Photo of full-blown roses and freesia, taken by Joana Miranda

Photo of red rose in a pot, by Joana Miranda

I love fresh cut flowers  – especially roses – but when it comes to arranging them, I often don’t do the flowers justice.  To begin with, I don’t think I’ve ever created an arrangement where I didn’t decide mid-stream that I needed to switch to a different vase.   And when I’ve finished with the “arranging,”  I tend to need to do a lot of fussing and re-positioning of the blooms.  The effect is usually not very natural or truly elegant.

When I couldn’t arrange a recent anniversary bouquet of freesia and roses to my satisfaction, I decided I needed to learn a thing or two about flower arranging.

Here’s the BEFORE picture of my arrangement:

Photo of floral arrangement in a stainless steel vase, taken by Joana Miranda

To find a remedy, I culled the internet for tips on “arranging flowers in a vase”, and experienced a few “ah ha” moments in the process.  Here’s what I found to be the most relevant:

The Vase  

Apparently, as a general rule of thumb, the vase should be half the height of your desired floral arrangement.  The width of the vase should create balance as well (i.e. you don’t want a tall arrangement in a short round vase, or a round arrangement in a tall narrow vase.)

General Flower Care

Make sure you fill your vase with cold water and use floral food if you wish.  Stems should be cut (with a very sharp knife or scissors) to twice the size of the vase you have chosen to use. For variety, leave a few stems a bit longer and cut a few stems a couple inches shorter.  Doing this will provide you the opportunity to create an arrangement that appears to be more full and rounded.  Remove leaves that will fall beneath the water line.  This will discourage bacteria in the water.

Next (This is the step that I usually don’t think to do)…

Start with arranging the greens or filler flowers FIRST.  Criss-cross the stems in the vase so that they will support each other and make the later placement of the star blooms easier.  Using a floral frog, marbles or rocks to support the stems can also make your life easier.

(As an alternate method, you can create a grid of criss-crossed tape across the top of the vase to hold the stems.)


When the greens or filler stems are all in, start placing your flower stems. Work from the edge of the vase in towards the center. Remember to vary your blooms, but keep the longest stems in the middle of your arrangement. The shortest stems should remain towards the rim of the vase.


When you have placed all the flowers, all that remains is fine tuning. Step back and admire your creation, and move things around if you aren’t satisfied. Remember that your blooms will last longest when you keep your flowers away from heat.  Also remember to change the water frequently to stop the growth of bacteria and prevent your water from turning green.

The Result:

Photo of full-blown roses and freesia, taken by Joana Miranda


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