The Do’s and Don’ts of Flower Arrangements

By: Remy Raccuia

I’ve been obsessed with flowers for as long as I can remember. My childhood home had the most beautiful hydrangea bushes in the front yard; each spring, I remember the happiness and excitement that I felt as the bush began to bloom. Hydrangeas are undoubtedly my personal favorite as well as the most reliable flower in my arrangements. My flower obsession has evolved since childhood into a hobby and gift-giving activity. I often spend days stalking Mindy Weiss, a celebrity party planner, finding inspiration in her new, luscious arrangements. Seriously- my dream job would definitely involve event planning and endless floral arrangements!

But there is more to flowers than meets the eye, it’s called self-care ladies! Keeping fresh flowers around the house and in my room instantly lifts my spirits, especially during these unpredictable times. Indoor plants have the potential to reduce stress through suppression of the sympathetic nervous system (Lee, Lee, Park, & Miyazaki, 2015). Furthermore, there have been various studies that show the importance of spending time in natural settings as it has been shown to reduce one’s heart rate, blood pressure and even lower anxiety (Ewert & Chang, 2018; Haluza, Schonbauer & Cervinka, 2014). Arranging flowers is a fun way to interact with nature and can be beneficial for both physical and psychological stress levels. I find the process extremely calming and it is one of the few art forms I find myself naturally successful at. 

While there are technically no rules with floral arrangements, I definitely have a few tips for beginners. 

Do:

  • Make sure to cut your stems on an angle – this allows flowers to soak up water easily.
  • Cut any leaves that will fall within the water. Leaves cause discoloration in the water, making arrangements look dirty and creating odor. 
  • Stick to a color palette. I am all about a monochromatic arrangement – my personal heaven is white flowers everywhere! However, I do enjoy making arrangements based on the season or my current moods. A couple of weeks ago I created a fall bouquet, focusing on red and orange hues.
  • I like to organize my flowers in a ‘mise en place’ technique. This means that I cut and organize my flowers along my kitchen counter before arranging in a vase. By organizing the flowers first, I am able to observe flower height and asymmetry before jumping into the arrangement. 
  • Be creative with vases! Recycle those containers you have around the house – wine bottles, old candles, mason jars, and more.  
  • Use green accents or filler flowers to fill in gaps – look for long grassy stems, poms, baby’s breath, etc. 

Don’t:

  • Make sure not to place flowers near a heater or in direct sunlight
  • You do not need to spend a lot on flowers! Check out your local farmer’s market or even Trader Joe’s for an affordable selection of flowers. 
  • Don’t take things too seriously! Your first arrangement is not going to be ‘perfect’ or professional. It should be a fun and relaxing experience. 
  • It is important not to cut all flowers at the same length. A variation in height allows for more depth within the arrangement. 
  • Don’t buy flowers that have fully bloomed. Pick flower bunches that haven’t reached their full potential yet, as you want the arrangement to last as long as possible. 

Reference List:

Ewert, A., & Chang, Y. (2018). Levels of Nature and Stress Response. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 8(5), 49. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8050049Haluza, D., Schönbauer, R., & Cervinka, R. (2014). Green perspectives for public health: a 

narrative review on the physiological effects of experiencing outdoor nature. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(5), 5445–5461. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110505445

Lee, M., Lee, J., Park, B., & Miyazaki, Y. (2015). Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: A randomized crossover study. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4419447/pdf/40101_2015_Article_60.pdf

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