Flower Vases: Prepping and Styling Tips

We all possess a certain level of floristry creativity. At Blume, we are 100% sure of this. So, don't worry if this is your first time arranging flowers in a vase by yourself. 

Here are some key (and fool-proof) tips to help you embark on your flower arrangement journey. 

HOW TO PREP FLOWERS FOR A VASE

The most important task before you even begin to think about styling a vase is to prep your flowers. 

Of course, if you've bought flowers from a florist, such as Blume, you can bypass this step, as we will do it for you. Although you will want to snip the bottom of each flower to refresh the stem once you've got them home. 

If you are using supermarket flowers or have picked flowers from the garden, however, you should start your prepping with the conditioning process:

  • Lay the foliage and flower stems across the table
  • Strip any leaves on the stem that would sit below the water line
  • Snip the bottom of the stem at an angle for maximum water absorption 

HOW TO CLEAN FLOWER VASES

It is crucial in your prepping stage to remember to clean your vase. Not only does it look nice to have a clean and clear vase, it also helps the flowers stay healthy for longer. 

To clean your vase spray bleach inside, take a brush, add water, then give it a good scrub and rinse well. 

Now you can add cold water, ready to take delivery of your flowers. 

HOW SHORT TO CUT FLOWERS FOR A VASE

This is a question we get asked at Blume all the time. And the simple answer is - it depends on the size of the vase. 

A low-level vase means you need to trim the stems quite a bit. Don't be scared to do this, it's important for styling that the flowers and foliage are not towering above the top of the vase. It also encourages the flowers to stay upright. 

Some woodier stems will be tougher to cut, so be careful. A set of Blume garden scissors should help you on your way. For thicker flower stems, such as a Lilac, it is best to cut at a more acute angle. This will increase the surface area for water absorption. 

Hydrangea is the best example of a flower which absorbs water through its petals. To help with water absorption for flowers like this, you can lightly spray the flower petals with a water mist. If you don't have a spray mist bottle to hand, an old cleaning product bottle can do the trick. 

HOW TO ARRANGE FLOWERS IN A VASE

      1. Consider where the flowers are going. If it's a dining room arrangement, it will need to be 360 degrees. If on a console table, it will only need to be front-facing. For a 360 degree arrangement, it helps to use a Lazy Susan to keep turning your flowers to check it looks beautiful from all angles.
      2. If you're using supermarket or un-arranged floristry flowers, unwrap the bouquet and arrange the stems into four groups: face, filler, gesture and texture, as suggested by Putnam & Putnam in their famous flower guide book. This guide was created to explain how to balance different flowers within one arrangement. It is just one of a myriad of methods for flower arranging, but one we enjoy using!
      3. So, start your arrangement with your filler flowers. These are the slightly cheaper and smaller flowers. They are useful for blending colours and creating a base. 
      4. Next, move to your texture or foliage. These add complexity and volume.
      5. After this, move onto your face flowers. These flowers are the main feature, the centre piece, the show-stopper, the ones you want to draw the eye to.
      6. The final flowers to add are the gesture. These create depth and add shape.
      7. Make sure you keep taking steps back to look at the arrangement as a whole. Does it balance colours, textures and volume? Does it sit within the vase comfortably or do some stems need further trimming? 

 

HOW TO KEEP FLOWERS UPRIGHT IN A VASE

Here, you have two options. 

Use a Kenzan or "floral frog". This is a flat, metal base with sharp pins which you lower into the bottom of your vase. It's heavy so you may need some white tack to ensure it stays in position. Insert your flower stems into the floral frog in order to keep them upright. These are great for creating Ikebana (minimalist and contemporary design) flower displays.

Use flower tape. This is basically a more water-resistant sellotape. Useful for creating a grid technique on the top of your vase, in order to give your flowers more support and to stop them flopping sideways. The more stems you put in your vase the less chance the arrangement has of moving over time. 

TIP! Tulips can become really floppy without support. So a top tip is to snip the stems then wrap the flower in a paper cone shape overnight. They will (should) be standing up once you unwrap them. 

HOW TO KEEP FLOWERS FRESH IN A VASE

  • Make sure your vase is clean and topped up with fresh water 
  • In an ideal world you'd re-trim stems and refresh the water every few days
  • If you don't have time to re-trim and refresh, simply place the vase under the tap in kitchen sink and turn the tap on. Let the water run to flush out all the old water. Then pour away any excess water. A vase is ideally filled with water half to three quarters of the way up.
  • Keep your flowers cool and not in direct sunlight. It is difficult in very warm weather, but keeping the temperature as low as possible means the flowers will last. 

GETTING STARTED...

Check out our wonderful selection of vases here to begin styling your own flower arrangement.

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