The Hottest Spring Flowers, According to a Prop Stylist

published May 3, 2019
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(Photo Credit: Lacie Hansen)

Spring is in full swing. The California super bloom has exploded. The D.C. cherry blossoms are flourishing. There are flowers everywhere I turn—IRL and onscreen. Scrolling through my Instagram feed reveals beautiful pops of color: wedding flower arrangements or influencers at the Coachella Revolve pop-up. There are even flowers in my targeted ads and suggested articles.

How did those flowers end up in advertisements? A prop stylist put them there. In fact, they not only put the flowers there, but they sourced them, arranged them, cut them, cared for them, and fretted over which ones would complement—but not overtake—the featured product. They waxed them, trimmed them (yes, still talking about flowers), and placed them perfectly in frame.

The photographer takes the picture, but the prop stylist is in charge of what’s contained within the image—and this year, flowers are a hot prop. They add natural movement and that “realness” element that today’s consumers crave.

I sat down with L.A.-based prop stylist Kelly Oshiro and Birmingham-based prop stylist Kathleen Varner of Edna K Design to figure out which blooms are on their radars—and how we can make our own flower arrangements camera-ready.

(Image Credit: Josh Greutzmacher)


Lilacs are one of Varner’s favorite spring blooms for styling. “I’ve used it in bouquets and centerpieces,” she says. “It’s pretty just as a single ingredient in a simple vase in your house, too.”

Oshiro agrees. “Lilac is going off,” she says. “I picked up some purple and white lilac at the farmer’s market last week. It looks like it was dipped in watercolor.”

To get the most life out of your lilac, use a hammer to smash the bottom of the stem so it draws water easily.

Blooming branches

“I am always counting down the days until blooming branch season,” says Oshiro. “They last a long time and take up a ton of vertical space. For interior styling, that huge vertical moment can help add drama to a space.”

Varner also likes using blooming branches such as dogwood, cherry blossom, and tulip magnolia as statement pieces. “A simple tall glass vase with only blooming branches is always stunning,” she says.

In the same way you prep a lilac stem for water, you can smash the bottom of a blooming branch for easy water draw or, if you have shears, you can cut the stem vertically to help it gather water easily.

Foraged vines and greenery

(Image Credit: Jose Villa)

Stylists add authenticity by introducing foraged elements. “Using foraged greenery, even if you mix it with grocery store roses, gives an arrangement a more organic feel that doesn’t look so commercialized and store-bought,” says Varner.

Oshiro loves stocking up on jasmine vine and honeysuckle whenever she sees it in the wild. “I am the queen of foraging. If I see flowers, I will seize them,” says Oshiro.

When using vine-type flowers in your home, Oshiro suggests using single-stem floral water tubes for one end of the vine and hiding that tube behind a mirror or other item so you can drape the remaining vine across your dresser or tablescape.


“I always love using different varieties of tulips. They come in so many shapes and colors, like parrot, fringed, and french, and they have a natural movement,” says Varner.

For styling purposes, remove some of the extra leaves and wash the stems well after snipping. Oshiro adds that tulips can keep growing even after you’ve cut them—so your eyes are not deceiving you. They are growing in your vase.

Bold colors

(Photo Credit: Lacie Hansen )

Trend-wise, bold-colored flowers are taking over. You also might see similar colors or identical blooms paired in a single arrangement, and bright, sensory take-over mixes. You can’t go wrong when making a color statement this spring.

“I think brands are getting more hip to using colors because it’s more captivating.” Oshiro notes, “I’m getting more requests for color whereas before it was always ‘white roses’ or ‘orchids.'” And Varner says she’s seeing monochromatic arrangements created with minimal ingredients, and plenty of dried and bleached flowers and greenery.

When arranging your picture-perfect spring blooms, both Oshiro and Varner suggest using what’s around you.

“Spring is all about taking from nature. It’s just going off in your backyard,” says Oshiro.

Honorable mention

Other spring bloom favorites for Oshiro include coral hyacinth and purple anemones. Varner adds that she always loves using ranunculus for a pop of color and spirea to add some fullness to arrangements.

Also, keep in mind: That beautifully curated garden party on Pinterest you’re just dying to recreate but can’t get quite right? A prop stylist prepped and placed those flowers in just the right spot. Cut yourself some slack, take advantage of the flowers nature is offering you, and don’t be afraid to use a little more color this spring.