Picking the wrong vase is a sure way to wither a fresh flower arrangement. Here are some expert tips for pairing the right vessel with the right bouquet:
Shallow, bowl-shaped containers are a good choice for tables where you want to see over the arrangement. Many types of vessels can work, from soup bowls to sherbet glasses and coffee cups. Short-stemmed blossoms, such as violets, impatiens, and begonias, are best suited for these containers. To create a rounded arrangement, cut floral foam so that it fits inside the container and rises an inch or so above the top. Crisscross floral tape to hold the foam in place. Insert some flowers at an angle pointing down so that they overlap the edge.
There's a good reason why an urnlike shape is the most popular for vases: It makes the most sense for flower arranging. The narrow neck holds the flowers in place while the wider bottom and slightly flared top allow the stems and blooms to spread out. Virtually any kind of flower works well in this type of vase, but it is particularly well-suited to lilies, spider mums, and other flowers with large, showy heads. When assembling a single-flower arrangement, let taller stems with tighter blossoms or buds define the upper and outer edges of the design. Place larger, showier heads near the bottom for balance.
Bud vases come in a range of sizes and shapes. The one trait they share is a narrow neck. Flowers with distinctively shaped heads on graceful stems, such as tulips and roses, are a good choice because they look good alone and echo the graceful lines of the base. For a pleasing balance, the tallest element should be two-thirds higher than the vase.
You're likely to find these sturdy vessels being used in other ways around the house -- as buckets, water pitchers, mugs, and crocks. Often as wide as they are tall, these containers make excellent flower vases since they can accommodate all kinds of stems. Strong-stemmed clustered flowers such as daisies and yarrow work especially well. For floppier flowers, you may need a device to hold the stems in place, such as floral foam, a needlepoint holder (called a frog), crushed chicken wire, or a lattice of floral tape.