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Elements Of Floral Design

In addition to flowers, there are three basic elements that go into constructing an arrangement: the container, the plant material, and the mechanical aids. Understanding these three items is one of the first steps to learning basic floral design.


Choosing the right container to hold an arrangement is not always easy. A floral designer must keep in mind what the design will look like and choose the container that will best compliment the color, texture, and proportion of the arrangement.

Plant Material

In creating flower arrangements, the designer usually uses fresh flowers or plants, although silk or dried flowers and plants can also be used. Most floral designers purchase their materials from wholesale suppliers.


A base or armature is usually placed inside the vase or container to hold the flower stems in place. Neat, clean, and unobtrusive floral foam and chicken wire are often used. The most popular way to hold plants in place is with a needle holder or pin holder (sometimes called a kensan). Good needle holders are straight-sided with a heavy lead base and an abundance of sharp, pointed, and closely spaced needles.

Designers often construct the foundation of the design by lining and filling a container. They use fresh plant material, decorative wood, or even wire, plastic, or rope. Filler plants, which have small blooms, serve as a background for the main flowers in the arrangement. Baby's breath is often used as filler.

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