I love having fresh flowers in the house. I’m a terrible plant mom (I could kill a succulent, and have before), so instead, I stock up on flowers weekly. Fresh flowers can literally bring life into any space, and a beautiful arrangement – even with grocery store flowers – can instantly upgrade a room and make it feel a bit more luxurious.
I went straight to the source for this post and asked my friend and florist Elena Shelton of Solstice Bloom for her insider tips on how to upgrade grocery store flowers and arrange them like a pro.
I first met Elena in 2020 when she was hosting a floral pop-up at a nearby shopping area. Her arrangements are delicate, feminine, and have a very effortless organic feel to them, where nothing feels to stuffed, contrived, or perfect. In short, I love everything she creates. (If you need a florist for an event or wedding in the LA area, be sure to check out Elena’s website!)
As much as I’d love weekly floral arrangements from a professional florist, that can get pricey. Buying your own flowers is a much more affordable option, and if you can master a few principles and tricks, you’ll be making your grocery store flowers look expensive in no time.
How To Arrange Grocery Store Flowers Like A Pro
What You Need
- An assortment of flowers
- Floral shears or a spare pair of scissors
- A vase or vessel to hold your flowers
- Floral tape (optional – Elena recommends this floral tape)
How To Arrange Grocery Store Flowers
Pick Your Vase First
“Make sure you get the right size vase for the amount of flowers you want to use,” says Elena.
If you buy too many flowers for your vase, your arrangement will look crowded, but if you use too large a vase, you may feel like you need more flowers to fill it.
Before you head out to buy your flowers, be sure to have a couple of vases in mind for your flower arrangement to avoid over or under-purchasing your flowers.
ELENA’S PRO TIP: You don’t have to stick to traditional flower vases, either. Check around your house for a fun ceramic vase or a pitcher for your arrangement.
Selecting Your Flowers
Once you have an idea of which vase(s) you want to fill, head to the store for your flowers! Los Angeles is home to an amazing flower mart with an extensive variety of flowers, but it’s not feasible for me to get there every week.
I’ve found that Trader Joe’s has a pretty great selection of seasonal cut flowers along with your standard finds like roses, hydrangeas, eucalyptus, etc.
Here’s what Elena suggests for the perfect variety:
- Greenery: This helps to break up color and add spacing between flowers and can include eucalyptus, myrtle, or isaeli ruscus.
- A focal flower: These are larger blooms such as roses, peonies, tulips, or dahlias.
- Accent flowers: These should be smaller blooms than your focal flower (mums, spray roses, small carnations, daisies, etc.)
- Texture: Look at your selection and add in a final texture to add even more dimension to your assortment. This could be another type of greenery, or a tiny bloom like a wax flower or baby’s breath, or even small berries.
If you’re not sure about colors, pick flowers that fall into the same monochromatic scheme, and sprinkle in some white. For example, my grocery store floral arrangement consists of white peonies, then light pink and dark pink accent blooms.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with color if that’s what you love! If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with an all-white arrangement.
ELENA’S PRO TIP: You can also pick up a prearranged bouquet that has an assortment of flowers and greenery in it, then some additional single variety blooms and greenery to add to the prearranged bouquet for a fuller arrangement.
Prep Your Flowers and Vase
“As a professional florist, this is called processing your flowers,” says Elena.
Take all flowers and greenery out of their packages, removing any leaves on the stems that may be under the water and giving everything a fresh cut. If there are any bruised or brown outer petals on your blooms, be sure to remove those, too.
ELENA’S PRO TIP: If you don’t clean the leaves from the stems, anything that sits under the water line will rot, smell, and reduce the life of your floral arrangement.
Once you have your flowers processed, fill your vase about ½ – ¾ with cold water, then wipe the rim dry.
ELENA’S PRO TIP: You can use floral tape to create a grid at the vase opening. This will keep the stems in place are you arrange your flowers like a pro. You don’t want the tape to be visible, so the ends of the tape should only go about ¼” behind the vase rim so you can cover it up with flowers.
If you don’t want to use floral tape, you can go without. Crisscross your greenery steams as you place them to create a framework-type setup within the vase for your flowers.
Design Your Flower Arrangement
As mentioned above, Elena makes beautiful organic arrangements that never feel too perfect or overstuffed. To achieve her same style, follow these steps:
- Start with your greenery first. Cut the stems short enough so that you can place them low around the vase edge, but long enough so that they hit the bottom of the vase to provide a sturdy base for your flowers. Place the greenery all around the vase, leaving some longer greenery stems to place on one side if you want a more asymmetrical look.
- Place your focal flower. The stems of your large blooms should be cut longer than the greenery. Cut these are a few different heights to create interest in your arrangement so that you have low, mid, and tall levels.
- Add your accent flowers. Similarly, to the focal flowers, cut these stems at various lengths. These should all be a little taller than your greenery, but not taller than your focal flower. Fill in any gaps with your accent flowers.
- To finish your grocery store floral arrangement, add in your textured component. These can also be cut as various heights and placed in the lower to mid height areas of your arrangement. These final accents can also help to fill in gaps where the accent flowers didn’t.
“Make sure you rotate your vase as you are designing so that you don’t have any strange gaps in the back,” says Elena. This is especially important if you plan on placing your arrangement somewhere where it can be viewed at multiple angles, like on a dining or coffee table.
I also like to rotate my vase while designing so that I can space out my flowers and keep my floral arrangement well-balanced.
ELENA’S PRO TIP: If you are using roses as your focal flower, you can open the bloom to make it look fuller by holding the rose stem upside down between your palms of your hands and rub your palms together. This causes the rose to spin and loosens the petals to be more open.
Finally, and my very favorite tip from Elena: “Your arrangement doesn’t have to be perfect, just perfect for you to enjoy.”
Be sure to change the water our every other day to help your arrangement last longer.