A Tip when designing with Citrus Fruits

Fiori Floral Design, Seattle

Quick Tip today —
Do you ever use fresh fruit in your arrangements and wonder how to keep them looking fresh?! Check out this tip that I learned from Miles at Fiori Floral Design

Lemons in an arrangement

Cut the citrus fruit to the desired size and then spray it with Leaf Shine! Next insert a pick and insert into the arrangement. The leaf shine seals the top of the fruit and keeps it from getting that dried out look! Yep, that simple!!

Leaf Shine

Care & Handling of Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas .. the flower that instills fear into so many floral designers.
Quite often in my design classes people will ask for tips on how to keep this flower alive in flower arrangements. Personally I love hydrangeas and have used tons of them over the years .. even in bridal bouquets, in July, in Colorado — think hot, hot, hot!

Here are my steps for processing and caring for hydrangeas –

When the hydrangeas arrive from the wholesaler the first thing I do is remove all the plastic wrap on their blooms.

Hydrangeas when they arrive for processing

Hydrangeas when they arrive for processing

Next, the important step — I submerge all hydrangea heads into a tub full of water!
I soak them for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes I forget and they end up soaking for an hour, no biggy.
I find soaking to be an extremely important step in the care of hydrangeas.
1) It washes all the dirt off their petals, it’s amazing how much dirt comes off – the water is always murky after the soaking.
2) Soaking rehydrates the flowers. Any bit of wilting is cured.
3) Soaking helps to fluff up the blooms, especially the hydrangeas shipped in from South America.

Hydrangeas Soaking

Hydrangeas Soaking

After the hydrangeas have been soaked I give their stems a fresh cut, removing about 1-2″ of the stem (and the little baggy if they are from South America) and immediately place them into a bucket with fresh water.
I do not use floral food, no particular reason why – I really just never use floral food with any of my flowers.

I leave the buckets of hydrangea out until the blooms are completely dried off from their soaking.
Once dry I place them in the cooler to harden off.
Overnight in the cooler and the next day they are in a great shape to use in designs. You’ll notice how firm the blooms are after this treatment.

Yes, I do use hydrangeas in bouquet work!! I spray a good amount of Crowning Glory on the hydrangeas.
It is important to spray the hydrangeas with the Crowning Glory and then leave them out for the CG to dry. Once it has dried the bouquets can be placed back into the cooler until it is time to deliver them.

Bella Fiori - bouquets of hydrangeas

Designed by Bella Fiori
Hydrangea Bouquets + July + Colorado!

Everyone has a different take on how to treat Hydrangeas, this treatment is what has worked for me over the years.

Flower Focus :: Daffodils

Design by Bella Fiori of Daffodils


Typically December thru April, sometimes they last until May.
Yellow, White, Peach, White with Orange centers; Doubles and Single petals.

  • Daffodils are ethylene-sensitive
  • Daffodils release sap that can shorten the life of other flowers
  • Clip the stems to the length you’d like to design with, set the  flowers in a vase and leave them alone for at least 6 hours
  • After 6 hours the stem should no longer secrete the sap and the flowers can be placed in your arrangement
  • Do not re-cut the stems when placing in arrangement or the sap will start oozing again!
  • Daffodils prefer to be placed in shallow water
  • The sap can cause Dermatitis for some people. Washing hands with soap after working with Daffodils is highly recommended.



Gaillardia vs Craspedia

What happens when Craspedia (billy balls) isn’t available? Or perhaps your client likes the idea of a fun texture like craspedia, but the yellow is a bit too bright. Maybe you are concerned about the amount of pollen on the craspedia and allergies?
Laurie of Fleurie Flowers has a solution! She does a bit of work on the gaillardia flower & Voila, a faux Craspedia!

gaillardia flowers

gaillardia flowers

gaillardia flowers

gaillardia flowers

Fleurie Flowers, Reedley, California

Fleurie Flowers, Reedley, California - Wedding Flowers

Pretty clever, right? I like how it ads a softer touch than the craspedia would have to the bouquets.

Thank you, Laurie!

Fleurie Flowers
Reedley, California

Floral Design 101 :: A Tulip How-To

Awhile back I was freelancing at Flora Nova in Seattle and we were discussing how to stop tulips from growing in bridal work. I’m sure most of you have experienced this phenomenon, right, of the Tulip growing out of your arrangements? Ok, so it isn’t really a phenomenon. Tulips are phototropic – meaning they grow and move in response to searching for light. Of course, this is partially what I find intriguing about the tulip, a floral design changes daily as the tulip moves and grows. Yet, this is not necessarily something I want to happen when including tulips in my bridal/bridesmaids’ bouquets. Christiane of Flora Nova showed me a trick she had been taught, to slice the stem right below the bloom to slow the growth of the tulip. I was skeptical, does it really work? Plus, you all know I like a good test/challenge — so here goes! I picked up 20 stems of extremely fresh & tight tulips from the wholesaler and tried out this technique.
See what happens —

Flirty Fleurs - yellow tulips in sleeves

Two bunches of tulips fresh from the wholesaler. I will mix the two bunches and divide them evenly for the test.

Flirty Fleurs - Yellow Tulips

Tulips all stripped of bottom foliage and cleaned with fresh clips on stems.

Flirty Fleurs, How to stunt the growth of tulips

How do you stunt the growth? Simply cut under the bloom with a sharp knife. Be sure to not go all the way thru the stem! I sliced about 1/3 of the way into the stem.

Flirty Fleurs - How to stunt the growth of tulips

Another angle, you can see I slightly push down and slice below the bloom – this slows the growth of the tulip.

Flirty Fleurs - Yellow tulips in blue jars

Freshly processed tulips are place in clear water (no flower food)

Flirty Fleurs - yellow tulips how-to care for tulips

Day 3 – Cutting the stems does work! You can see the 4 tulips on the right side are smaller than the 3 on the left.

Flirty Fleurs, Tulip Treatment

Tulips on Day 6, You can see the bottom 4 are smaller than the top 3. The bottom 4 are the tulips which were cut.

Flirty Fleurs - Tulip How-To Test

Day 6 – Top 3 have not been cut, bottom 4 are cut.

Isn’t that something? From what I can see with all the tulips it looks to be best to slice the tulip when it gets to the stage where you want to slow the growth. A few of the really green, tight tulips that I sliced are not growing and opening – the good side of that is that I’ll have tulips to enjoy for at least two weeks at home!

Measuring Aisle Petals

I decided to get a second use out of all those peach roses we used for the Peach Rose Color Study and do a study on how many roses it takes to line the aisle. I measured out a 12 feet long space and made the width 10 inches. I used to say the lining of the aisle would be 6″ wide on each side, but when I actually pulled out my measuring stick I realized it is closer to 8-10″ wide!

The Aisle Measurement - 12 Feet Long by 10 Inches Wide

The Aisle Measurement – 12 Feet Long by 10 Inches Wide

measuring aisle petals

1 Rose Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

2 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

3 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

4 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

5 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

6 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

7 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

8 Roses Per Foot

measuring aisle petals

100 Roses spread over 24 inch wide by 12 foot long space.

Lessons Learned:

  • It takes at least 3 roses per foot to make an impact on the aisle (this is for lining the aisle, and not scattered down the center)
  • Looks better to layer the colors instead of doing all one color as it adds depth

  • How To :: Wire a Tulip

    how to wire a tulip

    Have you ever tried to wire a tulip? Doesn’t work too well, does it? Well, Holly Chapple taught me a new trick! Start with your tulip of choice…

    how to wire a tulip

    Cut the tulip at the desired length, leave enough stem to work with..

    how to wire a tulip

    Typically what happens when you try to wire a tulip is that it’ll rip through the stem or snap the stem. The solution is to tape the stem first!

    how to wire a tulip

    Next take the wire through the tulip, the base layer of tape will hold the wire in place

    how to wire a tulip

    The wire is securely in place ontop of the tape

    how to wire a tulip

    Tape over the wire and finish the tulip off

    Hints & Tricks of Floral Design

    Recently I sent out a twitter request & email to our mailing list, asking for input on seven different questions. Thank you to everyone who sent in their replies!!

    Here’s Question #4:
    Share with us and the Flirty Fleurs readers a special hint or trick you use at your shop…

    Best way to remove stickers from vases? Goo gone! It’s the miracle adhesive remover.
    Gerry & Rebecca, Petal’s Edge Floral Design, Washington DC & Alexandria, Virginia


    Clean Oasis floral glue spills with…. Oasis floral glue. Dip a wooden skewer in the glue and wait for it to become tacky then dab and roll away the glue spills with the tacky skewer. Works on tools, fabric, plant material and even your skin.
    Christine de Beer, My Creative Workbook/ Floral Lifestyle Design, Vancouver, Canada


    Fast Orange Hand Cleaner – even removes sap after working with holiday greens!
    Melissa, Primrose Floral & Event Design, Massachusetts


    I’m always fighting oriental lilies and all that pollen. It goes everywhere. One of our freelancers thought us to use pipe cleaners to clean the pollen off. Amazingly enough brushing the petals with pipe cleaners gets rid of all the pollen dust.
    Alexandra, Exquisite Designs, Chicago, Illinois


    Crowning Glory takes pollen stains off lilies and other flowers. Spray it on after you remove the anthers. The yellow stains drip right off. Plus it keeps the lily fresh. Nothing else I’ve tried works.
    Kate, Lilies and Lavender, Pennsylvania


    One of the best setups I’ve seen for designing wristlet corsages, Francoise’s husband created a corsage bar out of PVC Pipe and base board. Francoise can line up the wristlet bases, glue in flowers and leave them on the bar to dry.
    Francoise Weeks, Oregon
    corsage bar

    corsage bar

    corsage bar

    Sunflowers; Care and Handling

    Stages of a Cut Sunflower*
    Stage 1) Cut at this stage in the field to decrease petal damage. This is the first stage of the Sunflower, which we call “Tight.”
    – When received at this cut stage the most important action is to re-cut the Sunflower and put the flower in a vase/bucket that has at least 5 inches of fresh water.
    – Takes approx. 2-3 days to go from Stage 1 to Stage 2.

    Stage 2) This is the second stage of the Sunflower cut which we refer to as the “Opening Stage.” Be prepared to have stems within the bunch open inconsistently (as seen here).
    – When received at this cut stage the most important action is to make sure the vase/bucket has fresh water (must be changed every 2 days) and is maintained at a consistent temperature (between 55º – 70º F).
    – Takes approx. 2-3 days to go from Stage 2 to Stage 3.
    Stage 3) Ideal Stage for Sunflowers as they should have a more uniform cup-stage appearance. This third stage is known as the “Blooming Stage.”
    – Make sure water has been replaced from initial uptake (Stage 2) and re-cut to accelerate opening stage.
    – Takes approx. 5-7 days to go from Stage 3 to Stage 4.
    Stage 4) This is the fourth and final stage of the Sunflower and is subsequently named the “Open Stage.” Once it reaches the full blown state, petals will begin to fall off.
    – When Sunflowers reach this stage, they should be kept in low to moderate temperature (55º – 70º F), so they last longer and age less quickly.
    – Takes approx. 2-3 days before petals start falling off.
    * From Dos Gringos’ Website

    Wholesale and Retail Flower Handling* from Kansas State Florists Association
    Sunflower, Helianthus annuus
    Processing Care
    • Unpack flowers from shipping box as soon as possible.
    • Unwrap flower bunches.
    • Remove any foliage that will be under water.
    • Recut flower stems under water 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch. Use warm water, 100 to 105°F,
    preferably acidified to pH 3.5.
    • Hydrate flowers in warm water, 100 to 105°F, preferably acidified to
    pH 3.5 for 30 to 60 minutes or until flowers, leaves and stems are turgid.
    • After hydrating, place flowers in floral preservative and then in cold
    storage—32 to 36°F and 80 to 90 percent relative humidity.
    Display Care
    Check flowers daily, refresh preservative, discard diseased and damaged
    flowers, and recut stems.
    Other Comments
    Water stress problems are common and are made more obvious by the
    flower head weight. To ensure flowers are properly hydrated, use a
    hydrating agent, cut under water or use warm water.
    6 to 12 days.

    How to design a Ribbon Wrist Corsage by Angie Strange of Posh Floral Designs

    Wrist corsages are one of the most popular options for personal flowers for weddings.
    Many times I would start designing them and think that they looked like flowers a high
    school boy would give his date for homecoming. I decided I would try something new
    and design the wrist corsage on a ribbon and not on an elastic band thus my ribbon wrist
    corsage was born. So here’s a step by step instructional on how I make my basic ribbon
    wrist corsage.

    Step One: Supply List
    -Floral Shears
    -Floral Wire Cutters
    -Ribbon Scissors
    -Floral Tap
    -Glue Gun with extra Glue sticks
    -1 ½” Satin Ribbon (enough for the wristlet and a bow)
    -Flowers (we used three spray roses)
    -Any extra items (We used gilded Gardenia Leaves)
    supplies needed to make a wrist corsage

    Step Two: Wire all your flower pieces and floral tape them
    How to wire flowers for a corsage
    how to wire a corsage

    Step Three: Design your floral wrist corsage and tape all floral pieces together to create
    your beautiful floral wrist corsage
    how to construct the corsage

    Step Four: Cut a foot long piece of Satin Ribbon and some more for a bow
    ribbon bow for a wristlet corsage

    Step Five: Secure the ribbon to the designed floral corsage with hot glue by putting a
    small strip of hot glue on the taped stems. Don’t glue the stems on the bottom but at the
    top. Gluing at the top side will allow you to place the ribbon over the stems and then
    making it look nice so that you cannot see the stemmed exposed.
    how to glue together a wrist corsage

    Step Six: Glue your favorite style bow at the top.
    tie the bow on a wristlet corsage

    Step Seven: Finish Product.
    wristlet corsage on display

    Thank you, Angie, for this wonderful step-by-step guide on how to create a wristlet corsage! We truly appreciate you sharing your technique with Flirty Fleurs readers.

    Contact information:
    Angie Strange
    Posh Floral
    Dallas, Texas