Plus tips for making the arrangement last longer.

By Real Simple
Updated May 04, 2018

If you're planning to give Mom fresh flowers this Mother's Day, make this present feel extra-special by arranging them yourself in a vase you picked out. This personalized touch lets you incorporate all of Mom's favorite blooms—and creating a stunning arrangement isn't as hard as it looks once you know a few tricks. To learn how to turn inexpensive flowers into something gift-worthy, we asked the experts at Farmgirl Flowers (don't miss their gorgeous Instagram account) for their step-by-step guide to a foolproof bouquet. Follow along with the video and instructions, below, to create a DIY present that's way better than a macaroni necklace.

What You Need

  • Vase (ideally one with a 4-5" opening and that's 6-7" high)
  • Shears or scissors
  • Flowers and Greenery (4 to 5 types of flowers and 2 to 3 types of greenery. At Farmgirl, we like a lot of texture so we recommend looking for blooms that vary in size, shape, and height!)

Follow These Steps

  1. First, fill your vase three quarters of the way with cool tap water. Next, make like a top chef and get your mise en place in order! First, strip the bottom leaves and flowers from each stem. Any part of the stem that will sit below the water should be stripped bare (this prevents the buildup of bacteria). Lastly, group like flowers with like flowers and like greens with like greens. You’re all set!
  2. Starting from the outside, begin placing your larger greens. Remember to trim at least 1/2-inch off the bottom of each stem before arranging (this will help them drink water more efficiently). Work your way around the outside, criss-crossing the stems inside the vase. This creates a structure for your flowers later on. Pro tip: Symmetry is good if you’re cutting hair, but when it comes to flower arranging, we like a more undone look. Leave the left side a little higher and the right side a little lower.
  3. Once your greens are placed, it’s time to add the bits. Keeping one or two stems aside, place smaller greenery and stems into the vase using the same criss-crossing method. Keep some open space at the front of your arrangement.
  4. Time for the flowers! Start with your tallest, largest flowers first. Emphasize your higher left side by placing a stem here alongside the greens. Make sure to stagger the stem heights by 1 to 2 inches. Once you’ve placed these larger anchors, start to fill in empty space with your smaller blooms. Pro tip: For extra drama, add any heavy-necked blooms, like tulips, to the bottom right so they spill out over the side of the vase.
  5. Keep the bouquet looking fresh for longer! Trim the stems once every other day and refresh the water as often as possible (bonus points if you do it daily!). Flowers live best in indirect sunlight and away from heat sources, like sunny windows.