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How to Learn the Basics of Ikebana

Ikebana, or the Japanese art of flower arrangement, takes years of study to master, but some of the basic principles can be appreciated without formal study.


  • Step 1: Layer the flower arrangement Layer the flower arrangement. The uppermost layer of the arrangement should point to the sky; the middle layer addresses man, and the lowest layer, earth.
  • TIP: Ikebana strives for harmony with nature. In keeping with the natural order, a plant found in the mountains should never be placed lower in the arrangement than one found in a meadow.
  • Step 2: Aim for balance Strive to achieve balance between all elements of the arrangement, including the container.
  • TIP: There are many schools of ikebana, each with a preferred style of arrangement. Some use tall vases and vertical lines, others use upright arrangements, and still others use shallow containers.
  • Step 3: Use asymmetry Keep the flower arrangement asymmetrical. Use an odd number of branches with varying stem lengths.
  • Step 4: Consider how the arrangement will be viewed Consider how the arrangement will be viewed. Traditionally the arrangement was viewed only from the front, but now ikebana arrangements are viewed from different positions.
  • FACT: Did you know? Chinese monks in the sixth century C.E. brought the concept of flower arranging to Japan.

You Will Need

  • Plant materials
  • Container
  • Viewing position

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