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.

a low white wired bow with green moss with 4 lily stems coming straight up from the middle of the foam. Forming a Topiary effect with the big blooms at the top. below the blooms is a big floppy bow holding the stems together.

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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!

Supplies for this arrangement. Scissors, wired bow, moss, ribbon.

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.

Flower Preparation

Step 1: Bringing the Lilies Home

I resisted the urge to buy open lilies and instead opted for 2 bunches (3 stems each) of tight, closed lilies, one of my favorite flowers, from our local grocery store. They were $5.99 per bunch. Lilies are luckily available year-round in most stores. As I mentioned previously, on the day I purchased them, the blooms were closed tight, meaning the flower buds had not started opening yet. Having worked with lilies many times in the past, I knew that within a few days they would start blooming. Once I got the lilies home, I filled a pitcher with cool water and added the included floral food sachet. To prep the flowers, I stripped away any foliage that would sit under the water line and, using my floral knife, trimmed the flower stems at an angle as close to the base as possible. This design requires long stems, so I cut them as long as I could.

Pro Tip: Warm water helps the lilies open faster. Simply follow the steps above but place the stems in warm water.

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.

Supplies for this Design:

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

The cotton lace ribbon holding the stems of the lilies.

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:

  1. Setting up the Floral Foam: 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. Since this bowl does not hold water on its own, I placed a glass pyrex dish that fits right in the center of the wired bowl to create a water reservoir. Next, I soaked a block of floral foam in water and cut it to fit snugly inside the pyrex dish within the vintage bowl.
  2. Cover Foam Base with Moss: I then covered the glass dish and foam completely with moss so that no glass or foam was visible. I left the center portion of foam uncovered for now while arranging in the lilies. Next, I took 2 long sticks and taped them together into a bundle, which will help support the lilies. I pushed this stick bundle into the center of the foam, straight up like a mast.
  3. Add and Arrange Lily Stems: Then, one lily stem at a time, I gave each a fresh cut and placed the stems around the stick bundle, pushing them into the foam. I arranged 4 lily stems evenly spaced in a circle surrounding the sticks, keeping the blooms high since the lilies are the focal point. Lily stems can seem floppy when the blooms are open, but not to worry! Next I tied the stems right under the blooms to the support sticks with a ribbon, finishing with a bow.
  4. Hide Visible Foam with Moss: Lastly, I filled in any visible foam with additional moss.

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

Covering the floral foam with moss.

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.

Beautiful bright pink rubrum lilies done in the same dish the same design.

Frequently Asked Questions About Designing With Lilies:

What do lilies symbolize?

Lilies symbolize purity, fertility, rebirth, and new beginnings. The white lily is connected with chastity and virtue, the yellow lily means gratitude and desire for enjoyment, and the orange lily represents passion.

How do I care for this lily arrangement?

To care for lilies in an arrangement, check the water level in the container daily and refill it regularly. Flowers will last longer in water enriched with floral food solutions. Every 2-3 days, gently plunge the arrangement up and down in a sink of lukewarm water to dislodge any trapped air bubbles. Then place it back in its spot, draining off excess water.

How long will this lily arrangement last?

When cared for properly, this lily arrangement can last up to 2 weeks or sometimes longer. Lilies bloom sequentially from the bottom up, so you may lose some blooms halfway through while top buds are still opening. Simply clip off the lowest dying blooms to maintain the display. Other factors affecting longevity are lily variety, freshness when purchased, proper care, and removal of anthers daily to prevent staining.

Do lilies have fragrances?

Yes, many lily varieties are quite fragrant. Some may have light sweet scents while others have stronger, more heady aromas. The fragrance often intensifies as the blooms begin dying off. Certain types like stargazer lilies have an especially powerful perfume that some find overbearing in enclosed indoor spaces.

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. To learn more about bow making visit my, How to Make an Over-the-Top DIY Layered Ribbon Wreath Bow post. 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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