The best floral arrangements have much to do with using the right vase: different flowers lend themselves to particular shaped vases (for instance, tall or floppy stems work best with long, tall vases; flowers which can be cut short and bunched tightly together look perfect in a bud vase).

Here’s our guide to the key shapes (whether you buy them in glass, ceramic, resin or metal):

The Trumpet or Bouquet Vase: flared at the top with either a straight base or one that’s slightly bulbous (like an urn). Perfect for a mass of blooms, like anemones, tulips, roses or daffodils, but be aware that it requires a lot of flowers to fill it as stems fall to line the wide rim. Start by placing blooms around the edge first, then fill out the centre with a mix of more blooms and foliage like eucalyptus or magnolia leaves.

The Cylinder Vase: this straight-sided shape is perfect for enclosing flowers or graphic leaves within, or for dramatic displays of long stems like pussy willow, cherry blossom or exotic flowers like birds of paradise and ginger lilies that can gently tilt to one side.

The Sphere or Fishbowl Vase: This shape, with a medium-sized opening and large interior, is ideal for hand-tied bouquets (allowing stems to spread out whilst preventing the flowers from losing the arranged shape). In clear glass, these are also ideal for floating big, open flower heads (try peonies, hydrangeas, dahlias or gerbras) in a small amount of water in the bottom, or for snaking flexible floral stems (like calla and gloriosa lilies and grasses) around the inside of the bowl.

The Bud Vase: these can be straight sided, flute-lipped, or tumbler-sized, but all are ideal for displaying a single stem, working well grouped in numbers (either all together, in different shapes and sizes, with blooms at different heights, or all uniform in size and shape, lined up in a row, down a dinner table or along a mantel or window ledge).

The Tank Vase: this classic cube shape excels when blooms (like roses, ranunculas, tulips, gerbras) are cut low and massed together with stems straight and flower heads lining the rim; plant hyacinth or narcissi (with roots showing for added interest, or line with a big leaf – like an anthurium, calathea, cordyline or Swiss cheese plant leaf – to hide the roots); or fill the bottom with pebbles to support a very stiff raffia or wire-tied bunch of blooms like paper whites.

The Bottle Vase: tall and elegant, with a narrow top, it is ideal for single stem displays, especially for flowers or leaves that are also tall and elegant by nature (like an iris or stem of snapdragon). As a rule, the narrower and taller the vase, the fewer flowers you need.

Any basic household container can be used as a vase. Try the following ideas:

  • wine, beer or mineral water bottles (with labels removed)
  • vintage tins once used for daily essentials like coffee, tea or biscuits
  • everyday tableware like jugs, teapots, old teacups and water tumblers (you might want to use a bit of floristry oasis foam in the bottom to keep blooms upright)
  • recycled containers like glass jam jars and French yoghurt pots, and ribbed aluminium cans (labels removed)
  • shot glasses, icecream sundae glasses, Granny’s cut crystal wine glasses, patterned or brightly-coloured plastic picnic cups
  • enamel or plastic buckets, aluminium pails, wooden crates (lined with plastic or insert with buckets or plastic tubs)

There is a large range of vases on you are sure to find what you are looking for!

April 25th, 2009

Posted In: Top Tips

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