Stunning floral arrangements obviously contain vibrant blooms, but the secret to a well-balanced and professional-looking display lies in the strategic use of greens. These unsung heroes provide structure, texture, and a lush backdrop for the focal flowers that give the “wow!”

Greens serve as the glue that binds different elements together, creating a cohesive look and allowing blooms to be spaced out and framed aesthetically. They act as lines that guide the eye through the arrangement in a natural, flowing manner, preventing it from looking one-dimensional or incomplete.

Greens Offer Unique Characteristics

Many of the classic greens used by florists, including Leather Leaf Fern and Italian Ruscus are not typically grown in Maryland.  They are usually flown from other regions of the world. Greens grown for use with cut flowers here include Euonymus, Eucalyptus, Dusty Miller, Basil, Cosmos, Mint, Goldenrod, Cress and Solomon Seal.

The right balance of greens is crucial. On average, greens should make up about 50 percent of the total stems in an arrangement. This can vary depending on style, with modern arrangements using 30-40 percent greens, and lush, garden-style bouquets incorporating up to 60-70 percent.

Greens Provide Numerous Benefits

Floral greens provide structure by forming the foundation of an arrangement that helps guide the eye from one element to the next, thereby creating shape.  They also fill voids between flowers creating an abundant appearance.  Greens offer contrast with varying shades and textures that highlight flower colors and forms.  In addition, they help control costs. Generally, greens are less expensive than flowers, allowing for larger arrangements at the same price.  Greens typically extend an arrangement’s longevity as well.  Many greens last longer than cut flowers, maintaining the arrangement’s healthy appearance for longer than would otherwise be possible.

Using Floral Greens

To use greens effectively, start with a base layer to establish shape and size, and then mix different types for varied textures and shades. Use larger leaves near the base and smaller, delicate greens towards the top and edges. Let a few strategically placed greens extend beyond the flowers for a natural, organic look, but try not to overwhelm or obscure blooms with greens. Consider the season and style when selecting greens.  Wildflowers pair well with leggy, asymmetric, unkempt greens, such as Floppy Eucalyptus.  More formal flowers, such as roses, are better matched with tight, structured greens, including Euonymus and Mint. Some greens have a strong aroma (think Mint, Basil and Eucalyptus). Be careful when paring them with heavily scented flowers like Stock, Bells of Ireland and Lilacs.

Next time you make an arrangement, try being more strategic with the greens you employ.  Chose them carefully and arrange them just as deliberately as you would focal flowers for an improved finished product.  Help greens be heroes!