3 Steps Toward Brainstorming Your Perfect Floral Centerpiece

In our previous post–Centerpieces 101–we explored the benefits of using floral arrangements as centerpieces for your next big event.  We discussed the basic principles of flower design so that you could understand the creative process that your florist goes through while working on your project.

I’m sure you’ve begun to realize that the possibilities truly are endless! This is extremely exciting and freeing, yet we know that it can also be quite overwhelming.  “What’s my favorite color?”  “What’s the theme of the event?”  “How will the venue effect the arrangement?”  “Do I have a favorite flower?”  “Will we be using round or long tables?”

hen you might start asking yourself, “Do any of these questions even really matter?”

The answer is a resounding YES!

How Many Flowers Do I Have To Choose From?

Perhaps the most overwhelming aspect of designing a flower arrangement is the seemingly endless list of flowe1381918_612757708766469_1015665487_nr species.

Depending on who you ask, there are currently between 100,000 and 400,000 different “flowering plants” in the world.  That’s a lot of options.  Trust me, you have every right to be overwhelmed.

Many of these flowering plants are only found in specific regions, climates, and habitats on earth.  You won’t walk into your local florist and see 100,000 species.  Still, you’re sure to find yourself face-to-face with countless options.

Bringing It Back To The Basics

In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to separate your floral design into three different “types” of flowers.

Line Flowers

Generally speaking, line flowers are defined by their long stems.  In addition, the flower blooms are close to the stem.  The purpose of line flowers is to provide the direction and shape of your arrangement, which is why they can be used both vertically and horizontally.  Line flowers are bold, flashy, vibrant, and unique.  Some examples of line flowers include

  • Liatris
  • Snapdragons
  • Delphiniums
  • Stock
  • Canterbury Bells
  • Tuberose
  • Veronica
  • Curly Willow

You can also use tall branches and foliage to provide the desired height and width of your arrangement.

1390773_612757732099800_1388716436_nFocal Flowers

Every arrangement has a color and interest focal point.  The blooms that serve this purpose are called focal flowers and consist of single stem flowers with a single bloom on each individual stem.  They are considered focal flowers because they command a person’s attention.  Focal flowers are used in mass to give weight to the arrangement.  Some examples of focal flowers include:

  • Roses
  • Magnolias
  • Hydrangeas
  • Peonies
  • Carnations
  • Gerberas
  • Sunflowers
  • Lilies
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Irises
  • Zinnia
  • Alstroemerias
  • Protea
  • Chrysanthemums

Picture the fresh flower stand on the side of the road or your local grocery store.  The bunches of flowers that these establishments sell are usually bouquets of focal flowers.


Filler Flowers

For a focal point to be truly effective, it is important for you to mix your line and focal blooms with filler flowers.  Doing so also adds depth and creates interest in the piece by filling it out.  Filler flowers are generally single-stemmed with clusters of individual flowers at the end.  They allow the viewer’s eye to move along the line of the piece, which is why they are also known as transitional flowers.  Some examples of filler flowers include:

  • Statice
  • Dianthus
  • Pom Poms
  • Field Flowers
  • Baby’s Breath
  • Poppies
  • Ranunculus
  • Solidago (Goldenrods)
  • Wax Flower
  • Limonium
  • Queen Anne’s Lace

3 Simple Steps

Now that you know the types of flowers, you can use these 3 simple steps to design a basic arrangement.

  1. Insert your focal flowers.  Remember, these are the highlight of your arrangement!
  2. Add your filler flowers.  These will create volume and fill any empty spaces left by the focal flowers.
  3. Add your line flowers.  The position of these will vary based on the arrangement.  Pieces that use vine-like line flowers and length when placed horizontally along the table.  Tall and straight blooms, on the other hand, create height and should be appropriately scaled to the proportions of the table and room.

Brainstorm Away!

Understanding how flowers are classified and used makes the decision-making process a little bit easier when it comes to selecting your floral centerpiece.

Take some of the flowers that we’ve discussed and use an image search to get an idea of what they look like.  You’ll be able to see what we mean when we say a “single stem with a single bloom” versus a “single stem with a clustered bloom”.

When combined with the information covered in this post, the images you find will serve as a springboard for some brainstorming.  Go ahead!  Take a stab at it!  Brainstorm, visualize, and get excited!

Taking these steps will allow you to clearly communicate your vision for your event and its floral centerpieces.  Your florist is an artist and her goal is to create an arrangement that reflects your vision.  Collaborate with your florist; she wants to hear your ideas, apply her expertise, and create a masterpiece that fits the bill!




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Annie Flower

Flower Arrangement Advisor

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