Rittners School Of Floral Design
In Boston Presents....

How To Arrange
Flowers In Water-II

Arranging flowers in a glass container in water, has become quite popular. The technique is actually a very old one that was practiced by floral designers for many years prior to the invention of foam. It is enjoying contemporary popularity for three major reasons.

  • First of all, the flowers are all in water, and thus will generally last a bit better than in a foam base.
  • Secondly, it is pleasing visually. Designs stylized in water tend to look quite natural.
  • Finally, it is also a good way to arrange flowers that may not last well at all in a foam base such as Calla Lilies, or Iris.
We hope that you enjoy your explorations of stylizing flowers in water.

What You Will Need

  • Glass Container
  • Stock or Matthiola
  • Lilies
  • Roses
  • Alstroemeria
  • Ming Fern

  • Glad that you enjoyed your first lesson stylizing flowers in a water base. Notice the contrast between this design on the left and the earlier one on the right. It can be made pretty much the same way that the last design was stylized. But it illustrates quite nicely how our materials used can change the entire atmosphere or feeling of a design. In this case we are definitely going for a red to red violet, pastel effect!!! In the earlier design we used a polychromatic mixture of colors. In this design we are keeping our materials in closer. In the first design we spread the materials giving a wider looking piece. In this design we added a bow. We chose not to do so in the earlier design.

    Of course, as in the first design in water, the trick to arranging flowers easily in a water base is to start with a wise choice of a glass container. While you can design flowers in virtually any glass vase, make your life a little easier. If possible, use a glass vase where there is a narrowing of the neck or tapered effect. (Wider necks & mouths are also possibilities, but require much more work.)

    Start by filling the container with water. Be sure to add florist's preservative. This will help to keep the water cleaner a little longer, and also feed some food to the flowers. This simple step can help your flowers last longer then they otherwise might.

    Start with your foliage. In this particular case we are using ming fern. Fill the base with your fern as shown in the picture. This creates the mechanics of the design. As flowers are added to the arrangement, their stems will criss cross with the stems of the foliage. The foliage stems help to hold the flower stems in place. The flower stems combined with the foliage will hold even more stems in place.

    This is well illustrated by the addition of the stock shown in the photo. Stock is a lovely flower, available throughout the year, and has a nice fragrance. It comes in many colors, (eg. white, red, peach, etc.) although we are featuring the pink here. It has a very nice "natural" visual effect, and so is perfect for this kind of designing.

    In this photo you'll notice that we are filling in a bit more with our stock.

    Notice that in both this photograph as well as the earlier one, we also have the addition of a bow. There are many kinds of ribbon materials available. We have chosen material that gives an opalescent effect, in effect reflecting back greens, pinks and gives a "cellophane/transparent" kind of feel. This provides an interesting contrast to the stock and ming fern.

    Next let's fill in with our lilies.

    Unlike the first design in water that we showed you earlier, where the flowers and foliage flared out throughout the design even down near the container, we are deliberately keeping the flowers in this design concentrated in the upper section of the unit. You can most definitely see the stems and the foliage of the stock without flowers mixed in towards the base. The overall effect almost gives the feeling of a flowering tree or shrub, or even a topiary. But the design is most definitely one that is based in a water medium.

    The final step in this design involves adding alstroemeria and roses

    Alstroemeria is one of my favorite flowers. You get multiple florets on a stem, so that it provides great value, and it comes in a variety of colors.

    Roses are an ideal flower to use to stylize arrangements in water because they do tend to be rather tempermental in terms of lasting quality. Placing them into a water base with preservative is certainly good for their health. The overall effect of all of our flowers gives a very rich and opulent design that is sure to be admired by one and all.

    We hope that you really enjoyed this brief floral design lesson. At Rittners School of Floral Design in Boston we provide floral design instruction that includes a wide range of different styles and techniques. Please come and take one of our hands-on workshop programs!!

  • Floral Education Center returns you to our Floral Education Center page with many other "How Tos."

    Your Webmaster is Dr. Steve Rittner, who may be reached at All photographs and text on this page are Copyright - Rittners School, and may not be reproduced, or used for any commercial purposes.


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