LSU Garden News: Create your own flower arrangements to fill your home with color and scent | Home & Garden


Who doesn’t love a vase of fresh cut flowers? It is like bringing the garden into your house, filling it with beautiful colors and scents.

If properly maintained, the bouquet can last for days.

You can create a gorgeous arrangement for your home or someone special with just a few items. Start by choosing the design style for the room. Whether you are creating a delicate arrangement of pinks, purples, whites and baby blues or something tropical with exotic plant material, the choices are endless.

Your design can be small and compact or loose and wild. Make an impact using just one type of flower, like all tulips, hydrangeas, or roses. Or make it a monochromatic selection and use all white or all purple flowers. Be formal and romantic with red roses, or make it a more rustic or tropical arrangement.

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Flowers are readily available at grocery stores and wholesale stores. Here you’ll find everything from calla lilies and carnations to daisies and dahlias, gerbera daisies, orchids, roses and sunflowers. You can also purchase filler greenery such as Baby’s Breath, Bells of Ireland, Dusty Sucker, Eucalyptus, Fern, Italian Ruscus, and Ivy to add texture to the arrangement and fill in.

The size of your arrangement depends on the size of the vase. Put water in the vase. If your flowers came with a preservative, add it now. If you don’t have one, you can use a few drops of bleach to kill bacteria and keep the flowers fresh.

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A good rule of thumb is to make your bouquet about one and a half times the size of the container or vase it will be placed in. For a polished look, balance the width and height. However, don’t be bound by rules. Increase the greenery on one side while letting it overflow on the other to give your arrangement some asymmetry and interest.

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To arrange the flowers, start by adding the larger flowers first, then work in a circle, turning the vase and adding the flowers as you go. Cut the stems at an angle about an inch from the bottom with garden scissors to allow the stems to take in more water. Studies have shown that cutting the stems under running water helps them absorb water right away. Remove any foliage below the waterline.

Layer the next variety of flowers and repeat until all the flowers have been added, and finish the arrangement by adding greenery, baby’s breath or berries.

Of course, it’s wonderful to cut flowers from your own landscape for arrangements. Some flowers that will grow well in Louisiana and make excellent cut flowers for arrangement include sunflowers, ageratum, roses, dusty sucker, allium, zinnias, gerberas, asters, lilies, queen Anne lace, sweet William, yarrow, bachelor buttons, celosia, cosmos, marigold, gomphrena, hydrangeas, salvias and echinacea.

When creating these arrangements, cut the flowers early in the morning to make them last longer. Make sure you cut them off and place them directly in the water to make sure they absorb the water immediately. When arranging, cut the stems at an angle under hot running water about an inch from the bottom of the stem.

In order for your arrangements to last as long as possible, you need to prevent microbial growth. A few drops of bleach will help, but no more than a few drops, otherwise it will damage the plants. You can change the water every day and avoid bleach. Hot water is the best. Remove dead flowers and cut off ¼ to ½ inch of the stem each time you change the water to promote water absorption.

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