Lilac season is upon us once again here on the Alberta prairies — and I absolutely adore these magical, fleeting few weeks! So, I thought it was the perfect time to revitalize this ancient post in my FLOWER ARRANGING series about How to Create a Lilac Bouquet (originally published 5 years ago!) with some fresh images and content. Over the past 5 years I’ve learned a lot about flowers, urban foraging and how to work with lilacs — and I’m thrilled to share my updated knowledge, along with step-by-step instructions on exactly how I created this ultra dreamy, oversized lilac arrangement for our coffee table! We’re fortunate to have 2 abundant lilac trees on the vacant lot behind our apartment — and each year, I look forward to early June when I pop over with my tote bag and clippers in tow to forage some fresh lilac branches (with permission, of course!) for various projects and recipes!
No matter the weather, I’m always looking for creative ways to bring the outside in — and lilac season is the perfect opportunity to preserve late spring’s beauty while adding a splash of colour and intoxicating scent to your space. Not only are these lavender hued blossoms absolutely gorgeous, they’re also free — making it simple and accessible to create a no cost arrangement for your home to welcome summer’s arrival. Whether you’d like to learn more about lilacs, brush up on urban foraging, or stopped by for tips on how to arrange lilac branches to create a beautiful bouquet and that lasts as long as possible, you’ve come to the right place — pour yourself a glass of crisp rosé and take a seat in my Living Room as I share some serious lilac knowledge!
HOW TO CREATE A LILAC BOUQUET
For me, the scent of blooming lilacs has always signified summer’s arrival. I’ve adored lilacs since my childhood, so it’s no surprise I’ve featured them here at JustineCelina many times over the years to welcome warmer months. I wish you could smell them through the screen!
Here in inner-city Calgary, early June is when so many varieties of lilacs begin to pop out — would you believe these dreamy images were taken in the vacant lot behind our apartment?! Whether you have your own lilac tree or bush, or can forage from a friend of neighbours, these blossoming branches always make for a stunning arrangement. That said, when foraging in urban areas, be sure to abide by local laws and be mindful of private property (I always ask for permission from the land owners!).
Today, I’m thrilled to share How to Create a Lilac Bouquet absolutely free and in less than half an hour from foraging to finished arrangement! Lilac arrangements make a gorgeous, no-cost centrepiece for a summer dinner party, or a fragrant addition to your living room coffee table. I love the simplicity of this oversized arrangement and the dramatic focal point in creates in our Living Room!
If you’d like to learn exactly how I created this lovely lilac bouquet then grab your bucket, tote bag and clippers — let’s go foraging!
HOW TO CUT LILACS FROM A TREE OR BUSH
For this simple lilac bouquet, I looked for lilacs in various stages of bloom from the same tree to create a monochromatic effect. Of course, you can always combine lilacs from different trees in different shades of purple, lilac and white to create a beautiful, ombre effect!
Follow my lilac foraging tips to ensure healthy, blossoming branches:
1. The best time to forage lilacs is the early morning, when the flowers are fully hydrated.
2. Look for lilac branches with boughs in stages of 75-100% bloom (as long as they’re more than 50%, you’re in the clear!). Lilacs will continue to open after you trim them, so some unopened buds are ideal for maximum longevity.
3. Use a sharp, clean knife or clippers to trim the branches a few inches longer than the final length you would like. Always cut just above a leaf, bud or branch junction.
4. Immediately place the cut end of the branches in a bucket or other container filled with warm water. You can either bring this with you and add the lilac branches to your bucket as you forage (something I’d recommend if they’ll have a long journey home), or if they don’t have far to travel, simply pop them in a tote bag like I did, transferring them to a bucket as soon as you get home.
HOW TO CREATE A LILAC FLOWER ARRANGEMENT
1. Once you get the lilacs home, fill a clean vase with warm water and a floral preservative, preparing the mixture according to instructions on the floral preservative label. Or, you can make your own at home with our Homemade Flower Food Recipe! Flower food will help keep a vase clean and bacteria-free — prolonging the life of your flowers and helping buds and flowers open.
2. While the branches are still submerged in the bucket of water, cut any leaves or small stems off the portion off of the lilac branch that will be below the waterline in your arrangement. This will ensure the cut surface is not exposed to air and extend the life of the blossoms.
3. Use a diagonal cut to remove at least 1/2″ of each branch before arranging them.
4. Transfer the lilacs quickly into a large, water and preservative filled vase and begin arranging. I like to start with my largest branches first, using their natural forms to create structure, before filling any gaps with smaller boughs and greenery. This method creates a large, organically shaped arrangement.
HOW TO CARE FOR A LILAC ARRANGEMENT
1. Replace the preservative-and-water solution every 1 – 2 days, or whenever the water in the vase appears cloudy, which indicates bacterial activity. I like to do this everyday to maximize the vase life of my lilacs — and I find they require quite a bit of water to keep fully hydrated!
2. Each time you replace the water, trim at least 1/2″ from the bottom of each flower stem at a 45 degree angle to prolong the life of your lilacs. This enlarges the stem surface area and enables them to take more water up.
3. Place the arrangement in your home away from any drafts or direct sunlight to maximize lilac vase life, allow new buds to open and prevent wilting.
MORE INSPIRED LILAC IDEAS
Spring Vegetable Stirfry with Coconut Ginger Tofu (with lilac garnish!)
I hope you enjoyed this refreshed post and are inspired to create your own lilac bouquet this summer! Have you ever foraged flowering branches for an arrangement? I hope this post helped to break down the intimidation factor if it’s your first time! I love to add foliage and branches of any kind to vases in our home year round and it’s something that’s accessible to everyone — no matter the season.
If you’re looking for even more flower arranging inspiration, check out my FLOWER ARRANGING series and be sure to follow along with my Flower Board over on Pinterest. Wishing you all a beautiful lilac season — let me know what you create with a comment, email, DM or tag on social media!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, and contains my genuine thoughts, ideas and recommendations. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for supporting the brands and businesses that support JustineCelina.com!