Kristen Caissie’s Potted Centerpiece

In an excerpt from her book GATHERING: SETTING THE NATURAL TABLE, California floral designer Kristen Caissie shows us how to create a lasting centerpiece using potted plants

A centerpiece of potted plants on an alfresco table, nestled among rosemary in a California garden, beside a quaint white potting shed.

A lot of the work we do is with cut flowers, but for this setting I wanted to work with materials that last. Potted plants are a very easy way to decorate a tablescape, and afterward you can take the plants with you or give them as hostess gifts—they have the benefit of staying power and add a beautiful decorative touch to any table.

If you bring them home, simply put them on your patio table, where they will live permanently as decorative pieces and provide longer-lasting enjoyment than cut flower arrangements. You can also add these potted accents to table settings, adding other floral details that complement the potted arrangements.

Kristen Caissie stands in a white, light filled potting shed, holding an arrangement of potted plants
Caissie puts the finishing touches on her whimsical centerpiece.
rustic blue-and-white place setting
The arrangement complements the ceramics by Michelle Blade, whose artwork often features elements of nature.
“You can evoke the garden in many ways, by moving your table outdoors, or bringing the garden to the table with the creation of potted arrangements.” — Kristen Caissie

Kristen’s Tips for a Potted Plant Centerpiece

  • I’m a big fan of texture and of the variety that’s found in meadow grasses and wild florals. For this arrangement, we incorporated grasses like lamb’s ear, Santa Barbara daisy, and yarrow. I love how they each play a part, adding sculptural shape and geometry to a landscape. I wanted to play with that idea using potted accents planted with delicate grasses and petite florals.
Lamb’s ear, Santa Barbara daisy, yarrow, and grasses sit on a rustic wood table. Their original pots have been removed exposing their soil and roots, in preparation for re-potting the plants as a centerpiece.
  • Wildflowers tend to be fragile and seasonal, but when I can, I love to integrate them into tablescapes.
  • I wanted the pots for this table to be modern and clean. You can always replant the florals in different types of containers, depending on your personal taste.
stacks of rustic clay pots
  • There’s no focal flower in this tablescape, just the planters, which are decorative and spare.
the finished potted plant centerpiece, ready to add to a table scape

By Kristen Caissie of Moon Canyon, | Photography by Gemma and Andrew Ingalls | Location: Bodega Los Alamos,

Excerpt from Gathering: Setting the Natural Table by Kristen Caissie and Jessica Hundley (Rizzoli New York, 2020)

book cover

More on Kristen Caissie

The Los Angeles designer tells us about her inspiration, tastes, and how music and poetry play into her dreamy style. Read Flower‘s Q&A.

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