If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have a deep love for using flowers in my home decor. Floral arrangements are a key way I add seasonal touches (and color!) throughout my home because flowers by their very nature are seasonal. For example, good luck finding a poinsettia in the summer or a peony in the winter—it’s going to be pretty difficult. When using flowers, you have to keep to what’s in season.
In fall, there are a variety of flowers that are in season. Below I’ll show how you can use mums, dahlias, sunflowers, hydrangea, strawflowers, cockscomb, eucalyptus, and even cabbage in your fall floral arrangements. Although I have access to the Los Angeles Flower Market, a majority of the time my flowers are from my local grocery store—so I promise the ideas I share are doable. I hope these 10 flower combinations inspire you to get creative in your own home and maybe just treat yourself to some fresh blooms this fall.
Some General Flower Arranging Tips
Before we get started, here are a few tips to remember when arranging flowers:
- Use a clean vase! Even if you only had flowers in it before, don’t, I repeat don’t, just rinse with water. You need to scrub your vase using dish soap, insuring you’ve killed any bacteria that could harm your new flowers.
- Cut stems at a 45° angle. This prevents your stems from sitting flat in your vase; therefore, they can get more water.
- Remove any leaves and blooms that will be below the water line.
- Add floral food to your water. If you don’t have floral food, you can make your own solution by adding 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of bleach to a quart of water.
- Change your water ever 2-3 days.
1: Dried Hydrangea
With just 3-5 stems, dried hydrangea are the easiest fall bouquet I’m sharing today, yet the result is so impactful and elegant. In September, the summer hydrangea shades of white, blue and pink usually shift to soft green, beige, burgundy and purple. These deeper shades dry beautifully. And they dry naturally, so even if you buy fresh hydrangea it’s really not hard to dry them yourself.
How-To Tips for Drying Hydrangea
You’ll want to remove the foliage from your fresh hydrangea and then place in a vase with 1 or 2 inches of water. Place the vase out of direct sunlight and you’ll have dried blooms in a few days (the color of your blooms will fade and the water will evaporate). Once dried, you not only can enjoy your blooms all season long but for years to come too. The one’s I have pictured are 3-years old and still look so beautiful.
2: Dahlias and Sunflowers
I’m currently obsessed with dahlias. Their bright colors just speak to me and they add so much cheer. The only bad news is they don’t seem to have a long cut lifespan, so if using dahlias for a party you will want to buy them the day of your event. While peak season for dahlias is August, there are a lot available in September, some in October and then, if you’re really lucky, you’ll find some in November (but for a pretty penny). That said, I say enjoy them as much as you can in August and September. Their bright colors pair beautifully with sunflowers, a combination that gives a nod to both summer and fall.
I combined the dahlias and sunflowers with strawflowers, Craspedia Billy Balls, lemon tip leaves and mini eucalyptus. This combination lends itself to both large and small arrangements. To show you the versatility, I actually created three small arrangements in vintage zinc sap cups, one medium arrangement in a small white pot and one large arrangement in a larger cream vase.
Floral Arrangement How-To Tips
- Whether you’re creating a small or large arrangement, you’ll want to start by creating a base layer with your greenery. Start with a few stems of lemon tip leaves and a few stems of mini eucalyptus. Be sure to remove any leaves that will be below the water line.
- You’ll then add your larger blooms – the sunflowers and dahlias. Be sure to remove the foliage from your flowers before adding them to your arrangement. You’ll need about 2-3 sunflowers and 5-7 dahlias for a medium or large arrangement. For the small arrangements, you’ll use just one sunflower or 2 dahlias for each vase.
- Next, fill in any holes with your pink strawflowers and small dahlia buds (you may also need to add a few more greenery stems from step 1). I liked the addition of strawflowers because the pink petals matched the dahlias and the yellow centers matched the sunflowers. Strawflowers are also really hardy and will dry beautifully so you can use them throughout the season. Just add a few stems to your bouquet along and also add the small dahlia buds.
- Finish with craspedia billy balls and the fuzzy foliage (sorry, I don’t know its name). Billy balls are another flower you can buy and then use all season as they dry and practically look the same. I added a few stems. And finally, I don’t know what the fuzzy foliage is called but I added a few stems of those for added texture.
3: Dahlias, Pepper Berry & Fresh Sage
The hero of this centerpiece are the different shades of dahlias. They look beautiful in a metallic vase or a simple white pitcher. When creating an arrangement for a coffee table, I tend to use a medium or small vase. When creating for a side board, I use a larger vase.
Floral Arrangement How-To Tips
For both bouquets, I simply used a few stems of pepper berries and fresh sage and then added in a dozen or so dahlias. Note: for the white pitcher arrangement in the kitchen, I removed the foliage from the pepper berries, but for the metallic vase I kept the foliage. Just do what you think feels right. There are no rules!
4: White Football Mums and Orange Dahlias
Chrysanthemums come in thousands of different varieties, but one of my favorites is the white Football Mum (or Incurve Mum). I know picking the white mum is a little unexpected from me since mums come in so many vibrant colors; however, it’s such a wonderful staple flower. To me, the large blooms act as a wonderful fall alternative to the beloved white hydrangea. Like white hydrangeas, white Football Mums provide a lot of impact with just a few stems. The layered petals also create wonderful texture that you just don’t get with any other flower. The Football Mums look beautiful on their own, but they also act as a nice neutral flower to go with any other fall flowers. Here I paired them with a few orange dahlias. The mostly white arrangement with pops of orange really created a refreshing and unexpected fall floral arrangement.
Floral Arrangement How-To Tips
To create an all-flower arrangement with no greenery, it helps to start with a tight grid on your vase using floral tape. Remove the foliage from your mums and layer them around the edge of your vase first. You then layer up and into the center to complete a full look. Once that’s complete, you can add in your orange dahlias in a few spots. (Technically this arrangement also had a few stems of white lisianthus, but it’s not needed.) To keep your mums looking fresh longer, lightly mist them every day and change the water every two to three days.
5: White Hydrangea in Jack-O-Lantern Bag
Sometimes it’s all about getting creative with your vase. White hydrangea are usually available year round yet they don’t necessarily say “fall” on their own. So here I just placed a jar of water inside a Halloween burlap bag and then added the white hydrangea stems. Easy peasy. You could also use a real pumpkin. See my Blooming Jack-O-Lantern post for more halloween floral inspiration.
6: White Freesia & Crabapples
Did you know freesia grow outdoors in the spring if planted in the fall, but they also bloom indoors in the fall if planted in the spring? Did you follow that tongue twister? (Ha! Ha!) I think that’s why you can usually find freesia any time of year. They are readily available at Trader Joe’s so I often buy them for my home. However, alone they don’t necessarily say “fall” to me. So I was on a mission to change that. One day I walked by some crabapples at the market and immediately thought—that’s what my fall flowers need! The result is a light, bright and refreshing autumn arrangement.
Floral Arrangement How-To Tips
For this arrangement, I got creative with the container again and used a pumpkin soup tureen. I started with making a grid on the soup tureen with floral tape and then layered in the freesia stems. To add the crabapples, use wooden skewers. Just pierce a crabapple with your skewer, cut the skewer to the length you need and add to your arrangement. For this size arrangement you’ll need 8-10 crabapples. This same idea could be created using white football mums or hydrangea as well.
7: Strawflowers with Seeded Eucalyptus
Along with the dried hydrangea (bouquet #1), this is the easiest and longest-lasting arrangement idea. Strawflowers, also known as everlasting daisies, are lovely both fresh and dried, making them live up to their everlasting name. They resemble daisies, but their petals are stiff and papery. In fact, they aren’t really petals, but modified leaves called bracts. They come in a variety of vibrant colors including yellow, orange, pink, burgundy, and purple, and when dried, the colors remain vivid! I paired them with seeded eucalyptus because eucalyptus also looks good dried.
Floral Arrangement How-To Tips
I purchased my strawflowers when they were almost dried; however, you could use fresh strawflowers for the same affect. The strawflowers will naturally dry-out in your arrangement, but to dry your flowers properly refer to the instructions I found here. Start your arrangement by creating a base layer with your seeded eucalyptus and then add in your strawflowers. Easy peasy. (Note: the eucalyptus will naturally dry out too.)
8: White Cabbage & Cockscomb (or Coxcomb)
Yes, that’s cabbage. Cabbage makes for a great flower alternative in fall. I paired it with a few stems of fuchsia cockscomb (another hardy fall bloom) and greenery from my yard. For a little extra festive flair, I also added a couple gold paper straws that I embellished with washi tape flags. I used the arrangements as part of Thankgiving tablescape a couple years ago. You can see more of the details about this arrangement and my Thankgiving tablescape on my original post.
9: Feature Baby Boo Pumpkins
Sometimes an arrangement just needs a touch of the unexpected. Here I used a mixed-flower arrangement from Trader Joe’s. It features dahlias, cockscomb, seeded eucalyptus and cabbage. I then added a small baby boo pumpkin by setting it on the cabbage. The real pumpkin is a little heavy, so to make it easier on yourself, you could recreate this same look by using a faux pumpkin. A faux pumpkin would allow you to put the pumpkin on a wooden skewer and then place in your arrangement.
10: Dried Fall Flowers
As stated earlier, there are a lot of fall flowers that dry beautifully. Here I used dried hydrangea, pepper berries, strawflowers, seeded eucalyptus and Craspedia Billy Balls. I originally used each of these flowers in a fresh arrangement, but I saved the dried stems over the years and combined them this year for a fall-tastic bouquet that will last me all season.
Bonus: Succulent Pumpkins
When thinking of fall arrangements and centerpieces, I would be remiss to not mention succulent pumpkins. These are one of the easiest and most rewarding crafts I’ve ever done. Succulents are so hardy that you can literally hot glue their roots to a pumpkin and they still survive. In fact, they take root into the pumpkin so that when fall is over you can replant your succulents. Simply amazing!
Succulent Pumpkin How-to Tips
You’ll need a pumpkin, succulents, moss, spray glue and hot glue. First, spray glue a layer of moss to the top of your pumpkin. Next, cut a variety of small succulent pieces and hot glue them to the moss/pumpkin. And that’s it. You’ll then want to mist your pumpkin every one to three days to keep the succulents alive. Replant your succulents at the end of fall.
So which arrangement spoke the most to you? I hope these fall inspired flower arrangements have illustrated that flowers don’t have to be just for spring. Happy fall y’all! Treat yourself to some blooms this weekend! And if you do, please share your creations with me on Instagram and tag me (@tonalitydesigns) and use the hashtag #Setthetonewithblooms (Set the Tone with Blooms) so I can see your arrangements. I may just feature them on my account!