The Four F’s

The Four Fabulous Flower Forms

What has form got to do with flowers?

There are many styles of floral designs, historical, traditional and contemporary styles, and a vast selection of flowers, foliages and techiques used to get the look; this is where the challenges begin. Most designers and artists have to face these challenges, how to convey a message, provoke a feeling. Figuring out how to use colours, forms, shapes, and texture, is how we begin.

This unique message will vary depending on the combination of colours and forms, the careful choice of materials, and how they are placed within the design to achieve the desired look.

A floral design needs to have a range of different forms that work together to compliment each other. The concept of harmony helps to create a pleasing finished design.

Each flower has a distinctive 3-dimensional form (shape). It is usually either a point, spherical, line, or transitional form. Flower forms all have a width, height and depth. Leaves howeverare classed as 2-dimensional.

Let’s have a look at the Forms -

Points or round forms are bold and have high impact; they are dominant, often placed to create the focal area (where all the materials appear to grow from) of a design. This form can be positioned to add directional movement too; that grabs your attention and guides your gaze (Rhythm).

Paeonia ‘Flame’, Amaranthus, Oxypetalum coeruleum, Campanula glomerata, Mentha ‘Tigra’ an Rosa ‘Aqua’

Paeonia ‘Flame’, Amaranthus, Oxypetalum coeruleum, Campanula glomerata, Mentha ‘Tigra’ an Rosa ‘Aqua’

Spherical forms have greater visual weight and grab more attention. Generally, these forms are placed to create dominant focal areas otherwise known as dominance points. Often space is needed around the form to show off its beauty  e.g. Gerbera, Roses, Alliums, Helianthus or Peonies..

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bela' , Allium ‘Gladiator’, Alchemical mollis ‘Robustica’, Scabiosa ‘caucasica, Fatsia japonica, Acanthus mollis pods and Asparagus meyers.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bela' , Allium ‘Gladiator’, Alchemical mollis ‘Robustica’, Scabiosa ‘caucasica, Fatsia japonica, Acanthus mollis pods and Asparagus meyers.

Line forms, have lots of flower florets that open up the stem to the tip, often called a spike flower. It has directional pull and movement (Rhythm). As a result, they need space, and the stem length adds dominance. The aim is too add height to a design e.g. Liatris, Delphinium, and Gladiolus.

Hydrangea macrophylla, Dianthus ‘Sel green’, Rosa ‘Bubblegum’, Delphium ‘fountains lavender’,  Gladiolus ‘Priscilla’ and Thiaspi ‘Green bell’.

Hydrangea macrophylla, Dianthus ‘Sel green’, Rosa ‘Bubblegum’, Delphium ‘fountains lavender’,

Gladiolus ‘Priscilla’ and Thiaspi ‘Green bell’.

Transitional forms are called ‘Filler flowers’ small branching stems or sprays of smaller flowers, which have less impact. They act as stepping stones and fill in between the Line and the Round materials e.g. Spray Dianthus, Freesia, Limonium, Muscari, spray Chrysanthemum.  

Lillian ‘La prosecco’. Tulips ‘Parrot prince’, Muscari armeniacum, Matthiola figaro ‘Lavendel’,and Rosmarinus.

Lillian ‘La prosecco’. Tulips ‘Parrot prince’, Muscari armeniacum, Matthiola figaro ‘Lavendel’,and Rosmarinus.

To fully understand how to best use Forms and to put the knowledge into practice, have a look at the other Elements post. 

Once you have understood these Elements and how they interact with one another, the next step is to learn -

The Principles of Design - Balance, Contrast, Dominance, Harmony, Scale, Rhythm, Proportion.

The Principles are the guidelines, achieved by using the Elements of design. Combine these two, will result in a successful pleasing floral design.


(Learning about the Principles of Design in my next blog post)