Interior Design

​Full Bloom​ judge Simon Lycett reveals 3 common flower arranging rules we’re breaking – and what to do instead

The royal florist’s tips will improve our bouquets – and leave blooms looking fresher for longer

Simon Lycett flower arrangement with roses on a breakfast table
(Image credit: Photo by Євгенія Височина on Unsplash)

As we all indulge in the season of lush green plants and beautiful blooms, we could do far worse than follow the advice of royal florist Simon Lycett. The floral master has curated majestic displays for the most regent of clients and has secured his place at the top of the industry as a judge on HBO Max’s Full Bloom

See: Floral trends – chic new ways to bring the outside into your home

As the series begins its second season, H&G caught up with Simon, who shared the most common flower arranging mistake – and what we should be doing instead. We’re taking notes on everything this celebrated floral expert says. 

What are the basic rules of flower arrangement?

The main rules of flower arrangements to aim for are: balance, proportion and scale, unity, harmony, rhythm and balance, and finally emphasis.

Which common flower arranging rules are we breaking? 

Florist Simon Lycett who is a judge on ​Full Bloom

(Image credit: Alamy)

Using floral foam

According to Simon, one of the most common mistakes occur even before we bring flowers into the equation.

‘When people are arranging flowers, they often reach for a block of green floral foam, but it’s actually much easier to arrange flowers in a vase of water,’ he warns.

‘They will last much longer in a vase of water than they do in floral foam, and it’s a much more sustainable way to arrange flowers. They will last longer, and it’s better for the environment. I would avoid the use of flower foam where possible,’ Simon adds. 

Simon Lycett flower arrangement bouquet in hallway

(Image credit: Future)

Not buying seasonally

However, even if you avoid floral foam, Simon warns of a further ‘rudimentary mistake’ to avoid that will improve the lifespan of your blooms. 

‘People need to think about what they want to create. Do they want to create a big tall vase that’s going to be long-lasting? In which case, use beautiful branches of White Leaf and Sorbus, perhaps with a few tall stems of British Alstroemeria threaded amongst,’ he explains.

Simon Lycett flower arrangement, roses on a table

(Image credit: Photo by Євгенія Височина on Unsplash)

Plus, his advice will benefit not only the health of your flowers but also the aesthetic – and elevate our dinner parties in the process. ‘If you want something that is going to look and smell gorgeous on a dining table for a couple of dinner parties over a weekend, then things like sweet peas, garden roses, and Cow Parsley would work,’ Simon shares. 

See: Dining table styling tricks to steal from top stylists – to make yours dinner party-ready

Despite the mistakes, Simon urges all budding-florists to ‘buy seasonally’ and simply allow the flowers to ‘arrange themselves beautifully.’ 

‘They don’t always last as long as things like lilies or orchids, but they are seasonal and scented. If you want something that’s easy and quick, then buy yourself something that appeals to your eyes as you walk past.’

Not refreshing vase water

The last flower arranging mistake Simon is keen to point out? Not freshening vase water. He says: ‘Chop the stems off, plant them in a vase of fresh water, change the water daily, and you will get such enjoyment from them.’ 

See: The top house plants – that all interior design lovers should know about

Alongside his role on Full Bloom, Simon Lycett is working in association with British Flowers Week to promote flowers grown across the UK. He requests we share our blooms, however small and simple, with him by tagging #BritishFlowersWeek.  

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.