9 Long-Lasting Florals That Aren't Silk

Ditch those dusty faux blooms and brighten your space with one of these gorgeous, low-maintenance fresh flower alternatives instead.
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Nothing fills your home with colorful charm like a gorgeous bouquet of fresh-cut flowers. Unfortunately, refilling vases with fresh blooms every week can add up quickly, tearing a sunflower-sized hole in your decorating budget. No worries! There are plenty of inexpensive, low-maintenance ways to integrate beautiful, long-lasting florals into your decor without ever stepping foot in the oh-so-scary fake flower aisle.

Best Dried Varieties

Dried Flowers Add Spice, Color to Floral Arrangements

Dried Flowers Add Spice, Color to Floral Arrangements

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Dried or preserved flowers are as close to the real thing as you can get and last about 12 times longer than their fresh counterparts. However, not every flower looks good when dried, and it's important to follow proper drying techniques to avoid moldy or brown-tinted blooms. Hydrangea, statice, yarrow, baby's breath, lavender and blue thistle are great choices, as they maintain their natural shape and bright color when dried and will last for months or even years in a clean, non-humid environment.

Unique Ways to Display Dried Flowers

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Lavender

LED candles inside of glass hurricane vases offer ambience without the concerns of actual flames, but there's no refreshing aroma. Bring a natural, organic scent to battery-operated hurricane candles with this quick trick.Get the look: Add lavender around the perimeter of a hurricane vase and tie it in place with twine, string or rope.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

DIY Pressed-Flower Coasters

These chic DIY coasters are an easy and no-risk way to add a touch of floral flair to your decor. Get the step-by-step instructions here >> 

Thistle

Thistle has great texture and color. Group it in a vase, or place stems sporadically through your arrangement.

Photo By: Hortus Ltd.

Baby's Breath

Baby’s breath and other filler species are often removed from grocery store bunches to upgrade them to something more refined. When used solo, though, baby’s breath can make for a farmhouse-chic floral centerpiece. Remove the baby’s breath from the bunch, then cut it to size with floral shears. To create a ball effect, place each stem into the vessel with smaller stems around the edges and longer edges in the middle.

Celosia

Celosia (a.k.a cockscomb) maintains its rich hue when dried. Here, red celosia is strung from a large painted branch to make a stunning hanging centerpiece.

© 2013, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Preserved Boxwood

Add a pop of natural color to a buffet, dining table or desk with gorgeous preserved boxwood topiaries. Learn how to make your own here >>

Hydrangea

Pick these flowers just after the first frost, in late morning when no dew is left on the petals. Put stems in a small amount of water and place the container in a cool, dark spot until the water has evaporated and flowers have dried naturally.

Photo By: Melissa Caughey

Magnolia Leaves

Here’s an idea that may not require going any further than your front yard: Cut long stems from a magnolia tree or shrub, then immeditately place in a vase of glycerin solution (1 part glycerin, 2 parts very hot water). When every leaf has absorbed the glycerin (about 4-6 weeks), remove them, pat the stems dry, then hang upside down in a warm, dry location. For greener leaves, add a few drops of green food dye to the glycerin solution. 

Bohemian Bedroom Decor

Dried lavender, blue thistle and a rose hang above a vintage headboard in this cozy, eclectic bedroom.

Billy Balls

Bright yellow billy balls and mood moss arranged in birch bark containers add punches of fun color to this Fixer Upper dining room.

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Cotton Stems

Cotton Stems

Cotton Stems

In place of cut floral stems, consider adding the rich look of cotton stems to your Fall setup. Simply gather the stems in odd numbers, five and seven working best, then place them into a large vessel. The neutral tones work well for year-round use, and work gorgeously with Fall tones such as orange and dark brown.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

If you're looking to replicate Joanna Gaines' effortless Fixer Upper farmhouse aesthetic, grab a few bunches of cotton stems next time you head to the farmer's market. They're inexpensive, make a gorgeous statement and are 100 percent natural. Win-win-win. 

Using Cotton Stems in Everyday Decor

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Warm and Welcoming Buffet

Create a colorful and cozy spread for your guests with a mix of dark and bright colors, organic texture and vintage touches.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

A Mantle With a Masculine Decor

Masculine style can be found in a wide array of objects. For an industrial farmhouse touch, vintage oil cans, metal containers and wooden cogs were used in the mantel’s decor.

Natural Living Room Decor

Nature has beautiful elements for decorating, including the driftwood and long-stemmed cotton balls shown here. Woven wooden shades complete the natural look.

Mantle Vessels Add Industrial Look

Vessels always come in handy for mantel styling, since they can be used as decor when left empty or as vases for cut floral, branches or greenery. A mix of vintage iodine bottles and brown glass apothecary bottles are used to bring shape and sheen to the mantel in an industrial fashion. For an extra rustic look, several bottles are filled with cork and cotton rather than flowers.

Modern, Rustic Shelving

Chip and Joanna Gaines installed a modern, sculptural shelving unit in the homeowner's living room made from plumbing pipe and wood planks, as seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper.

Succulents

Wood Planks and Succulents as Wall Decor

Wood Planks and Succulents as Wall Decor

A green take on wall decor uses raw wood planks as planters for succulents, as seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper.

From: Fixer Upper

Going on vacation? No need to hire a plant sitter for these hardy blooms. Succulents are super trendy, low-maintenance plants that can survive year round in virtually all conditions. Plus, a succulent plant often costs less than a single silk flower stem! Arrange in sandy soil and place next to a bright, sunny window for best results.

Eye-Catching Succulent Decor

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Jade Centerpiece

As seen on Fixer Upper, a concrete container filled with jade succulents makes a gorgeous statement on this wood dining table.

Hens and Chicks

Hens and chicks (on the right) shine in a charming silver cup. These succulents are alpine plants that tolerate poor soil, as long as it drains easily. Give them full sun; they seldom need watering and are happiest in temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees F. The plant on the left is an air plant, or tillandsia.

Photo By: Jenny Peterson/J. Peterson Garden Design

Succulents in Orb Hanging Vase

When planting a hanging terrarium, it is vital to create a mini environment where all the plants flourish equally, says Joyce Mason-Monheim, floral director for Accent Decor and a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. The orb-shaped hanging vase planted with succulents shows how you should use all succulents or all cactus in the planting because they require the same amount of light and water.

Stand-Alone Bloom

When cut, most succulents can last for up to a week out of water. 

DIY Geometric Planters With Succulents

Geometric planters fill with succulents create an industrial, eye-catching centerpiece for indoors and out. Make these geometric concrete planters >>

Live Succulent Pumpkin Centerpiece

With succulents trending in home decor and gardening, it's the perfect time to incorporate them in your tablescape. Live succulents are clipped and used to top off pumpkins and squash in this dramatic centerpiece.

Terrarium Garden Display

This clever collection of recycled glass terrariums in different shapes displays sedums (such as Sedum spurium and Sedum acre 'Aureum') and succulents such as Variegated Candle Plant, String of Pearls, Propeller Plant and Silver Squill. At the top right, Begonia 'Fireworks' brings in a punch of ruby red. A Hindu rope plant and Mesembryanthemum lehmanni are in the same container in front, near a tiny hens and chicks succulent. They were assembled and arranged by Sarah Brueck Williams, a stained glass artist.

Casually Elegant Place Setting

Casual is best when it comes to a potluck dinner table setting. Use what you have on hand; consider white or neutral organic tableware and everyday flatware. Atop each plate, place a folded linen napkin and a small place card, nestled in a sprig of succulents.

Succulent Garden Wall Hanging

This tiny alleyway didn't have much room for a garden. Designer Seth Boor made use of the space off of the bedroom by designing a custom succulent garden wall hanging. The garden wall adds an unexpected touch over a bed of asparagus fern.

Mix and Match

A trio of succulents in marble pots adds a fresh pop of natural color against a vibrant turquoise tile backsplash. 

From: Synthesis

Photo By: Chang Kyun Kim

Modern Glass Oval Terrarium

This sleek oval terrarium displays air plants and succulents. The glass terrarium, which is open at both sides, is sold by Terrain.

Creative Ways to Dress Up Basic Glass Vases

For rooms that receive direct sunlight almost all day long, a vessel or hurricane lamp filled with succulents may be the perfect fit.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Tabletop Planter From a Vintage Book

Turn a vintage book into a one-of-a-kind tabletop planter. All you need: some glue, a craft knife and a desert plant like a succulent or cactus. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Photo By: Design by Kyle Schuneman. Reprinted from The First Apartment Book, copyright 2012.

Fresh, Modern Bathroom Decor

Floral tile in cool blue and sage green creates a fun vibe in this bathroom. Fringed bath towels hang from a ladder for stylish storage, and a potted succulent adds a touch of life to the space.

Tree Stump Planter for Succulents

A tree stump can be at home indoors as a rustic side table, but it can also double as an unexpected planter. Designer Kris Swift drilled holes in the surface of this tree stump, then embedded small succulents on top. The result: A living table!

Photo By: Design by Kris Swift

Burled Wood Planter With Colorful Succulents

For a more refined take on the rustic look, fill this burled wood planter from The Phillips Collection with smooth succulents in a variety of hues.

Photo By: Courtesy of The Phillips Collection

Long-Lasting Wreaths

Use Rosemary or Hebe to Fill Gaps in Wreath

Use Rosemary or Hebe to Fill Gaps in Wreath

Photo by: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Fresh Flower Arranging, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

What if I told you that wreaths look just as great indoors as they do out? Work one of these chic floral decorations into your gallery wall, lay them flat on a table for a unique centerpiece or prop on a shelf, mantel or plate rail. Make your own from long-lasting materials such as dried flowers, succulents or paper blooms and switch out seasonally as desired.

More DIY Wreaths

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Recycled Paint Chip Wreath

To create the paint chip flowers, cut the end of the chip at a 45-degree angle with scissors, then twist around until a conical form takes shape. Add a generous bead of hot glue to the back where the two edges of the paint chips meet. Make several flowers in assorted colors and attach them to a foam wreath using hot glue, tightly placing them side by side until the wreath is completely covered.

From: Brian Patrick Flynn

Succulent Wreath

Use moss, succulents and potting soil to create a natural, living wreath that looks beautiful both indoors and out. Get the step-by-step instructions here >> 

Paper Magnolia Wreath

This paper leaf wreath is a modern take on the magnolia or herb wreaths you often see around the holidays. Best of all, the neutral color scheme means you can display it indoors all year long. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Photo By: Liz Gray ©© 2013 HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

DIY Magnolia Wreath

Magnolia trees produce gorgeous green leaves 12 months out of the year and can last for months when cut. Keep your front door green all year long with this super easy magnolia wreath how-to >>

Corn Husk Wreath

All you need is a wreath form and some tamale wrappers to make this simple, pretty wreath. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Midcentury Modern Wreath

Learn how to make this modern, atomic-age interpretation of the classic door wreath here >>

©Curbly

Sticks and Stems

Natural Wood Mantel Features Beautiful Decor

Natural Wood Mantel Features Beautiful Decor

The natural look of the wood mantel in this living room pairs well with a rustic paneled mirror and a vase of sprawling branches. A gorgeous piece of white coral completes the look, adding a coastal touch.

From: Carter Kay

Photo by: Carter Kay

Carter Kay

Decorative branches are about as low-maintenance as it gets. Just drop them in a pretty vase, arrange and you're done. That being said, not just any old stick will do. Choose ornamental types such as birch, pussy willow, curly willow or lichen-covered varieties for a polished look.

Eye-Catching Branches

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Round Mirror and Asian Style Table

A round mirror sits above a natural wood sideboard with flowers and an asian style table lamp in the the Gaspar living room, as seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper.

Creative Ways to Dress Up Basic Glass Vases

When cut flowers are placed inside of clear vessels, their stems become a key part of the overall look

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Branch and Butterfly Spring Table Setting and Centerpiece

This whimsical centerpiece is perfect for spring-inspired dinner parties and is surprisingly simple to create. "I gathered several manzanita branches into a tall vase to bring the outdoors in. These gorgeous branches, with their twists and curls, make such a dramatic statement on a tabletop," Katie Riley of Centsational Girl says. You can even replace the butterflies with seasonal objects, like leaves or snowflakes, for a gorgeous centerpiece to celebrate any holiday or season.

Simple and Stunning Centerpiece

A tall glass cylinder full of branches adds height to a tablescape. Since branches last longer than fresh flowers, you can use the display throughout the season. Design by Erinn Valencich

From: Erinn Valencich

Leftover Blooms

Wild branches with a scattering of pink blooms pair perfectly with this bedroom's cirque-inspired decor.

Paper Flowers

Homemade Paper Floral Centerpiece

Homemade Paper Floral Centerpiece

These DIY orange paper flowers pack a stylish punch, no florist required.

Ok, paper flowers are fake flowers, too. But if your home decor skews kitschy, bright DIY paper blooms are a fun and youthful long-term option and a unique alternative to silk or plastic florals. I'll brb — gotta grab my glue gun.

How to Make Paper Flowers 03:11

Julia shows how to make paper flowers for a bouquet that will last forever.

DIY Paper Flowers

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Leaf Centerpiece

All you need is some patterned scrapbook paper, twine, glitter spray and a few branches from your backyard to make this stunning centerpiece. Get the step-by-step instructions here >> 

Paper Flower Wreath

Add a pop of color with these delicate paper blooms. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Photo By: Kristin Guy

Paper Rosebuds

Bring an elegant flair to your next event with these easy-to-make floral party streamers. Get the step-by-step instructions >> 

Crepe Paper Daisy

Photo By: Jessika Creedon ©Jessika Creedon 2013

Paper Magnolia Wreath

This paper leaf wreath is a modern take on the magnolia or herb wreaths you often see around the holidays. Best of all, the neutral color scheme means you can display it indoors all year long. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Photo By: Liz Gray ©© 2013 HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Paper Dahlias

Create an oversized paper version of this stunning late-summer flower using materials you likely already have on hand: scrapbook paper, cardboard circles, scissors and double-sided tape. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Paper Mums

Download and print the template then follow the easy instructions to make mums that you can use in a bouquet or as a gift topper, centerpiece or corsage. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Two-Toned Tissue Paper Pom Poms

Make these simple tissue pom-poms to dress up a tablescape or hang them from a chandelier for a vibrant look. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Crepe-Paper Roses and Hanging Branches

Pair paper roses with real branches for a charming outdoor party decoration. Get the step-by-step instructions here >> 

©Jessica Peterson

Paper Gardenias

These pretty gardenias can be used in a bouquet or as a gift topper, centerpiece or corsage. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Paper Roses

Download and print the template then follow the easy instructions to make long-stemmed roses that you can use in a bouquet or as a gift topper, hair piece or corsage. Get the step-by-step instructions here >> 

Tropical Orchids

Make orchids that you can use in a bouquet or as a gift topper, centerpiece or corsage. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Coffee Filters and Cupcake Liners

Twist up cupcake liners, coffee filters or white cardstock to make pretty carnations and attach to a branch for a natural look. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Long-Lasting House Plants

Vertical Garden With Magnetic Planters

Vertical Garden With Magnetic Planters

Rearrange your living wall with these magnetic planter boxes from Urbio. How it works: You purchase as many magnetic blocks as you'd like, then stick on durable polypropylene planters equipped with magnets strong enough to hold everything from succulents to leafy ferns. Once you've set up your blocks, you can move the planters to your heart's content.

Photo by: Courtesy of Urbio

Courtesy of Urbio

From indoor trees to shade-loving indoor plants, the options are endless when it comes to low-maintenance house plants. No green thumb required (seriously!).

Gardening Tips: Houseplants 02:47

Ahmed shares a way to create tropical conditions houseplants will love.

Houseplants 101: Choosing the Right Indoor Greenery

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Bromeliad

Bromeliads come in a variety of colors and sizes. They're known for their thick leaves and red flowering spikes, a feature that only comes once in its lifetime. Proper watering is key to the growth and well-being of bromeliads. When watered too much, the plant can suffer from root rot; however, when not watered enough, they can quickly dry out. Bromeliads thrive best in sunny rooms with indirect sunlight.

©Rustic White Photography

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Open up the pages of any home decor magazine and you're certain to find designer homes filled with fiddle leaf fig trees. These natural beauties are loved by designers for their sculptural qualities and their ability to grow more than eight feet tall. These trees thrive in areas with plenty of indirect sunlight and temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to tell if a fiddle leaf tree needs water is to stick your finger into the soil. If the top of layer of soil is dry, but the lower layers are moist, that means it's in great shape.

©Rustic White Photography

Succulents

A beautiful way to dress up small surfaces around your home is with groupings of young succulents. They come in a variety of species and cost approximately $2 per plant. For succulents to thrive, they must be placed in rooms with direct sunlight and watered generously in the summer -- but allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. During the winter, you can water every other month.

©Rustic White Photography

Philodendrons

Tropical plants, especially philodendrons, are popular with designers due to the shape and large scale of their leaves. In order for philodendrons to flourish, they should live in spaces which receive indirect sunlight and offer plenty of shade. In order to ensure proper growth, keep their soil moist at all times and make sure the room's temperature remains above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

©Rustic White Photography

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair ferns are known for their flowing, feminine style. But unlike most ferns, the maidenhair is a bit more fickle and requires special care. These particular ferns require a shady environment with no direct sunlight or bright light, otherwise its leaves will quickly start to discolor. Since maidenhair ferns love humidity, place them on top of a watering tray to regulate the dampness of their environment, and be sure to spray frequently.

©Rustic White Photography

Lemon Button Fern

Lemon button ferns, also known as a southern sword ferns, are commonly found in shady, wooded areas. These beauties are drought tolerant, easy to care for and thrive in shady rooms. Just make sure their soil never completely dries out.

©Rustic White Photography

Peat Moss

Once houseplants are placed into their planters, camouflage the soil and fertilizer with a decorative top layer of Spanish or peat moss. The moss will trap escaping moisture, preventing plants from drying out too quickly. This top-coat isn't a perfect fit for all plants, though, because some plants prefer a more arid environment.

©Rustic White Photography

Floral Art

Window Pane Nursery Wall Decoration

Window Pane Nursery Wall Decoration

As seen on Fixer Upper, the Barrett's new nursery uses an old window pane to hang over the baby's crib.

From: Fixer Upper

Make a big statement by transforming your favorite blooms into unique, large-scale home decor. Upside-down flower pots, sculptured planters and oversized macro flower prints are just a few of the stunning and creative ways you can display florals year round in a big way.

Stunning Floral Art

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Sky Planters for Small Spaces

For apartment dwellers or those short on counter space, meet your new friend: the Sky Planter from Poketo. A locking disc holds the soil and plant in place, while a reservoir system holds enough water to hydrate most plants for two weeks. Use it to grow your own herbs, ferns, orchids or other plants with a small root system.

Photo By: Courtesy of Poketo

Macro Blooms

A gallery of large black and white floral macro photos makes stunning a focal point in this eclectic space. 

Comical Ceramic Bust Planters

Art doesn't have to be serious; these male and female busts from Floral Art double as whimsical planters. Fill them with easy-care mosses or succulents.

Photo By: Courtesy of Floral Art

Floral Prints

Framed floral prints are displayed above a wood panel headboard painted in white and lightly distressed.

Mediterranean Hall With Watercolor Flowers

Big, bold watercolors of flowers are striking companions to this hallway's series of arched windows and doorway.

Bright and Youthful

Colorful framed abstract flower paintings complement a bold floral pillow in this home office.

Photo By: Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Neutral Nightstand and Table Lamp With Floral Art

A graceful orchid blossom floating in a shallow glass dish is the perfect nightstand accessory. That it ties in with the wall art is design panache.

Photo By: 2id Interiors

DIY Botanical Art

Designed by Fixer Upper's Chip and Joanna Gaines, DIY pressed botanical art complements a shabby chic headboard in this charming master bedroom. 

Magnolia Accents

A metal planter filled with dried magnolia leaves is centered within an old wooden frame in this rustic entryway. 

Fresh Cuts

13 FUN WAYS TO ADD FALL TOUCHES TO YOUR HOME

13 FUN WAYS TO ADD FALL TOUCHES TO YOUR HOME

Create a unique look for your home by displaying different shades of coffee berry in vessels of varied height.

©Rustic White Photography

Rustic White Photography

Create a unique look for your home by displaying different shades of coffee berry in vessels of varied height.

At the end of the day, nothing can replace the look, feel and smell of fresh-cut flowers. Fortunately, there are a variety of blooms that will last two weeks or more when properly maintained. Rich-scented coffee berry, eucalyptus, orchids, chrysanthemums and zinnias are among the most popular long-lasting varieties and look great when displayed in large bunches. For maximum life span, arrange loosely in a clean vase, cut stems at an angle and replace water every few days.

Long-Lasting Fresh Cut Flowers

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Celosia + Thistle + Eucalyptus

These colorful blooms will last more than two weeks and look gorgeous when paired with neutral decor. Once the eucalyptus wilts, simply dry the celosia and thistle and use for many more months to come!

Fresh Cut Phalaenopsis Orchids

These bold tropical flowers come in a variety of colors and can last for several weeks when cut. Orchids love humid environments, so consider placing these gorgeous blooms in a bathroom or kitchen out of direct sunlight. 

Vegetable Arrangement

Just like fruit, vegetables make for amazing arrangement alternatives to flowers because of their color, shape and texture. Try a mix of cauliflower, artichokes, mushrooms and rosemary sprigs. To arrange them expertly, first add a floral foam brick inside of the vessel after soaking it in water. Then secure each vegetable in place by pressing it to the floral brick. Once they’re in place, fill the gaps between them with rosemary sprigs.

Eucalyptus Centerpiece

When buying flowers for a party, sometimes the best place to look is at your local grocery store. An easy way to make everything cohesive is to stick with one type of flower or green. To get this look, pick up two bunches of eucalyptus, which is readily available at any grocery store. Fill an odd number of clear vases with chunky glitter, then add a few sprigs of your chosen flower.

Chrysanthemums

These beautiful blooms can last as long as 30 days when freshened regularly. For maximum life, remove all leaves from the stems before placing in fresh water. 

Photo By: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images ©2014, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Sunflowers and Alstroemeria

Due to their noted longevity and inexpensive price tag, sunflowers and alstroemeria are some of today's most commonly used flowers. Make a simple, pretty statement by arranging these blooms in large, colorful bunches and displaying in white or clear glass vases.

Carnations

Carnations are one of the most readily available and affordable flowers found at supermarkets from coast to coast. Give them a stylish upgrade by arranging them ombre style. To do so, pick up three different shades of the same color carnation, cut them to size so that they sit low around the perimeter of the vessel, then graduate from one color to another.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Zinnias

Old-fashioned zinnias can last as long as 24 days when cut and come in a variety of eye-catching colors.

Photo By: Johnny's Selected Seeds

Next Up

Designer Confession: I Use Faux Plants and Here's Why

Let's get this out of the way: I love faux plants, I use faux plants and I give you full permission to use them too. Follow these important faux plant tips and you'll have thriving plants FOREVER.

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