Flower Arranging 101
I used to help teach a flower arranging class when I worked on cruise ships and I was able to gain a lot of knowledge. If you’ve never created an arrangement from scratch, here’s a few tips.
1. Supplies: Flowers, Greenery, Props (such as twigs or decorations), floral foam, vase, water, flower food, paring knife, de-thorner if needed.
2. Pour flower food into water, let dissolve. Cooler water will keep the flowers closed a bit longer and warmer water will open them up.
3. Cut floral foam into sizes according to your vase. There are two kinds of floral foam, one for real flowers and one type for artificial. I accidentally bought the artificial foam for my wedding and realized it wasn’t soaking up water! So my dad came to the rescue and went to the store last minute to get the right type.
4. Once the floral foam is cut, place it in the water and allow it to soak on it’s own. Try not to push it down yourself because air bubbles can develop in the foam which will water the flowers inconsistently. Then place it in your vases.
5. Next, prepare your flowers. If there are excess leaves, you’ll need to take them off. This is to prevent rotting in the water but primarily, we want the flower to receive all the nutrients is can and having too many leaves competes with the flower. This is the time to take off any thorns as well. They make handy tools that scrape the thorns off. Find at a local hobby or floral store.
6. Now it’s time to cut your flowers and greenery. You’ll want to use a paring knife and slice at a 45 degree angle. Using scissors crushes the stem and creates a breeding ground for bacteria. So using a knife, carefully!, is the best way. Having a nice point on the ends will help with penetrating the foam like a spear.
7. Most people have a tendency to place the flowers in first then the greenery. This isn’t the best way. You want to put your greenery in first and cover the foam. Then add in any decorations you want such as a small wooden ladder or anything that is going to be an additional focal point. Then add or flowers. This is a great strategy and why they do this on ships because there is usually just one florist in charge of all the flowers. They don’t have time to rearrange the vases every time the roses wilt. So the greenery acts as a base and the florist can pull out the wilted flower easily without disturbing the rest of the arrangement and can replace with new roses or other flowers. It’s a great system and very efficient. So make sure your flowers are easily accessible.
8. If your bud is tightly closed, you can roll the base of it under your thumb and massage it. This will help loosen the petals and will assist in blooming.
9. Careful not to put your flowers near fruit! Ethylene gas is slowly dispersed from ripening fruit which can wilt flowers faster.
10. Last but not least, remember the scent your flowers are producing. Heavily scented flowers might change the appetite of your guests, so best to place these maybe in your foyer instead of on your dinner table!