DIY Floral Arrangement Tips
Whether you are an experienced florist or just starting out, you can never have too many DIY floral arrangement tips. Any new information on the art of flower arrangement is always welcome. I have been working with flowers for a while and although, there are new ways of doing things, some of the old tricks are still helpful.
This article will provide DIY floral arrangement tips on the best time to cut flowers, best stage to cut flowers, the frequency of cutting flowers, flower conditioning for different types of flowers, floral arrangement equipment, and floral arrangement maintenance.
Best time to Cut Flowers
If you are growing your own flowers, it is best to cut them early in the morning when the stems are fully turgid. It is also okay to cut them late in the evening after they have had sufficient time to recover. Avoid cutting flowers during the day with warm and shiny conditions. This is because the flowers are most likely experiencing water-stress.
Once you cut the flowers, place them straight into a bucket of water. The longer you leave the stems out, the faster you are decreasing their vase-life.
Best stage to cut flowers
It is ideal to pick most of the flowers when they start to show color and the petals have begun to loosen. If you wait too long and they go into full bloom, then the flowers will go over faster and you will not be able to get the most out of them.
However, some flowers such as roses and dahlias may die before they fully develop if picked while too tight in the bud. Try to gauge, the level they are at when selecting the ones to pick. They should be picked when they begin to open but before the center is expanded.
When picking blooms in spike arrangements such as gladiolus and foxgloves, cut them when the lowest flowers have just opened. When you include them in an arrangement, you will enjoy the top flowers as they open.
The delphinium spires are an exemption and should be picked when most of the flowers have opened.
Frequency of cutting flowers
Most flowers especially annuals do not have a problem with picking as soon as they bloom. Some perennials, bloom for extended periods when picked regularly.
It is advisable to pick the blooms lightly and infrequently when the flowers are slower-growing shrubs. This form of picking avoids stressing the plant because picking is a form of pruning. If picking is done in excess, it can result in fewer flowers the following season.
Tips on flower conditioning
Flower conditioning is necessary because it ensures that we are able to get the best of the flowers in the displays we make with them. Not only do they stay longer but they also look their best.
All flowers should have the lower leaves in the stems removed. The basic rule is that all foliage that will be submerged in water is removed because it may lead to rotting when left on the stems.
Re-cut all stems using sharp knife or secateurs to avoid damaging the stems and consequently interfering with their ability to take up nutrients.
The stems should be placed in a bucket of clean water and left to cool down for at least two to three hours. Ideally, they should be left overnight, which allows them to have a proper drink before using them in any arrangements.
Special Flower conditioning
In addition to the basic condition given to all flowers, some require different conditioning depending on the type.
Hollow-stemmed flowers such as delphiniums, amaryllis and lupins should be turned upside down and the stems filled with water. Some people plug the end with cotton wool and tie it with a rubber band. Others just hold a finger over the end, invert the stem, place it in the bucket of water and remove the finger after the stem’s end is submerged. Personally, I have used both methods and they seem to serve the purpose.
Milky substance flowers such as poinsettias, poppies, and other euphorbias should be seared. The end of the stems (1 in) is dipped in hot water for 20 to 30 seconds. In the past, some florists have also held the stems over a candle flame until it is blackened. Always remember to repeat the searing procedure every time you re-cut the stems.
It is also important to note that when making arrangements that require the use of pin holders such as boutonnieres, you should avoid these flowers because the pins break the seal.
Woody stemmed flowers such as roses should have an additional cut made vertically through the base of the stem. The cut should be about 2 inches aimed at increasing the uptake of water. Some people also remove about an inch of the bark at the bottom. Furthermore, others even hammer or crush the stem to expose more stem. However, this is controversial because some of us feel it is unnecessary and can easily lead to rotting.
Toxic flowers such as daffodils and hyacinths should be conditioned separately. The flowers that exude toxic substances that are destructive to other flowers should be conditioned in separate containers. The flowers should be allowed to condition for several hours before they are placed with other blooms.
Floral arrangement equipment
There are different tools that you need to cut, condition, arrange and properly maintain flowers. The choices may vary depending on aspects such as preferences as well as availability. Let’s look at the most common;
- Clear tape, used to make grids across vase tops that support the stems in some types of arrangements. Also used to bind split stems and wrap bouquets.
- Hand mister used to apply fine mists of water for refreshing or reviving the blooms.
- Stem tape used to cover and seal individually wired flowers and foliage stems. The green color of the tape makes it ideal for the task.
- Florist’s tape used to bind floral foam to a plastic bowl or tray.
- Sterilizing tablets used to kill bacteria in a vase or container. Also helps keep the water clear.
- Paintbrush, used for dusting off pollen on flower petals. Very useful especially when dealing with delicate flowers that get damaged easily.
- Rose wires, thin wires used for wiring small stemmed flowers for different arrangements as well as for boutonnieres.
- Wide wires about 22 gauge, used for wiring flowers with larger stems, ribbons, and other materials.
- Pearl pins, used for pinning ribbons in place as well as for boutonnieres.
- Garden stakes, should be in different sizes and used for providing support and placing arrangements in position.
- The chicken wire used to make a mold that is fitted in an opaque container or vase and helps hold the stems in place.
- Floral foam, used in different arrangements to provide a base and a source of water to the flowers when soaked in water.
- Craft knife used when conditioning flowers to cut and trim the stems. Also used to cut soaked blocks of floral foam.
- Shears used to cut, trim and split woody stems of flowers and foliage.
- Florist’s scissors, used for cutting and trimming thin stemmed foliage. Check out these affordable ones on Amazon.
- Bottlebrush used to clean flower vases especially for reaching the awkward corners where bacteria can build up and infect future flower arrangements.
- Check Amazon to get the best prices for the florist arrangement toolkit.
Floral arrangement maintenance
Maintaining your floral arrangements is critical because it prolongs their life as well as make them look good.
- Change the water every three to five days. You can hold the floral arrangement to one side and empty the vase. Refill the water and make sure the flowers layback
- Misting should be done from the very beginning especially if you make the arrangement on a hot day. A hand spray is ideal and the heads should be misted from a distance of about 8 inches. Be careful not to get too close and damage the petals. Arrangements, where a foam has been used, should be moistened every other day.
- Re-cut the stems every few days to get rid of the ends that become waterlogged and mushy restricting water flow up the flower. Cut the stems at an angle at about 1-2 in. re-split woody stems, replace the water before positioning the flowers in the vase again.
- When working with a clear vase and stems of amaryllis, calla lilies and hyacinth, the stem can look unsightly when split. To remedy this, wrap the ends with clear tape to ensure that the stems remain neat and don’t spray.
- Some flowers such as gerberas can become floppy either after being cut from the garden or after arranging them. To revive and straighten them, trim the stems and wrap them in newspapers all the way up to their necks. Leave the wrapped bunches in a vase filled with water for a few hours.
The final note on the DIY floral arrangement tips; keep the arrangements away from direct sunlight as well as away from radiators, heaters, and fireplaces to prolong their life.
I hope you found the article helpful. What are the DIY floral arrangement tips that you would like to add?