Hanging flower decor – how to use hanging flowers for a pretty display

Create your own hanging flower decor with dahlias and honeysuckle – from floral designer Brigitte Girling

Hanging flower decor
(Image credit: Brigitte Girling/Moss & Stone)

Hanging flowers are having something of a moment. Perfect for special celebrations, such as wedding parties, hanging floral decor can be used all year round to create pretty seasonal centerpieces over tables, consoles and even fireplaces. Think: wreaths but more modern, and more laid back.

You can use your own flower bed ideas to source the blooms for the display, but you can of course resort to the florist if there's a particular flower you want to feature. Here, we are using flowers available at the height of summer: dahlias and honeysuckle berries, taken from the garden of floral designer Brigitte Girling of Moss & Stone.

'The starting point for this arrangement was the dahlias towering in my garden,' Girling says. 'These bright and bold blooms fell out of favor for a while but they are very much on trend now – and deservedly so.'

Hanging flower decor – step by step

This statement piece is ideal for a special occasion, either hanging from a branch outside, from a patio pergola, or suspended from a ceiling indoors.

You will need:

  • Chicken wire.
  • Strong fishing wire or cord.
  • A hook or fixing to hang the display from.
  • Dahlias.
  • Honeysuckle with berries.
  • Moss.

Dahlias: You'll need around 50 stems of various sizes and colors of dahlia. Girling's favorites include Dahlia 'Perch Hill', 'Waltzing Mathilda', 'Jowey Winnie', ‘Preference’, 'Karma Choc', 'Berner Oberland', 'Labyrinth', 'Cornel Brons', 'Gypsy Night' and 'Leila Savanna Rose'.

Honeysuckle with berries: Collect 20 stems of berried honeysuckle – Girling used Lonicera periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas’

Moss: Do not gather moss from the wild. Instead, scrape a handful or two out of your lawn or alternatively buy sphagnum moss from a reputable source. You can reuse your moss many times.

Brigitte Girling grows the flowers for her displays in her own chemical-free wildlife garden

1. Create a 'mossage'

Hanging flower decor with dahlias and honeysuckle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling/Moss & Stone)

Wet the moss in water, squeeze out the excess and firm into a suitable shape. 

Wrap with a layer of chicken wire, folding the sides and ends of the chicken wire into itself to hold the shape. 

Suspend the mossage using strong fishing wire or cord. 

Cover the floor with something waterproof as your mossage may drip for a while.

2. Add the honeysuckle and dahlias

Hanging flower decor with dahlias and honeysuckle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling/Moss & Stone)

Begin to add the honeysuckle trails to create an outline shape, then add in the dahlias, ensuring the stems remain in the damp moss. 

Layer up the dahlias, using different heights and angles to create interest and to cover the mossage. 

Step back occasionally to check you are satisfied with the shape.

3. Hang up your display

Hanging flower decor with dahlias and honeysuckle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling/Moss & Stone)

Leave for an hour or so to ensure the moss stops dripping… then enjoy! 

The display will last 24 to 48 hours in a coolish room out of direct sunlight. Spritz with water occasionally to keep it fresh.

If you love dahlias, our step-by-step instructions for creating a summer flower dsiplay with dahlias and poppies will provide more inspiration.

Florist's tip: how to condition flowers for a long-lasting display

hanging floral decor

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling/Moss & Stone)

Pick your flowers early in the morning when they are most naturally hydrated. Alternatively, choose the end of the day once it is cooling down. Never pick in the hottest hours.

Take sharp snips and a bucket of cool fresh water with you. A clean bucket is essential to prevent bacteria build-up.

Choose flowers that are at various stages of opening to extend the life of your arrangement. 

Remove all the lower leaves. Cut across the stem at a 45 degree angle before placing in your bucket of water. This reduces the chance of wilting.

Leave your flowers and foliage to rest for at least three hours, preferably overnight, in a cool place, out of direct sunlight before using. 

Ensure you give each stem a fresh cut before creating your arrangement.

Andrea Childs

Andrea has been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since her first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. She went from women's magazine Options to Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for sister title homesandgardens.com.