Choosing the right vase for exotic flowers

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Consider color, proportion, balance and size when selecting a vase for exotic flowers.
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Unusual, exotic flower arrangements make creative and dramatic bouquets

A fresh bouquet of beautiful flowers is a token of appreciation and admiration, as well as an ideal way to celebrate any special occasion or decorate a home. Breathtaking varieties of exotic flowers such as orchids, calla lilies, birds of paradise, anthuriums, ginger flowers, heliconias and Ecuadorian roses, once so rare have become a part of so many home flower arrangements and centerpieces. And more people are selecting “exotics” for flower gifts in place of old standbys like carnations and daisies.

And it’s no wonder. Exquisite, vibrant, and fragrant arrangements of exotic flowers can bring a dramatic splash of color and an atmosphere of joy to any home, particularly during the cold gray winter season.

There is only one challenge. The plain-Jane vases and bowls so suited to garden flowers often fail to work with the brighter colors, longer stems and larger foliage of exotics. Selecting the container now requires more thought.

Some say that exotic flowers are best displayed in more understated vases. After all, the viewer’s primary focus should be the floral arrangement, not the vase. But others prefer to pair the drama of the flowers with equally unique vessels.

Remember design basics

When it comes to choosing the right vase for exotic flowers, it is critical to observe key design principles such as proportion, balance, pairing, repetition and subtlety. And while all of those elements are critical, sometimes it’s the simplest issues that need to be emphasized.

Pay attention to whether a vase is too tall, too short, or two wide in proportion to the flowers. Make sure the stems have enough support and that leaves are not crushed against the sides. Check to see if water levels can reach all stems, without covering over other elements like buds or leaves. Check the stability, especially if dealing with tall flowers – the weight can sometimes tip the arrangement over (usually on something decidedly not waterproof like a phone or tablet!)

Types of vases

The most common varieties of vases include the bud vase, trumpet vase, cylinder vase, tank vase, bottle vase, and the sphere or fishbowl vase.

Vase materials range from the most elegant lead crystal etched floral vases to rustic, natural vases made of pottery, ceramic, metal or wood. Asian style bamboo vases have seen recent popularity, as have Indian and southwestern traditional, crackle-finish, and modern styles of pottery.

Thinking beyond the vase

Formal vases and bowls are only one option for displaying your flowers. Household containers such as glass wine, beer or mineral water bottles (ideally with the label removed), even antique soda bottles can add a retro flair to exotic blooms.

Vintage tins such as tea or coffee tins, or recycled containers such as mason jars, jam jars, French yogurt pots, jugs, aluminum buckets even old teapots and everyday tableware can be given new life and transformed into striking flower vase designs.

You may wish to insert a piece of florist’s oasis foam in the base of vintage tins or recycled containers, in order to keep the blooms positioned and upright.

Sending exotic flowers

Carnations and mums are great flowers. But as a gift, they can be, well, a bit dull. But exotics? Never dull. But getting back to the vase question…do you send them loose or arranged?

My thought? While many flowers are best delivered in a simple box to allow the recipient to arrange them, exotics may be more challenging. Consider ordering your flowers with an appropriate vase so the recipient need only enjoy them. You can’t go wrong selecting breathtaking, fragrant exotic flowers professionally arranged in a vase that complements colors, shape and proportions. 

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