Is there anything better than lilac season? The scent is absolutely heavenly and the tiny blooms on each stem are just too darling. When Joanna asked me to create a lilac bouquet, I immediately knew the perfect companion flower: popcorn viburnum. Popcorn viburnum is a spring-blooming bush with strongly-veined green leaves and clusters of non-fragrant snowball-like white flowers. I usually strip the leaves from lilac in order to force all hydration into the flowers, so the viburnum brings a lovely source of green into a lilac arrangement. The texture of the leaves is so lovely, as well. The pops of white through the viburnum flowers provide the perfect contrast to the purple lilac and I appreciate that they don’t bring any additional fragrance in allowing the sweet scent of lilac to shine!
A Simple, Statement-Making Lilac Bouquet
- Lilac, 1 or 2 varieties
- Popcorn Viburnum
- Tall Pitcher or Vase (see some pretty options below)
- Quick Dip
- Flower Food
- Floral Pruner
Quick Dip is a product that maximizes the hydration of flowers and greens. You dip the end of a stem in it quickly (literally just 1 second) and then place it in water. It really helps force the water through the tip of the stem, meaning that your bouquet will last longer. It’s especially helpful with blooms like lilac that really struggle to hydrate well.
Prep the branches – Remove all foliage from the lilac stems and remove any foliage from the section of all stems that will be inside the vase. Cut 2-3 inch slits in each stem to maximize the surface area that can absorb water. Woody branches, especially with flowers, often have fairly short vase-lives because they are the worst at cycling water through to the flowers. The goal when working with them is to do everything you can to help keep those flowers hydrated!
Prep the water – In order to extend the life of the lilac they need all the help they can get. I put flower food into cool water according to the instructions on the bottle.
Make the arrangement – Find the perfect branch of viburnum to create a nice shape and base for the arrangement. The one I used had three main segments. Then begin filling in with lilac, making sure to mix the two varieties throughout the arrangement. Intersperse stems of viburnum throughout as accents and use smaller pieces around the rim of the pitcher to create a nice base, but allow the lilac to remain the star of the show.
Treat Stems – Before placing each stem in the arrangement, dip it in Quick Dip to help promote hydration.
Hydration – Keep fresh water in the vase and, whatever you do, don’t let it run out! Viburnum can turn water green, which isn’t a big deal, but if you are able to drain it and refill with fresh water every day, that’s helpful to any arrangement.
Lilac season is about 4-6 weeks long, depending on where you live, and different varieties bloom at different points throughout the season. If you are lucky enough to have a tree to harvest from yourself, you can help the extend the vase life by cutting them at the coolest parts of the day and putting them in a bucket of cool water for several hours to hydrate them really well before arranging.
Stylistically, we thought a luster glass pitcher would work really beautifully with the lilacs and viburnum. There’s something so classic and lovely about arranging a bouquet in a pitcher, especially one that is super-tall or make of pretty, tinted glass. Here are a few options that would be gorgeous once filled with flowers:
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