How to Prepare Flowers for a Floral Arrangement

Learn how to prepare flowers for a floral arrangement from floral designer Sarah Brysk Cohen in this DIY wedding flowers video from Howcast.

Now I’m going to show you how to prepare flowers for a floral arrangements. As with anything else, your trusty tools are the most important parts. So, you can use either a floral clippers or a floral knife. Obviously it’s really important to be very careful with a floral knife, and if you don’t feel like you’re ready, absolutely go with the clippers. They’re pretty foolproof. You’ve probably heard that you always want to cut flowers on an angle, so I’m going to show you here how to cut flowers on an angle with a floral knife in case you’re feeling really, really good. Take the floral knife and use your hand as a vice. No part of your hand is going to move; the knife is the only thing moving. So, just pull at a 45 degree angle towards your body, and that’s it. You can see that the angel here is about 45 degrees, and it increases the surface area for the flowers, so that they can drink more water. You also want to clean all of the foliage off the flower that’s going to sit below the waterline. So measure whatever vase you’re using, and then clean all of the foliage off the bottom. So I’ll show you on a Scabiosa. I can see, if I’m using this tall vase, that these greens are going to fall below the waterline cause I want to fill it up pretty high with water. So, i’ll just pull and pull. You can also clip any little greens that are going to hang below the waterline. Just like so. Now I’m going to show you how to prepare with a different flower – this hydrangea. It’s got two features that are important: a very tough, woody stem, and a lot of greens on the stem. So, first we want to make sure that all the greens that fall below the waterline are going to be removed. And with the hydrangea you can even just do it with your hand. Snap off each piece of green, or if you’d like, use your clippers or knife and just clip away any green part. Once you get the stem as clean as you’d like, you can cut it with your knife, and again we want to use a 45 degree angle, and again think of your hand as a vice. Only your arm moves and the knife moves, but your hand does not move, so you don’t cut yourself. Take the knife to the flower stem and just pull at a 45 degree angle, and I’ll show you now…just like that. Now, we talked about the woody stem of the hydrangea, meaning that you need to clean even more surface area for the flower to drink. Now we have this nice cut, but we also need to make a few cuts in that woody stem to let the water really travel up. So, you can kind of hack at it with your knife like this; just split the stem a bit. Or you can take the clippers and do the same, probably easier with the clippers. Just make a nice cut in the middle, maybe even another cut at the different angle.
So now we can see that the stem has really opened up and can drink a lot of water. Finally, with a flower that’s got a really woody stem, you want to use warm water, about the temperature of a bath that you would take. So the warm water can really soak the stem, and the water can travel up, and the bloom can drink. And that is how you prepare flowers for a floral arrangement.