going through the 4H flower project, there were many, many bouquets made over the years, many times the day or night before the fair, accompanied by lots of groans of frustration, because they had to do it themselves with no help from me, other than advice if asked for. Now, I just make an occasional casual bouquet from my flowers. Truthfully, there are very few places in this house to put a bouquet where there is not a risk of it getting knocked over, but I do love to put out flowers when I can.

    I love the fact that you can grow flowers year-round so that you can have so may bouquets.

  • Athanasia July 09, 2018

    Becky, we too had plenty of flower arranging going on when the children were in 4H. They especially liked doing the place setting entry.

  • PJGT July 07, 2018

    I agree on having flowers to cut throughout the season - I live in the North. When I had room, I used to have a cut garden of annuals that would brighten our house without wiping out the gardens.

    Love your arrangement and instructions. Balled up chicken wire is a great idea.

  • Marybeth July 07, 2018

    Looks beautiful!

  • Mary July 07, 2018

    How beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I saved both books on my amazon wish list to ask for for Christmas.

  • Myra July 07, 2018

    That seems easy enough, especially for this girl. Floral arranging has always eluded me and I hate paying florist prices for center pieces for the holidays that I host. I don't grow flowers currently but we are buying our first home and I can't wait to finally be able to have my own yard where I can do what I want! I see I will have to start checking garage sales and thrift stores for vases!

  • Ellie's friend from Canada July 07, 2018

    What an inspiring article! I find it a challenge to get a succession of flowers in bloom.
    I have been trying to work on "succession" throughout all of my flowerbeds but it is hard.
    Many of my flowerbeds are in shade so I'm happy just to have spring flowers but it is my goal.

  • Becky Pratt July 07, 2018

    I took the mini-course from Erin at Floret this last few weeks and have signed up for her Autumn course.
    Your books look so interesting and I'm sure will help me learn more.
    I have admired your arrangements since I started following your blog. I am so happy to see you sharing how you make such beautiful flower arrangements. Thank you.

  • Heather in L.A. July 07, 2018

    I have been a licensed florist for over a decade(required in Louisiana). I always tell my clients to add a bit of lemonade or non diet lemon lime soda to their flower water... it has enough Citric acid to keep bacteria at bay and the sugars are dissolved. Greenery that tends to shed such as plumosa or sprigeria can be hardened off by crumbling a few cigarettes into the conditioning bucket.. it hardens the cell walls
    of the plants. My favorite greenery to use from the garden is willow, magnolia, fatsia, canna and aspdistria. I have even changed the color of hydrangea from blue to pink with a few drops of bleach in the water. I hope these tips help

  • SheeBA M July 07, 2018

    Wonderful tips

  • Cindi July 07, 2018

    Thank you so much. This was very helpful. I never would have thought to use chicken wire. You have inspired me to grow more flowers.

  • Virginia Starkey July 07, 2018

    So lovely! I enjoy your blog so much and appreciate that you make it so clear that being frugal doesn't mean living a colorless and boring life! You make frugal living so gorgeous with your floral art!!

  • Maria July 07, 2018

    Beautiful! I’ve always loved your flowers.

    Do you have any advice on how to plan out a landscape? Do you use software or how do you do it? My utility company just removed two large trees in my backyard and now I have to start the backyard completely over from scratch — there’s nothing but dirt there now. I’m at a loss as to how to plan this out except for wanting to espalier some fruit trees along the fence. I’m in zone 9b in CA.

  • I use graph paper and a pencil :) Check out the posts on my white garden under the garden header; as you go back to the first post, you can see my hand-drawn plans as well as the steps of our garden along the way.

    I have a number of garden inspiration pins over on my Pinterest boards: https://www.pinterest.com/prudent/boards/ I suggest making pins of gardens that you like, and once you start noticing a theme, you'll be able to see what it is that you like and plan from there. That's how I planned my white garden. I planned my backyard (before Pinterest) using photos from old magazines.

  • momsav July 07, 2018

    Beautiful! I do not have the ‘touch’ but I do try to bring flowers into our house when they’re available. As we’re so far north, i’m just happy to have lilacs and hydrangeas! Oh, and lavender!
    Thanks for sharing! Your photographs are always a treat!

  • Not sure where you are, but here is a blog post on perennials I found while doing a quick search for flowers in zone 3: https://www.shiftingroots.com/53-favourite-perennials-plant-zone-3/

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