Sunflowers and Apples Thanksgiving Centerpiece

A centerpiece filled with sunflowers and apples combined with fall flowers and foliages is the essence of the autumn season. In this how-to video Leanne demonstrates the mechanics and techniques for securing apples in a beautiful and long lasting Thanksgiving Centerpiece. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Flower video library. I'm Leanne Kesler, Director of the Floral Design Institute, and today I want to share with you a fabulous autumn centerpiece with sunflowers, perfect for the Thanksgiving table. 

I started with the sunflowers, but then I wanted texture and autumn, the essence of the season. I added celosia, leucadendron, some Nandina leaves, and of course, chrysanthemums in the deep vibrant hues of the fall season. Then lastly, a local orchard for apples for a little bit of fun. The bounty of the harvest. 

The container, a ceramic dish laid in a saucer. Of course, it's not watertight, so I do have a liner, wet foam already soaked with flower food. To secure the apples in the foam, I start with six inch wood picks. Now they come with wires on them. Don't need those, so I just go ahead and clip those completely off. And then, two picks to an apple, because that gives you greater security. Just insert it straight into the flesh, and again, and then to make sure that as the apple dehydrates and starts to age that the sticks don't come loose, a little bit of Oasis floral adhesive, right at the point of insertion, and that will lock them in there, and they'll last just as long as the flowers. 

Once the glue is set, you can go ahead and anchor those directly into the foam. You just place in. Decide how tall you want them. If you want them to be a little bit shorter, you can always cut the wires and picks down even further. I'll be grouping a couple in the center, coming out to the side. Making sure that I come to the backside as well, because a centerpiece needs to be beautiful all the way around. That's a prettier one. Maybe I'll do a second one right here. And then the last one, do I want it here? Or do I want it here? I think I'll place it this direction to bring it out to the side. 

Now that the heavy apples are secured, everything else is just placed in a radial format, maybe starting with some of the celosia, pulling it out, cutting it down, and then letting it radiate in from the central binding point. I've got different colors, just like the seasons of Autumn, where the colors change. Light yellow and golden yellow. Some of the chrysanthemums. The spray mums are so wonderful. Look, making sure there's none that are broken. Then setting them down in. You can do whole clusters or you can come back with individual stems if you want it even a little bit fuller, so you have choices. Another one like that, there we go. Bring it around towards the front. Make sure it's in there at least two inches so it will drink well. Three more, a little bit closer down in. Using all of the buds. They're so beautiful. 

Then coming back with some of the leucadendron. Again, perfect for the Autumn season. Setting it in, and continue filling all the way around, making sure that you turn it to make sure that it's balanced and symmetrical from front to back. 

Now my favorite part, the sunflowers. Some can be tucked very low. Others a little longer. Just cutting them down, and then making sure that they're nestled in to the foam, a good two inches, because sunflowers are very, very, very thirsty, and if you don't get them in there, that two inch, they will just dehydrate. They won't hold well. Bring them around to the back. Even terrace them, doing one really low. And then one slightly higher over the top. Turning it, double checking things. You could bring them down, right to the lip of the container to make sure that you cover all your mechanics. 

You can see how quickly it brightens, and once you have your sunflowers all in, going back to a little bit of the Nandina to get those fall leaves. And you can see they're lacy and delicate over the top. 

Luxurious and full, the sunflower centerpiece is the essence of the Autumn season. 

For more creative inspiration, check out the website, Flower The website contains hundreds of floral design how-to videos, floral design classes, online floral classes and DIY Flowers. If you have questions, need materials, you can find us there at the website or pick up the telephone and give me a call at 503-223-8089. 

And of course, you can always use my personal email,, and I'd love to see what you create. Take a picture. Send it to my email. Or better yet, post it on social media, tag Floral Design Institute, and let us all see. Because now it's your turn. Have fun and do something you love.

  • Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
    Fresh Flower Food Individual Pack 10 ounce tub
  • Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
    Quick Dip Individual Pack One Pint
  • Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
    Crowning Glory Individual Pack 32 ounce spray bottle
  • Standard Floral Foam Pack of Four Bricks
    Standard Floral Foam Pack of Four Bricks
  • Waterproof Tape Single Roll 1/4 Inch Wide (Green)
    Waterproof Tape Single Roll 1/4 Inch Wide (Green)
  • Wired Wood Picks Bundle of 375 6 inch
    Wired Wood Picks Bundle of 375 6 inch
  • Oasis Floral Adhesive Individual Pack 3.9 Gram Tube
    Oasis Floral Adhesive Individual Pack 3.9 Gram Tube