How Many Flower Do I Need?
How many flowers will I need is the most common question our 48LongStems in-house florists get daily. Obviously, there is no one answer to this question. Many factors go into our flower calculations. How big of a bouquet, a centerpiece, reception space, ceremony arch, etc. are you looking to cover. How thick do you want your coverage to be? More greenery, or more flowers? How big are your vases? What number of flowers and greenery will be sufficient to fit into your overall budget? All these factors are taken into consideration when our team of florists are working with clients. As a routine part of our service, 48LongStems florists do the math for you in order to create our custom flower and greens boxes to ensure that all of your unique needs are met (floral and budgetary).
Because individual bouquets, centerpieces, ceremony and reception calculations are specific to every bride or event, we recommend that you contact one of our florists directly at (207) 618-7618 and we will do the math for you. But, for a more generalized idea of how many flowers it might take to create that perfect Pinterest trending piece, following is the floral math that makes the magic. You will need two things: the approximate size of your floral bloom and the area of the surface you want covered. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be a math wizard to do this, but it may remind you of those long-forgotten days in geometry class when you asked yourself when would you ever use any of this in real life.
Flower Balls (Spheres in Math Lingo)
Flower balls have been around for decades, and are still popular in a variety of event designs. First, to get a good idea of the number of flowers any size ball will need, you will need to determine the size (diameter – not length) of your average flower bloom. At 48LongStems, we disclose the average bloom size for each type of flower under the flower care description tab of each flower.
While no 2 flowers are exactly the same size (they are a product of nature, after all), we’ll use a standard rose or carnation bloom for an example. When fully open, a standard rose or carnation is about 2 inches in diameter.
Next, we’ll take you back to high school geometry class. This may sound scary at first, or bring up some unpleasant memories, but stay with us – we’ll make this easy, promise. You need to determine the surface area for your ball. For you math geniuses out there, you might remember the old formula:
Area of a sphere: 4 x Pi x r2 (that’s 4 times Pi (3.14159, not the food) times the radius of the sphere squared, or 4 times Pi times the radius times the radius). Remember, radius is just half the diameter of your ball. A 4 inch diameter ball has a radius (r) of 2.
Don’t panic – we got you. Before your eyes roll to the back of your head – here’s the most popular examples:
4-Inch Ball – 4 x 3.14159 x 22 = 4 x 3.14159 x 4 = 50. 27. A 4 inch ball has an area of 50.27 inches
8-Inch Ball – 4 x 3.14159 x 42 = 4 x 3.14159 x 16 = 201.06. A 8 inch ball has an area of 201.06 inches
12-Inch Ball – 4 x 3.14159 x 62 = 4 x 3.14159 x 36 = 452.39 inches.
See – not so scary, huh.
Now, take the area you just calculated, and divide it by the bloom size (in our rose or carnation example, 2) to determine the number of flowers you will need to cover the size ball you are working with. So, to complete our math examples:
4-Inch Ball: 50.27/2 = 25.14 You will need 25 – 26 standard roses or carnations to cover a 4-inch ball.
8-Inch Ball: 201.06/2 = 100.53 You will need 101 -102 standard roses or carnations to cover an 8-inch ball.
12-Inch Ball: 452.39/2 = 226.20 You will need 226 – 227 standard roses or carnations to cover a 12-inch ball.
Note: We always recommend rounding up at bit on the number of blooms to ensure you have enough flowers to cover your flower balls. Not all flowers are the exact same size, and there can be some breakage in shipping. Better safe than sorry.
Round Columns (or in math lingo – Cylinder Columns – don’t you feel all geniusy now)
If you wish to cover the outside of a round column (cylinder) for ceremony pieces or other large event pillars, you will have to determine if you only wish to cover the outside area of the column (the lateral side, for you up and coming math wizards) or if you wish to cover both the outside area of the column and the top. We will start with only determining the lateral area (covering the outside of a column). We will use the same rose/carnation bloom size of 2 in this example as well.
Now for the nerdy part – the formula for the lateral surface area of a cylinder: AL = 2 x Pi x r x h
Easy peasy – right? Hah! Let’s walk through an example. Say you want to cover the outside of ceremony/chuppah column. We’ll assume the height of the column is 8 feet, or 96 inches. We’ll also assume that the diameter of the column is 6 inches, which makes the radius (r), 3 inches. Still with me?
So, to determine the Surface Area to be covered you have the following equation:
AL = 2 x 3.14159 x 3 x 96 = 1,812.04
Assuming we are using round flowers, we now have to find the surface area our flowers will cover. Using our 2-inch diameter rose/carnation example – the radius would be half, or 1. So we apply the same Surface Area of Circle equation as follows:
The Surface area of our flowers is = 3.14159 x 1 x 1 = 3.1416
Divide the Surface Area of the column by the Surface Area of the flowers: 1,812.04/3.1416 = 577.43 roses/carnations.
You will need about 580 roses or carnations to cover 1 column. If you are doing 2 or 4 columns, you will need to multiply that number by the number of columns you will be covering. Obviously, that’s a ton of flowers, and outside most bridal or event budgets. Hence, the popularity of using sprays of flowers and a lot of greenery on ceremony pieces.
Again: We always recommend rounding up at bit on the number of blooms to ensure you have enough flowers to cover your Columns. In this example – we’d recommend 600 standard roses or carnations.
If you wish to cover the top of your column, you will need to calculate the surface area of a Circle, which we explain next.
Round Table Tops (ie. Flat Circular Surface)
Now that you’ve finally conquered you fear of math – here’s your equation: A = Pi x r2 (that’s Pi x radius squared, or Pi x radius x radius, if you’re still struggling)
Assume you want to cover a 60 inch round table with flowers. Again, we’ll use our standard rose/carnation bloom size of 2 inches for this math – and the equation looks like this:
The Area of the table is = 3.14159 x 30 x 30 = 2,827.43 square inches.
Since our flowers are round, we now have to find the surface area our flowers will cover. Using our 2-inch diameter rose/carnation example – the radius would be half, or 1. So we apply the same Surface Area of Circle equation as follows:
The Surface area of our flowers is = 3.14159 x 1 x 1 = 3.1416
Divide the Surface Area of the table by the Surface Area of the flowers: 2,827.43/3.1416 = 890 roses/carnations.
As you can see, when covering large surfaces, the diameter of the flower makes a huge difference in the number of flowers you will need to purchase. If you are looking to cover large areas, it is much easier on the budget to go with larger, more inexpensively priced blooms, such as large mums. To see how simply changing the type of flower in your design can significantly decrease your flower costs, we’ll do the math for you.
Using a larger flower, say a larger mum which has an average diameter of 3.5 inches (or a radius of 1.75 inches) you come up with the following number:
The surface area of the mums: 3.14159 x 1.75 x 1.75 = 9.6211.
Using our same 60-inch round table you get: 2,827.43/9.6211 = 293.88
You would only need about 294 large mums to cover the same area. That’s a huge price difference for the same effect.
And Again: We always recommend rounding up at bit on the number of blooms to ensure you have enough flowers to cover your table. In this example – we’d recommend 300 large mums.
Before all this math scares you, relax. We have done most of the calculations for you. Furthermore, these examples assume you are planning on only using flowers for ceremony arches. As most Pinterest and Instagram pictures show, ceremony flowers are often used with greens. The floral professionals at 48LongStems work with all of our brides to determine the most inexpensive way of using flowers AND greens to achieve the look they want AND stay in their budget. We also teach them all how to create those beautiful arrangements. Give us a call at (207) 618-7618 and let us help you create the wedding of your dreams!