It can be hard to pinpoint when something isn’t quite right with a floral arrangement. You know something is missing, but when you look at the delicate balance of form and color, you just can’t work out what it is.
Line flowers can be an underappreciated part of an arrangement, but they’re essential for creating the final impression. Line flowers are tall flowers that give an arrangement height, helping build a shape and provide layers of interest.
Ready to learn more about line flowers? In this guide, we’ll explore some types of line flowers you might not have seen before. These flowers direct the eye as you look at a bouquet, but they aren’t the stand-out feature.
Still, you’d definitely notice if they weren’t there!
1. Gladiolus (Gladiolus)
Growing strong and showy, gladiolus is a typical example of a line flower. Unlike some other types of line flowers, gladiolus won’t fade into the background behind the focal flower.
Instead, use gladiolus when you want your arrangement to spark from top to bottom.
Gladiolus is sometimes known as the sword lily, thanks to its height and dramatically shaped flowers. The flowers of the gladiolus gather at the top of a strong stem and they can be a number of both bright and subtle colorings.
2. Bells Of Ireland (Moluccella Laevis)
The distinctive bells of the Bells of Ireland aren’t actually the flowers of this plant. Instead, the flowers are tucked within the green cup-shaped leaves. Often associated with luck, Bells of Ireland has a fresh green coloring and a bushy height.
Bells of Ireland is a particularly popular choice for St. Patrick’s day arrangements. The numerous curving green cups give it a full look, so it can give height and width to an arrangement. Perfect for a spring bouquet with strong shapes.
3. Stock (Matthiola Incana)
Stock is among the most popular line flowers, and for several good reasons. First, it can grow very tall, giving a floral arrangement a lot of height. Second, the flowers are attractive without being distracting, allowing the focal blooms to shine.
And third, stock comes in so many colors that you can almost always find an example to work with your color scheme!
Stock is also a fragrant flower. The gentle aroma can add a delightful touch to the arrangement, although be careful when pairing it with other perfumed flowers!
4. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum)
Snapdragon takes its name from its resemblance to a dragon — although, you might have to get hands-on to see the similarities! Squeeze the flower of the snapdragon and you’ll notice that it almost opens and closes its mouth.
Snapdragon is relatively easy to grow, and it can grow to various heights. The tall stems can be densely covered in flowers, but others are more sparse.
This is great for building an arrangement, as you can choose a style that works for your design. Yellow, pink, and purple snapdragons are all popular.
5. Tuberose (Polianthes Tuberosa)
There’s a certain delicacy to the tuberose that makes it an unusual addition as a line flower. It does have the height to draw the eye, but it isn’t the showiest of blooms.
Instead, tuberose has a delicate touch and a quiet elegance. It’s ideal for smaller arrangements with quieter focal flowers.
Tuberose has a tubular flower that bursts into flaring sepals at the end. It has quite a strong fragrance, commonly used in perfume.
Tuberose is grown in several colors, including pinks and purples, but its most popular form is white. “The Pearl” is a well-known cultivar of tuberose.
6. Amaranthus (Amaranthus)
In the wild, amaranthus often grows to be a dramatic and drooping plant. Coated in tiny flowers with luscious colors, from a distance, amaranth can resemble curtains made of velvet.
Ornamental cultivars of amaranthus tend to grow upright, without the nodding effect of garden varieties. These are better for arrangements, as they give the height you’d expect from a line flower.
The rich colors of amaranthus can make a dramatic backdrop for a special bouquet. Those small flowers also give a textural look to amaranthus.
7. Delphinium (Delphinium)
Sometimes known as larkspur, delphinium is a line flower that often grows in unusual blue and purple shades. The pastel purple shades create a quieter background for your arrangement, but you can choose a darker blue if you want to make a statement.
Delphinium is an excellent flower for moving the eye along the height of the arrangement. It starts with plenty of open blooms at the base, before easing off as the flowers move toward the tip.
8. Veronica (Veronica)
Veronica delivers a big heaping of color to a line plant, with a good height and a decent width. It tapers gradually towards the top, with the showiest flowers clustering at the base.
By the time your eye reaches the tip of the veronica, the flowers have lost form, and you might even see a hint of green.
Typically available in pink and purple, spikes of veronica are excellent for spring and summer arrangements. They can grow to be quite large, with some measuring more than 24 inches.
9. Celosia (Celosia Plumosa)
There are two distinct types of celosia. Celosia cristata, which is known for the compressed blooms that grow in unusual shapes, and Celosia plumosa. While Celosia cristata tends to grow wide and short, Celosia plumosa grows into feathery plumes.
Although both types of celosia can be a beautiful addition to a bouquet, Celosia plumosa is best if you want to add height. These flowers also add texture, thanks to the feathered look of the blooms.
With bright colors and a wide taper, Celosia plumosa is excellent if you want to bring visual excitement.
10. Blazing Star (Liatris)
While many line flowers tend to have more flowers at the base and fewer towards the top, Blazing Star does it the other way around. The bottom of the inflorescence tends to be quiet, with most of the flowers clustering at the top of the plant.
The flower head of the Blazing Star consists of multiple tiny flower heads. It has an almost fuzzy appearance, bringing a textural look to the plant.
Typically purple-pink, Blazing Star enjoys hot conditions and plenty of sunshine, so it’s ideal for a summer arrangement.
11. Blue Thistle (Echinops Bannaticus)
Blue thistles can be quite unusual among line flowers. It has the height you’d expect, but the single blue flowerhead means it lacks the curving taper shape of other line flowers.
However, these delightful blue blooms are an excellent choice if you want to create an arrangement with some whimsy. The fun shape and color naturally draw the eye upward, encouraging you to take in the entire shape of the bouquet.
12. Iris (Iris)
Iris sits somewhere between line flower, focal flower, and filler flower. The exotic and unusual shape can be a standout among subtle arrangements, but it can get lost among the bigger focal flowers.
But with plenty of height, the iris can make a fresh choice of line flower!
Iris flowers are typically single blooms on strong stems with long, upright leaves. The open face and various color patterns of the iris give it a welcoming appeal. Waving petals help add height to the iris, making it a strong background for a bouquet.
13. Foxtail Lily (Eremurus)
Foxtail lilies take their name from the flower spikes that start to bloom in June or July. Hundreds of tiny star-shaped flowers cling to the spikes of the Foxtail lily, giving it that bright and bushy appearance — similar to a fox’s tail!
Typically yellow or orange, the coloring of the Foxtail lily can be unusual for a line flower. The natural curve adds body and height to an arrangement, particularly if you want to create a showstopper.
14. Curly Willow (Salix Matsudana)
Sometimes known as the corkscrew willow, the curly willow can be a filler flower and a line flower. If you want to use it as a line flower, you might want to pair it with some vibrant blooms, as curly willow can be a little sparse!
If you select your curly willow in early spring, it’s covered in small yellow catkins that add texture and body to the plant. The curving bark of the curly willow is delightful in a fall arrangement, while the catkins are at their best in spring!
Line flowers are the plants that give bouquets and arrangements height. They draw the eye upwards, creating a rounded design with different levels to spark visual interest. In a tall vase, some line flowers make a lovely display all by themselves!
We hope this guide has helped you discover the wonder of line flowers and their importance in arrangements!
Frequently Asked Questions
Line flowers are the flowers that add height to the arrangement. Typical line flowers have a gentle curve and shape at the bottom that gradually tapers toward the tip. This naturally draws the eye upwards.
Gladiolas, snapdragons, stock, delphinium, and veronica are typical examples of line flowers. These add extra height to any flower arrangement.
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