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FLORAL DESIGNS for Christmastime

Publication Number: P3237
View as PDF: P3237.pdf
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The holiday season calls for festive decorations and provides an opportunity for floral enthusiasts to create them! This booklet offers several ideas for floral designs for you to enjoy. These ideas are meant to inspire, so feel free to add your creativity to make them your very own.

Evergreen Swags: Timeless Design


  1. A decorative valance or garland, hanging in a curve.
  2. A composition of plant materials assembled, with a flat back, to hang on a wall or door.
  3. To hang fabric or a garland in a curving manner or position.

(The AIFD Guide to Floral Design)

Ribbon adds dramatic color and flair for a reasonable cost. No need to make a bow; just create some loops and attach streamer lengths with wire or tie to greenery stems.

Pine cones create a natural focal point. If you would like to try this design, see MSU Extension Publication 3247 Creating an Evergreen Swag.

Poinsettias were introduced into the United States by Joel Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico, in the 19th century. This year, consider decorating with long-lasting potted plants, such as a ‘Christmas Rose’ poinsettia plant in a basket, adorned with a market bunch of mixed evergreens and tapestry bow. For ideas on seasonal plants, see MSU Extension Publications 2573 Selecting and Maintaining Poinsettias and 2309 Holiday Houseplants.

Nothing says welcome like a Mississippi magnolia wreath. The glossy tops of the leaves contrast beautifully with the tawny, suede-like undersides. When designing with magnolia, use some leaves upside-down to show off their rustic beauty.

It is simple to achieve graceful results using permanent (artificial) botanical greenery, berries, and ribbon when decorating a staircase. Attach a prelit evergreen garland to your banister with non-marring cable ties. Form sprays of berries and holly foliage into simple bouquets, wire them to the garland, and then form them to follow the garland’s lines. Shape loops and waves of wire-edged ribbon for the final touch.

Fresh fruit provides natural beauty in holiday decorations. To attach fresh apples to a wreath, insert an 18-gauge (or similar) wire through the apple’s blossom end, then draw it through the stem end. Bend the wire ends into arms that can reach around the base of a commercially prepared wreath. Attach firmly.

Floral designs can feature different techniques for stem placement. One of the techniques is known as zoning. Instead of evenly distributing flowers throughout a design, keep them in clusters to maximize visual impact. Maroon ‘Safari Sunset’ leucadendron, red roses, and white stock make an attractive table arrangement.

Mixed southern greenery (pine, holly magnolia, thuja, and holly fern) can be combined with a few sprigs of dried line material (pussy willow) for a design suited to a fireplace hearth or side table. If kept watered, the design will last for 3 to 4 weeks. Arrange your design in fresh floral foam within a plastic liner, then tuck it inside a container.

Looking for a long-lasting holiday arrangement but want to use fresh flowers? Try using some fresh materials and some artificial. Place permanent botanical greenery and berry stems high in the back and lower toward the front. Place a small vase in the front corner to hold live flowers, which you can periodically refresh by adding a market bunch of seasonal blooms.

Miniature Christmas trees using boxwood cuttings arranged in floral foam make charming gifts. If watered regularly, these designs will last several weeks. For instructions on how to make this arrangement, see MSU Extension Publication 3047 Boxwood Topiary Design.

Master Floral DesignerTM

The Master Floral Designer program offers 42 hours of studio training in floral design. Our sessions include lively lectures on design principles, elements, and techniques, followed by demonstrations and hands-on creation of floral designs. Participants learn how to make a bow, corsage, and matching boutonnière; a European hand-tied bouquet; mass, line-mass, and line arrangements; and more. The studio segment culminates in the creation of an original floral design.

Participants who decide to pursue the full certificate and Master Floral Designer pin commit to 40 hours of volunteer service. Nonprofit promotion of floral design, such as creating church arrangements or fundraiser décor, teaching others about floral design, or helping with Extension floral programs, count toward this goal.

To learn more, visit


Publication 3237 (100-07-19)

By James M. DelPrince, PhD, AIFD, PFCI, Assistant Extension Professor, Coastal Mississippi Research and Extension Center.

Copyright 2019 by Mississippi State University. All rights reserved. This publication may be copied and distributed without alteration for nonprofit educational purposes provided that credit is given to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Produced by Agricultural Communications.

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Extension Service of Mississippi State University, cooperating with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress, May 8 and June 30, 1914. GARY B. JACKSON, Director

Department: Coastal Research & Extension Center

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Portrait of Dr. James M. DelPrince
Associate Extension Professor