10 Tips and Tricks of Professional Florists and Floral Designers

Designing your own arrangements can be very rewarding but a few tips and tricks learned from years of experience (and learning from, er, mistakes) can help you have an even more enjoyable do it yourself experience.

Silk Flowers/Permanent Botanicals

Are you designing outdoor arrangements? Avoid paper, latex, and dried flowers – moisture and sunlight can quickly damage or destroy them. Use dried sticks and sturdy artificial flowers and other permanent botanicals. A good coat of Design Master Dresden Clear Glaze ™ or Super Sealer ™ works wonderfully to keep weather out and color in. Any clear, waterproof lacquer spray should do the job. Sand, cinder block, gravel, or plaster can all weigh down outdoor arrangements and keep your creations from tipping over in the wind. A great way to both secure your design materials and prevent them from blowing away is to partially fill your container with moistened play sand topped with wet plaster of Paris mixed according to the package directions. It’s easy to move and position your flowers and once it dries your arrangement with be strong and stable and everything will stay put. A few drops of food coloring added to the Plaster during mixing can create a colored plaster. Moss, sand, stones, or bark can also be laid atop the wet plaster to camouflage it.

Scotch Guard ™ spray does a fabulous job keeping artificial flowers bright and intact. Simply follow the directions on the can, applying several coats.

If your artificial creation gets dusty a hair dryer set on “cool” or “no heat” makes a fabulous duster for silk plants and arrangements. The hairdryer will drive any loose dust off of most artificial plants. You may want to do this outside to avoid blowing dust around your home. For larger plants and arrangements you can use a Swiffer ™ duster or other static charge duster to “sucks” dust right off silk flowers and leaves.

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Fresh Flowers

Have your fresh flowers gone limp on their trip to your home? Flowers also drink through their tops as well as through their stems. Give them a fresh cut and lay them down in lukewarm water so the whole flower is submerged.

Hydrangeas have a name derived from “hydro” (water) for a reason! Spritz their heads with clear water to prevent wilting. Try this with Orchids, Birds of Paradise, Anthurium and Heliconia, too!

Are your flowers not open enough to use? Give them a fresh cut and a new vase or bucket of warm flower food water, cover gently with a plastic bag or plastic wrap, and set in a warm area (preferably in sunlight) to force reluctant buds to bloom.

Does the smell of limonium or babies breath gross you out? Give it a spritz of Febreze ™ or other fabric refresher and allow it to dry. Apply several coats if necessary.

Some types of foliage such as ming fern, tree fern, sprengerii, and plumosa can shed terribly far before the blooms in your arrangement begin to fade. Coat the leaves well with two coats of spray glitter glue or spray shellac to hold the leaves in place.

After years of breeding for stem length, color, petal count, and size many commercially available cut roses have little of the traditional rose scent. A dab of children’s rose scented perfume on the vase or ribbon can bring back that old-fashioned scent to your gift or home display. You can also gently spray the arrangement with rose scented air freshener, holding the can a good 18″ away as you apply it.

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Live Plants

Don’t forget to dust live plants – their pores get clogged and they can’t breathe. Use a damp cloth or bring that Swiffer ™ duster back out to dust them as well. Many plants also benefit from daily spritzing with clean water. The most important thing about live plant care to remember is this – more plants die from too much love rather than not enough. Too much water, too much fertilizer are two of the most common causes of plant death. Read up on your particular plant’s care and follow the suggestions – plants don’t appreciate “treats.” The Internet is a valuable research aid for all plant caregivers.

Until next time, have fun making beautiful things. If there’s anything you’d like to know about floral design feel free to ask in the comment area of this article. Happy designing!