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Florist Alexander Campbell shares tips to help you level up your supermarket bouquet. We followed his advice to create this arrangement from grocery store flowers.

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR


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Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Florist Alexander Campbell shares tips to help you level up your supermarket bouquet. We followed his advice to create this arrangement from grocery store flowers.

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

If you forgot to order flowers for Mother’s Day (or any other occasion), don’t worry. There’s still time to make a professional-looking bouquet. Florist and TikTok sensation Alexander Campbell shares his tips about how to select and arrange grocery store flowers so they look like you got them from a florist.

1. Pick your palette

Left: warm colors; Middle: cool colors; Right: a single color in varying shades

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR


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Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Left: warm colors; Middle: cool colors; Right: a single color in varying shades

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Think about what colors the recipient likes. If you need help deciding on a “color story,” Campbell suggests sticking with a palette of either warm or cool colors, or various shades of the same color — like light purple to dark purple.

2. Go shopping!

At the store, look for textured greens, filler flowers, flowers with some height, "star" flowers and dainty flowers.

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

At the store, look for textured greens, filler flowers, flowers with some height, "star" flowers and dainty flowers.

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Look for one to two types of greenery with different textures and three to four types of flowers in your color palette:

  • A filler flower (we chose mums)
  • A flower with some height (here, we used a lily)
  • “Star” flowers that really grab your attention (for us, a protea)
  • A daintier or more complex flower (berries)

3. Look for healthy flowers

Shop for flowers with green stems and firm petals.

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

At the store, check the flowers to make sure that the stems are green and the petals are firm.

Pro tip: Look for a mix of buds and flowers that are already in bloom to give your bouquet a longer life.

4. Prep your plants

Two photographs side-by-side. The first showing a hand cutting the stem of a flower at a 45 degree angle with a pair of scissors. The second image shows a hand removing leaves from the stem of a flower.

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle, and remove leaves that will be below the waterline in the vase.

5. Build your bouquet

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Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Put your vase on a lazy susan so you can spin it as you work. Add each item in this order:

  1. Start with the greenery
  2. Then add your filler flowers
  3. Next, add the tall flowers to create a high point
  4. Then add the “star” flowers that really spoke to you
  5. Finish off your arrangement with the dainty flowers

6. Create layers and balance

Flower bouquet spinning on a lazy susan

Make sure your bouquet has different layers of height and that it feels full and balanced all the way around. Look at your arrangement from different perspectives and sides to see if you want to tweak anything.

7. Make someone’s day! (And make sure they care for your creation)

Give your bouquet to your loved one. It will be even more meaningful that you arranged it yourself!

Campbell suggests adding flower food to the water and changing the water every day or every other day to extend the life of the bouquet.

The podcast portion of this story was produced by Meghan Keane.

We’d love to hear from you. If you have a good life hack, leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823 or email us at LifeKit@npr.org. Your tip could appear in an upcoming episode.

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