How to make a perfect low centerpiece


Low floral centerpieces are the perfect tabletop decoration for a dinner party or luncheon. Your guests will enjoy their beauty without having to crane their necks to see their companions across the table. Floral designer Rebecca Cole uses floral foam to make a perfect low centerpiece.

How to make a perfect low centerpiece
  • A good trick is to use the floral foam, also called oasis. It holds the flowers in place and holds in a lot of water. There are two kinds of floral foam, or oasis, one for dried flowers and one for cut flowers.
  • The oasis foam is easy to cut while it's still dry. It doesn’t have to fit exactly.
  • When it’s cut to size, drop it into a container of clean water, it will soak up the water immediately.
  • If you don’t want the foam to show, natural real moss from a craft store or garden store is a nice cover. The moss will need to be moistened with water, so pour some water on it, and then squeeze out the excess before placing the moss on the foam.
  • Roses are perfect in these centerpieces because they have a nice, stiff stem that goes easily into the oasis.
  • If the blooms aren’t all the way open, you can use your fingers to gently pry open the petals to create a full, open rose.
  • Rebecca uses green ladies’ mantle with her roses.

Hello, I'm Rebecca Cole from, and I'm going to teach you how to make a floral arrangement by using floral foam, or often what is referred to as Oasis.

Oasis is a traditional way of making a flower arrangement. A lot of florists use it. The reason they like it is because it holds a flower arrangement in place in a really good way, but it also holds a lot of water in so that you don't have to keep adding water.
So the first thing we want to do is get the floral foam. Now there are two types of floral foam in the world: one is for dry flowers; that's going to be very stiff and hard. The other is what we call floral foam and it is for cut flowers, and you can see I can even stick my finger in it and it’s going to be smushy right away.

There are two schools of thought: You can either get the water in it first and then cut it into place. I think it's a little easier to cut the foam into the shape of the vase that I really like. I'm going to use this nice low bowl here. Just take a bread knife, it couldn't be easier to cut, and I need to take off about one inch and slice it off. It perfectly fits in there. And this looks like it's going to need an inch, and it will fit perfectly. You don't have to be exact, because we are going to hide it.

Now, we need to get water into the foam. Just place it into a nice big clean bucket of water. You'll see right away that the water is going down because the foam is just drinking it in. It just takes a few see how much water has already gone into the foam? You see when you pull it out, it barely even drips because it's holding all that water which means it’s going to give a lot of water to your arrangement.
I'm not a big fan of floral foam as a decorative object, so I actually want to hide it. One of the best ways to hide it is to use moss. Now if you buy natural, real moss in the craft store or the market, it's going to come a little bit dried out, so I’d first add a little bit of water to it, and then you can just squeeze out some of that water like you would a sponge.

And then take the moss, and really gently pull it apart, hiding the foam. And as you kind of pull it apart, it stretches and becomes a just little bit thinner, so it's going to be really easy to stick some flowers and leaves in between. So now I have it pretty much hidden, and you can always add a little bit more at the end to touch it up. But you see, I have a nice attractive low bowl, ready to arrange.

I'm going to use a couple of different flowers. One will be a rose...that's a really spectacular flower for Oasis because it has a nice hard stem, which will really go in nicely into the foam. I've already conditioned these flowers, so they are ready to arrange. So I'm cutting it down, and here's another little crazy trick I'm going to tell you. Let's say the party was tonight, so you want these to be really open, you can actually just take your hand, stick your fingers in here. Remember, flowers live outdoors, so we think they're gentle, but they're really not. We can't live outdoors.

And stick it right there.

I'd like a little bit of green now. This is lady's mantle, and I'm going to cut off little low pieces, take off the don’t want the leaves to be stuck to the Oasis, you just want a nice, clean stem. So adjust a dozen roses, a little lady's mantle, Oasis to keep the water intact, and we have an arrangement that is going to last a good 10 days, and won’t need to be watered!

meet theexpert
  • Rebecca Cole

    Rebecca Cole Floral and Interior Designer Rebecca Cole is now one of the most in-demand interior and landscape designers in the country and has been declared a 'stylish, urban horticulturist' by New York Magazine and a 'garden guru' by the New York Post. more about this expert »

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