Learning The Color Basics For Florists Can Help Improve Your Flower Arrangements

Color basics for florists made easy.

No matter if you are a florist or not, the first thing you would notice in an arrangement is its COLOR.

We all agree that color plays an important part in our lives, and for a florist, it is especially important.

Colors make flower arranging fun and exciting. Colors give the arrangement personality and it expresses feelings.

There are many color theories out there, but the RYB theory (Red-Yellow-Blue), has served florists well.

So here, I will explain how florists adapt this theory into their arrangements.

The Color Wheel

Color basics for florists is actually simple to understand if you know the color wheel.

The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. But there are so many reds, yellows and blues. How do you describe what kind of blue.

We use color dimensions to describe the primary colors. Just like width, length and height of a container, for colors, it's hue, value and chroma.


A hue differentiates one primary color from the other. For example, the red from the yellow, the yellow from the blue and the red from the blue.

These are what we call primary hues. They are independent and possess no characteristics of the other colors.

Secondary hues are mixtures of two primary hues. They are orange, green and violet.

red + yellow = orange
yellow + blue = green
blue + red = violet

Tertiary hues are mixtures of a primary hue and a secondary hue. There are six altogether.

red + orange = red orange
red + violet = red violet
yellow + orange = yellow orange
yellow + green = yellow green
blue + green = blue green
blue + violet = blue violet

All these colors combined together and arranged in a circle, make up the color wheel.


Value is the measurement of lightness or darkness of a color against a scale of white to black.

Given a color or a hue, by mixing it with white, gray or black, will give a different tint, tone or shade.

Tint = hue + white
Tone = hue + gray
Shade = hue + black


Chroma is the intensity of a hue or color. Sometimes, it is also referred to as saturation of a color.

If you understand how the colors in the color wheel are defined, you'll know that mixing colors is fun.

But that is not what florists do. Florists are restricted by the colors brought by nature.

It is up to the florist's skills to identify the natural colors of flowers and that information, match the colors using the color wheel.

And don't get too stressed while doing that. Don't be frustated if the sunflower is not the exact yellow on the color wheel.

A good basic knowledge of color harmonies or color schemes, combined with a bit of natural instinct will do just fine.

Color Harmonies

Color harmonies or color schemes are how colors are used together in an arrangement. There are 5 fundamental color harmonies, namely...

  • Monochromatic
  • Analogous
  • Complementary
  • Split complementary
  • Triad

Find out more detail of each color combination and how to apply in flowers arrangements.

Learning these color basics for florists will help create attractive arrangements for friends and clients.

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