Turn Supermarket Flowers into A Stunning Arrangement

30 Jan

Create Unique Arrangements From Store-Bought Bunches

These flowers practically beg to be arranged. Take some home!

These flowers practically beg to be arranged. Take some home!

Greetings Bloomies!

This week I want to focus on giving you all some pointers on how to make your own beautiful arrangements (you know- just in case you can’t get to me for an order.)

“Not-Quite-Scratch-Made” Florals

We’re going to take a page out of many a home cook’s playbook. If  you’re trying to serve a big spaghetti dinner, you probably don’t start with fresh tomatoes that must be skinned, diced, and stewed. At the very least, you start with canned tomatoes, and maybe even jarred sauce. You can still doctor it up with herbs, spices, veggies and meat to make it your own, and it will be delicious.

Home made floral arrangements can be done this way too. It’s simple to dress up even the most basic of store bought bouquets and make them look like a masterpiece. Here’s how.

Start with The Right Ingredients

Choose a variety of flowers and greens for a great home-made arrangement.

Choose a variety of flowers and greens for a great home-made arrangement.

Where to Buy Flowers for Semi-Home Made Arrangements

Most grocery stores have a small floral section. If yours doesn’t, you can try Costco, a Farmer’s Market, or look for a roadside stand. Depending on the season, pre ‘arranged’ bouquets are easy to come by and there are often multiple choices. In some metro areas, small corner groceries are a great bet. Each source will offer something unique. If you have the time, it might be worth combining pieces from a few shops.

Choose Your Flowers

Avoid anything with discolored foliage, wilted, or soft looking petals, mold, or crushed blooms. Sometimes a flower can get a little wrinkled or creased- especially lilies. Therefore, finding the PERFECT bouquet might seem impossible. Just find the least damaged of the ones you like. One bunch generally fits one regular sized vase. Keep this in mind if you are thinking of doing more than one arrangement.

Choose a Container

Do you have a cupboard stuffed with vases from old arrangements you’ve been given? Start digging and see what you find. The best size should be 8″ or so high, the size a dozen roses would come in. If you’re doing something smaller, or several arrangements, that’s ok too. Just make sure you have sufficient flowers for what you are wanting to do. I don’t recommend a vase larger than the standard 8″ vase, only because pre-made bunches are generally cut shorter than what you’d need for a taller vase. If, somehow, you don’t have a collection of vases stashed away, get creative with your container choices. Do you have larger mason jars, or cute buckets of some sort? Unusual containers can add to the over all effect of your arrangement too.

Step-By-Step Recipe for Home Made Flower Arrangements

Prepare Your Flowers

Just like cooking, a bit of prep work makes it easy to pull everything together. Instead of chopping vegetables though, we’re prepping our flowers and vase.

  • Remove foliage from the stem, most importantly what will be under the water line. This reduces the chance of the water getting slimy, or the flowers rotting.
  • Separate out your types of greens and flowers in your bunch. It makes it easier to see what you have.
  • Fill your vase with warm water (above tepid but below bathtub temps) and floral preservative packet, if one was provided. Stir to dissolve all the preservative.

Arrange Your Flowers

Now that you have everything you need, set up in your workspace, (um, kitchen table), let’s talk about how to assemble the greens and flowers into something gorgeous.

  • Cut stems on an angle. This helps the flowers and greens to draw up more water and stay fresher longer. Don’t wait to long after cutting them to get them in water- the cut will dry out and “heal” not allowing water up the stems. You can re-cut if necessary.
  • Start with the greens. Whether it’s eucalyptus, or fern or salal or another green, cut them low so they rest in the neck of the vase, obscuring the edge and adding a structure for the other flowers.
  • Place flowers. The tallest should be smaller and shortest should be biggest. There should also be a rounded or triangular shape to the arrangement. Make sure it’s not top heavy. That is, more flowers should be short and full, with a few taller ones to fill out the design.
  • Use the Fibonacci sequence/golden rule. The tallest flower should be 1.5-2 times the total height of the vase. The best arrangements feel balanced.
  • Add or subtract things until it feels right and pretty to you. Trust your own eye and sense of aesthetics here. This is your creation after all!

Tips For Using Common Grocery Store Flower Types

Did you know, tulips continue to grow after they're cut?

Did you know, tulips continue to grow after they’re cut?

Congrats – You just did flower arranging! I told you it was simple. Here are a few more pointers to help you create truly beautiful bouquets, centerpieces, and more.


If tulips are curved or arched, they will most likely be straight by tomorrow. Also, they continue to grow after they’re cut, so make them shorter than you’d think and you might need to trim them a couple times later on.


Roses should be cut under warm water and allowed to rest in water for an hour or so before arranging to make sure they last and don’t droop over immediately.


Gerbera Daisies can sag or have limp stems. I recommend floral straws or floral wire to keep the stems straight. Both are available at art and craft supply stores.

Happy Arranging, Bloomies!

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