Budget-Friendly Flower Arrangements

These clever tips will help you cut the cost of creating a beautiful flower arrangement.

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Do you like to have cut flower arrangements around the house? This often comes with a cost. So how can you get more petal power without spending too much money? Combine cut flowers with budget-friendly alternatives, including flowers cut fresh from the garden. Try out some of these cost-saving tips that make a big impact with less.

Add silk flowers when no one is looking. Buy a pot of your favorite live flowering plant, such as ranunculus, and use it as an indoor bouquet. The trick here is to insert silk flowers into the pot, mixing them with the fresh flowers so they form a bouquet. By combining the silk flowers with the fresh ones, you'll make your friends think that the entire thing is real.

Use cut foliage from your yard if you can spend only about $5 on fresh flowers but still want to fill up the room with greenery at the same time. Cut stems of shiny, leathery, thick greens from the garden to use in indoor arrangements. These plants are tougher and retain more water so they will last longer. Just a few stems of camellia, boxwood or salal work well, or you can harvest some of the foliage of ornamental grasses. Mix these with a bouquet of cut flowers and your arrangement is much more robust.

Opt for cut flowers that give you the most bang for your buck. They can include everlasting flowers, which means that plants will last in a vase of water for a long period of time; examples of good everlasting flowers are globe amaranth (Gomphrena), yarrow (Achillea), blue salvia and cockscomb (Celosia). Lilies are absolutely gorgeous flowers, and they're a bargain because one stem gives you four or five blooms. Cut out the anthers inside the lilies. Not only does this keep the petals clean, but it will extend the life of the flower.

Add plenty of spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, to your garden in autumn. Come springtime you can harvest the beauties to use in fresh flower arrangements. A simple bouquet of tulips can transform a room. Tip: When using daffodils in arrangements, avoid placing other plants, like tulips, in the same vase; daffodils have a sap that shortens the life of other cut flowers.

Make a bold statement by adding just a few stems to a colorful vase or other container, like a regular wine bottle. By placing a stem of orchids in the bottle and placing it in a decorative vase, you have a lovely yet easy orchid display. Or think outside of the box on your container. Basically, all flowers need are vessels to hold water to the stems. When you purchase orchid stems, they usually come with glass tubes on them. You can use wired ribbon to tie several orchid stems together to make a swag. Add some greenery and use a leaf equipped with masking tape to hide the water tubes. Hang the orchid swag on the chandelier, and now you have an instant display.

Go for the understated look by placing individual flower stems in separate containers. For single stem flowers, use bottles or containers with narrow openings. Oil and vinegar bottles work great. Be a bit bolder by placing gerbera daisies in their own individual bottles and set the bottles on top of a mirror. Jazz things up by adding some bracelets and charms around the necks of the bottles.

When arranging fresh stems in a large vase or bowl, you can make it easier with one florist's trick of the trade. Take four plastic cups that are just about the height of the vase or bowl, and bandage them together with a rubber band or tape. Now instead of one big area to place stems, there are four individual cups to use for arranging flowers.

Before you put cut flowers in a vase, re-cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. This helps promote water absorption, which can lead to a longer plant life.

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