How to Decorate with Flowering Branches

Southern Living magazine

Growing up Mother loved to garden.  I have vivid memories of Spirea (in the south also called “Bridal wreath”) blooming in our backyard.  Mother would clip some branches and let me play wedding — hence began my career as a party planner.

While branches are a cinch to source year round, looking out your window will confirm that spring is the season for flowering branches, when trees from coast to coast are aflutter with dreamy, delicate blossoms. Take advantage of nature’s offering and bring them inside to enjoy!

pc: Alice’s Table

With their height and presence, flowering branches are statement-makers—a little bit modern and a little bit girly. Plus they’re long-lasting and require zero floral skills: Get a bundle, stick it in a vase, add water you’re all set. Insta-arrangements.

The cheap and easy play is simply to target trees in your yard. Just approach the task as if you were pruning, going after the straggler branches that you’d eventually chop anyway, and cut right at the joint. Before you start working, it’s best to have a specific vase in mind (more on vases later) so you know about how long branches need to be. And powerful shears are a must—trust us, you don’t want to struggle using kitchen scissors as that might yield a visit to the ER and we don’t want that!

If there are no friendly neighborhood trees in need of a little trim, pop buy your local florist or flower market to check out the goods. Or, take your chances with a grocery-store run; sometimes even big-box brands can surprise you with a decent branch selection.

Photo: Johanna Eklöf

Prep 101

Split thin branch ends lengthwise, or smash thick branch ends with a hammer (yep, you read that right). This primes them for maximum water consumption. Then place them a vase filled with water so they’re submerged at least three inches. Change the water regularly and mist every few days so the petals have another source for hydration.

All About That Vase

You need a sturdy vase so that the heft and height of the branches doesn’t send it tumbling—so opt for something heavy or with a wide base (think pear-shape). And branches are besties with glass vases which show off their clean lines in a way that looks so sleek and architectural you almost feel guilty that “arranging” them took like no time at all.

How to Decorate With Them

Tall, upright branches like dogwood, quince, and curly willow look stunning on the credenza in your entryway, in the middle of your dining table, and even directly on the floor—in that lonely spot in the corner you’ve been wondering what to do with. While branches like silver dollar eucalyptus and wisteria, which lean to the romantic swoon, are ideal for your mantle, bedside table, and coffee table.

The Lane

“The Earth laughs in flowers.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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