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The Six ‘Must Have’ Vases

Published: Thursday 20 February 2014

The Six ‘Must Have’ Vases

Orange ranunculas in a spherical vintage vase

So. You have received a beautiful bouquet of flowers magnificently displayed in too-gorgeous-to-unwrap paper and ribbon. But what to do with them when you get home?

In many households, a kitchen-cupboard-scuffle invariably ensues, with many slammed doors amongst many exclamations of ‘I know I have a jug or container in here that will do the trick!’

Receiving flowers is such a special treat, it is important to do them the honour of something other than a plastic measuring jug or too-small vase. But not everyone is a natural at arranging bouquets in vases that do them justice. A florist’s ability to spiral stems in such a way that a bouquet falls beautifully into a vase only goes so far – because you technically need the right vase  to achieve the ‘right look’.


You don’t have to spend a fortune on vases, but you do need a variety of sizes and shapes to have on hand when you are lucky enough to get a knock on the door by a flower courier. Read on for our top six must have vase types to best display your bouquets and posies.


A trumpet shaped vase

The trumpet vase is narrow at the base and flares out at the top, allowing stems to spread out at an angle and ‘breathe’. You do need to make sure you have enough flowers and foliage to fill the vase, or it will look a little too ‘sparse and straggly’.

Tip: Make sure to ‘snip’ the tie from around the stems so the flowers are able to fall naturally into place and show off their individual beauty.



Classic cylindrical vase of tulips        Squat cylindrical posy vase

The cylinder vase has straight sides at the top with no narrowing at the opening. It is particularly ideal for showcasing a large bouquet of blooms, or stems with unusual heads or graceful tilts, such as tulips and hyacinth.

Tall cylindrical vase arrangement

Tip: If you are on a budget, put aside your glass jam and pasta sauce jars, as they make perfect vases for smaller posies. You can do the same with the ‘bottle’ shaped vase below, saving unusually coloured or shaped glass water, soda or alcohol bottles.


The bottle vase is always narrow at the top, limiting the movement of stems and the quantity you can fit through the opening. Think spindly branches of japonica blossom, a single rose or gerbera daisy. If you receive a pretty posy consider ‘deconstructing’ it into a variety of short and tall bottles clustered around the home.

Tip: You don’t need to be an interior stylist to decorate your house with flowers. Simply removing a single lily stem from your bouquet and placing it in a bottle will help to ‘spread the love’ so to speak.


The spherical shaped vase has a large interior and a medium sized opening, enabling stems to spread out inside, yet be contained enough through the smaller entrance to create a ‘ball’ of blooms. The sphere vase looks great with a mass of the same type of flower, such as anemones or tulips, while the larger spherical base prevents the stems from flopping too far down the sides.

Tip: When choosing your vase, keep in mind its height should be around 1/3 of the total height of your flower arrangement. You may need to use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the bouquet down if you don’t have a vase tall enough – but be sure to snip gradually in case you take too much off!


Rustic pail of flowers       Country style pail of flowers

The pail spreads ever so slightly out at the top, giving flower heads a little freedom. This shape works best when packed with flowers so they fill all the space, such as a mass of garden roses with all their foliage in tact, or fluffy balls of hydrangea.

Modern silver pail shaped vase

Tip: The pail doesn’t need to be a rustic bucket. If you live in a modern apartment, look for a classic ‘pail’ shaped vase in elegant silver or ceramic white.


The low pan is essentially a vase that enables you to float flower heads, rather than be dictated by the size and angle of a stem. Not all flowers are ideal floaters – but you only need one to three blooms to make a statement. It is a fabulous way of stretching your bouquet out so you get maximum impact throughout your home. Classic floating flowers include spider chrysanthemums, gerbera daisies, most orchids and gardenias.

Floating bowl of flowers   Bowls of floating flowers

Tip: Keep an eye out in op shops and antique stores for a variety of ‘low pan’ style vases, from tiny little crystal bowls to larger ceramic pieces.

So there you have it – our six must have vases to make sure you are fully prepared next time you bring home a bunch of blooms!

Martha Stewart Flowers & Vases




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