You don’t have to be a florist to create beautiful floral designs. In this how to design a lily flower arrangement like a pro post, I share a few tips and tricks and take you through this easy flower arrangement using fresh lilies.

finished lily arrangement. the lilies are grouped and tied with ribbon to create a lily topiary.

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If you have been following me on social media or here on my blog, it is no secret that I love floral design. In fact, I had my own floral design business for years where I worked mostly with fresh flowers making flower arrangements for weddings and events. I’ve always preferred working with real flowers however as a floral designer I’m happy to practice my flower arranging with faux flowers as well. Today I’m going to take you step by step through how to design a lily flower arrangement like a pro using fresh lilies. This same design can be done with faux Lilies as well!

Best Tips for Choosing the Perfect Lilies:

Boy is it tempting to buy a big bunch of full-blown beautiful Lilies! They’re so beautiful, right?? But wait…that is not always the best idea for a few reasons. Let’s discuss:

  • First, buying lilies in bloom will ensure a shorter lifespan – best to get them closed or with the blooms just starting to open for a longer-lasting bouquet.
  • Second, lilies in full bloom can be delicate flowers, and getting them home without damaging them can be challenging. Bought in full bloom you are sure to lose a bloom or two along the way.
  • Lastly, grocery stores and flower markets rarely remove the stamen once the lilies open so often you will see blooms already stained from the orangey pollen. (more on this below)

Pro Tip: Purchase lilies that are still in bud form 3-5 days before you are ready to design with them, this will ensure you bought the freshest flowers.

photo of pink lily stem

Flower Prep:

Step 1: Bringing the Lilies Home

I resisted the urge to buy open lilies and purchased 2 bunches (3 stems each bunch) of tight lilies, one of my favorite flowers, from our local grocery store. They were $5.99/bu. Luckily this type of flower is typically available year-round. as mentioned above on the day I bought them the blooms were closed tight (meaning the buds had not started to open). I have worked with lilies many times before so I knew within days they would be blooming. Once home I filled a pitcher full of lukewarm water and added the floral food that came with the lilies. I prepped the flowers by stripping the foliage that would be submerged under the water line and with my design knife I cut the bottom of the stems at an angle. This design requires the stems to be long so I did my fresh cut as close to the bottom of the stem as possible.

Pro Tip: Warm water helps the lilies open faster.

Step 2: Once the Lilies Begin to Bloom:

Over the course of the next few days, the lilies will begin to bloom. You will notice the Stamen which consists of the Anther and Filament as they open. These are parts of the reproductive system of the flower. As the blooms open, usually one by one, I make sure to remove the Anther as this keeps the orange powdery coating from dropping on the petals of the flower. This powder stains the petals and can stain anything else it touches (i.e. clothing, table cloths, etc) so best to remove them by gently swiping your fingers over to pull them off.

Pro Tip: Removing the anthers does not injure or reduce the life of the cut flower.

pink lilies with anthers on
pulling the anthers of the lily
showing the anthers in my hand

Supplies for this Design:

*This post includes affiliate links, for more info on affiliate links visit here

You can find a full selection of floral design tools in my Amazon shop!

placing moss over floral foam

Variations and Special Considerations:

Different Types of Flowers: Lilies work well for this design but other flowers could work too. You could use a single type of flower like all roses or a mixture of flower types. A combination would offer a variety of textures and you could use bright flowers or something more neutral. For best results fewer large blooms won’t make the “stalk” doesn’t get too thick. The key is lots of large blooms with few stems!

Fresh or Faux: You can use either! There are some stunning faux Lilies available at your local craft stores. Just remember if making this design with faux flowers be sure to get dry flower foam instead of fresh wet foam.

Container options: This design was made in one of my favorite one-of-a-kind vintage wire baskets. Below I share some other container options.

How I Designed this Arrangement:

  • Once most of the lilies were in full bloom I was ready to design! The first step was to prepare the container. For this design, I used an old vintage wired bowl that I bought at Off The Common Antiques. This bowl will not hold water as is so I took a glass pyrex dish that fits right in the center of the wired bowl. Next, I soaked a block of wet floral foam in water and cut the foam to fit the container.
  • I then set out to cover the dish and foam (both top and sides) with moss so I could not see the glass or foam. I left the center of the foam open while adding the lilies.
  • Next, I took 2 long sticks and taped them together, these are supporting the lilies. I pushed this double stick stack right in the center of the foam sticking straight up.
  • From there I took one lily stem at a time, gave it a fresh cut then placed the stem down into the foam right next to the stick bundle. I continued this process all around the sticks using 4 stems of lilies. The lilies are kept high and serve as the focal point of this beautiful floral arrangement. The flower stems are top heavy and will seem floppy, no worries in the next step we are going to tie them up.
  • Once in place, I tied them close to the sticks with ribbon, placed them right under the blooms, and finished with a bow.
  • Lastly, I added more moss to cover any of the foam that was showing through.

And that my friends is how to design a lily flower arrangement like a Pro!

scissors, moss and ribbon

Uses for this Floral Design:

This is the perfect bouquet for dinner parties, brunch flowers, wedding flowers, or even sympathy flowers. I have it pictured below on our buffet set up for guests.

This lily topiary arrangement on dining room buffet

Frequently asked questions:

What do lilies symbolize?

Each variety of Lily holds a different meaning however the most common meaning is purity and fertility.

How do I care for this arrangement?

You simply need to keep a supply of water in the container. I find the easiest way of doing this is by bringing the arrangement to my kitchen sink and run the water until it overflows. Then I pour a little out and set it back in its place.

How long will this Lily arrangement last?

This arrangement should last approximately 2 weeks although there are lots of variables at play, the variety of lily, the freshness of the flowers when you buy them, the care for them, etc. Lily’s stems have a cluster of flowers with the lowest buds blooming first. It is not uncommon for the first blooms to die before the top buds have bloomed. You can simply clip the lower blooms off as they pass. You may also want to continue to remove the anthers as the new blooms open.

Do Lilies have any Fragrances?

A resounding Yes!! Some can be a tad strong and a bit overbearing for some. Many varieties become more pungent as they age.

How to Design a Lily Flower Arrangement like a Pro (Step by step instructions)

Formal Floral Design skills not required! Let me take you through the process of making this stunning Lily design.


  • Soak the brick of wet floral foam in water until saturated, about 1 minute. The easiest way to do this is to fill your sink and let the floral foam float until it sinks.
    wet floral foam soaking in a sink of water
  • Prepare your container by filling it with foam. With a knife cut the foam to the size of the container. The foam should sit snug in the container so it won't shift.
    fitting the foam in the container
  • Be sure the foam is not only snug fitting but also allows "wells" for water. This will reduce the amount of watering the arrangement will need.
    water wells on the container
  • Take the moss and break it into pieces and place on top of the foam leaving the very center of the foam open for now. If needed add more moss to cover anything you do not want showing.
    moss on foam to cover
  • In 3 different places, using tape, tape two sticks together creating a stick bundle.
    tape with skewer sticks
  • Push the stick bundle straight down the center of the foam. These sticks will be supporting the lily stems.
    pushing sticks into the wet floral foam
  • Take one stem of lilies, give it a fresh angled cut at the bottom of the stem and place it in the foam right in front of the sticks. Repeat for all 4 stems placing them at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00. The flowers should all cluster at the top of the design measuring 20"-24" from the bottom of the container.
    stem of lily pushed into the foam
  • Cut a 24" strip of ribbon and tie the strip around the stems of the lilies right under the blooms. This will secure them to the stick bundle.
    tying a knot with ribbon around the stems of the lilies
  • Take the same kind of ribbon and make a bow. Start by leaving a 8"-10" tail.
    ribbon tail
  • Loop the ribbon up and fold over towards the back and pinch. You want the loop to be about 6".
    first loop of the bow
  • Then slide the ribbon down and loop towards you making the same size loop and pinch on top of the first pinch.
    second loop on the bottom of the bow
  • Repeat the loop process making 5 loops, 3 on top, 2 on bottom. After the 5th loop leave another 8"-10 tail.
    close up of the bow
  • Take the pinch part of the loop and secure it to the arrangement by pressing it in the center of the ribbon knot used to secure the lilies to the stick stack. Tie and knot.
    bow is attached to the arrangement by tying the know that is holding the lilies and wrapping the center of the bow
  • Cut tails at an angle to finish.
    cutting the tails of the ribbon at an angle
  • Take some wire cutters and cut the tops of the sticks down.
    cutting the sticks down so they are not sticking above the lilies
  • Water the foam in the container every 2-3 days or as needed. Enjoy!
    adding water to the water wells

Thank you for visiting the blog today for how to design a lily flower arrangement like a Pro! To watch a video tutorial of this design visit here. Have you tried decorating a cake with fresh flowers? If not, I show you how and answer your questions on my Cake with Fresh Flowers post. Also please check out my Garden Rose post to see the most amazing Roses!

Keep creating friends!

My signature. a drawing of me holding a cup of coffee that says create.

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