Before Tackling a Dramatic Branch Arrangement, You’ll Need the Right Vase
Just in time for Lunar New Year.
Published Jan 29, 2022 1:00 AM
As a stylist, I sometimes assume that everyone has an eclectic collection of vases lying around. Various-size vessels, from itty-bitty bud vases to statuesque urns, fill my space not because I want them, but because as a stylist I need them. Okay—maybe they’re nice to have around.
But last week, when I was gifting some extra Japanese maple branches to my next-door neighbors, only to hear they didn’t have an accommodating vessel—those thick wood stems would knock over their delicate glass vase—it felt like the right time to round up our favorite heavy-duty options, especially because of the approaching Lunar New Year, when blooming branches are meant to symbolize spring’s arrival.
Just keep in mind that your vase needs will probably be different depending on your greenery. While something with a more flexible stem, like olive branches, can be styled in a vase with a small opening, stiff stems, such as most fruit branches, will look better with a bit more room to rest diagonally. If you’re unsure of what to look for when shopping, here’s what you’ll want to know: Because we’re about to enter spring, quince blossoms are beginning to make an appearance in flower shops (forsythia and cherry are around the corner), and just like any blossoms, the more tight buds on the stem, the longer the branches will last. No worries if you don’t live near a good outlet—shopping can also mean heading into your yard with shears and foraging.
Most branches will last at least a week, but I once bought rhododendron branches that lived for two months. The best way to extend their life span is by cutting into the stems diagonally to allow the most direct path for the water to hydrate, and give them a fresh trim and water refill every few days.
And finally, here are my favorite vases in which to display them, including the handled bubble-glass number I swear by, a ribbed terracotta container in an out-of-the-ordinary shape, and more. The one thing they all have in common? They’re at least 15 inches tall—the height needed to keep most branch arrangements from toppling over.
Warning: Once you’re used to branches on your kitchen table, you may not be able to live without them. Or maybe that’s just me.