How to Arrange Foliage

If you're already into arranging flowers, it's time to consider arranging foliage! Foliage can have a place of its own, or can be combined with an existing floral arrangement. The manner in which leaves are grouped together can add a lot of interest to an ordinary floral display.


  1. Image titled Arrange Foliage Step 1
    Look for variants in foliage. Leaves aren't just green. They come in a range of green shades, from light to dark, from plain to patterned, with acid-yellows, pale translucent greens, mottled grey-blues, etc. The variety is infinite and only limited by your ability to obtain different leaf types.
  2. Image titled Arrange Foliage Step 2
    Look for leaf shape and texture. Equally as interesting and varied as leaf colours, the textures and shapes of leaves are an important part of creating a good foliage display. For example, consider the different shapes and textures of:
    • A maple leaf
    • A sweetcorn leaf
    • A cabbage leaf
    • A camellia leaf
    • An English ivy leaf
    • A flax leaf
    • A beetroot leaf
    • A rhubarb leaf.
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    Look for differing weights of leaves. Again, there is a lot of variety here and you can create layered dimensions using light and heavy leaves together, or singly. Look for:
    • Leaves that are very light and feathery
    • Leaves that are very coarse, strong, and heavy - firm leaves will often last a long time.
  4. Image titled Arrange Foliage Step 4
    Select leaves according to season. Some leaves are better during certain seasons. The following rundown will help you:
    • Spring: Tulip, daffodil, chestnut, hellebore, iris, ivy
    • Summer: Globe artichoke, hosta, privet, gladioli, ginger, beetroot, Swiss chard, willow
    • Autumn: Azalea, magnolia, broom, geranium, rose, beetroot
    • Winter: Laurel, ivy, periwinkle, camellia, rhododendron, magnolia.
  5. Image titled Arrange Foliage Step 5
    Arrange the leaves according to your preferences.
    • Place heavier leaves at the back or base.
    • Place lighter leaves at the front, or above.
    • If adding flowers, use flowers at the back and front, to create a sense of depth.
    • Group varieties of flowers, colours, and textures rather than placing them haphazardly.
  6. Image titled Arrange Foliage Step 6
    Place the leaves firmly in the arrangement. Push each stem firmly into the arrangement foam or other floral aid to ensure the arrangement sits well.
    • Ensure that there is some water in the container.
    • Remove leaves that sit beneath the water line or they will rot and go foul.
    • Crush or split woody ends before placing in water.
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    Condition the leaves. To make the appearance of the leaves brighter, rub with olive oil. This will brighten shiny leaves, as well as removing any stains.
    • Trim off any scraggly, withered, brown, damaged or diseased parts of the leaf display.


  • Leave rose leaves on their woody stem rather than pulling off the leaf spray. This makes them much easier to arrange.


  • Many leaves are poisonous. Keep out of the reach of curious toddlers and pets.
  • Avoid changing the water daily; top up with fresh water instead.

Things You'll Need

  • Leaves
  • Florist's foam or other display aid
  • Display plate, bowl, or vase
  • Flowers (optional)
  • Florist's wire or tape (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Flower Arranging and Floral Art