Designing fresh floral arrangements: working on the flower color wheel

One of the first things that comes to my mind when planning flower arrangements or bouquets is the COLOR. It’s one of the foundational elements of any kind of design, as important as form (shape of the flowers and the general arrangement) and texture (from smooth and elegant to ornate and airy.) (More on these later!) There are lots of different ways to combine colors that you might never have considered that can really make your floral arrangements and wedding flowers stand out! First, a quick primer on color. Color has three components: hue (what most of us think of when we say “color”), value (from light to dark of a given color), and saturation (intensity – vibrant or soft / subdued – of a given color). Today we are going to focus on Hue. All of us who went to kindergarten saw a color wheel (ok, maybe not the flowery version!)… And here are your basic shades: yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, red , red-violet, Violet (violet), blue-violet, blue, blue-green, green, yellow-green. To start experimenting with your flower arrangements, start working on the Flower color wheel.

The flower color wheel

For bright and intense results, combine Complementary colors in your bouquets and compositions. These appear opposite each other on the color wheel: Yellow-Violet, Blue-Orange, Red-Green. When you put complementary colors side by side, they tend to increase the intensity of each other.

Complementary combinations for fresh floral arrangements

Complementary color combinations for fresh floral arrangements

You can create calming, harmonious, romantic and fresh flower combinations using Similar colors. These are families of colors juxtaposed on the chromatic wheel, such as “Blues” (blue, blue-violet, blue-green) or “Yellows” (yellow-green, yellow, yellow-orange).

Similar color combinations for flower arrangements

Analogous color combinations For fresh floral arrangements

You can also create unusual and exciting combinations using triadic colors, basing your flower choices on three colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel. Think yellow / red / blue, or purple / green / orange, or blue-green / yellow-orange / red-purple.

Traditional color combinations for fresh floral arrangements

Triadic color combinations for fresh floral arrangements

Of course, this is just the start. As you get more comfortable with different harmonies, start experimenting with value and saturation. (We’ll take a closer look at these in a later article.) You’ll start to see combinations that work and don’t work, and you’ll start to see how following some basic design guidelines can lead to a great success in floral art.

Joan wyndrum

Joan is one of the founding partners of She holds degrees in Business Design and Business Administration / Marketing. One of his first jobs was in the flower retail business. Over the past 30 years, she has consulted with a wide variety of clients – many in the wholesale florist industry – in the areas of marketing, design and business operations. In 2007, she and her partner Larry Fox joined forces to combine their talents and knowledge to create to bring the beauty of the growers’ fields straight to the doors of the customers. Joan is frequently invited to contribute to popular publications to discuss all aspects of floral and floral design, including,, Wedding Planner Magazine, Yahoo! Life and The Wedding Academy’s The International Wedding Trend Annual Report, ”among others.

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