Published on May 5, 2021

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Photography by Kate Berry

Jason Wu has a lifelong love of flowers—both the printed-on-a-dress type and the real kind you put in a vase with water. So naturally the fashion designer, whose Spring 2021 collection is enough evidence of his penchant for blooms (the ready-to-wear pieces are inspired by his home away from home, Tulum, Mexico), jumped at the chance to collaborate on a collection of bouquets for 1-800-Flowers.com, just in time for the biggest flower-giving holiday of the year: Mother’s Day. “I hope the arrangements bring a bit of escapism into the home,” says Wu. 

Picking the right bouquet for Mom can be tricky. We’ve all stood outside a bodega or in our local florist shop confused, wondering: Is she a lily person or rose lady? So we asked Wu what we should be buying for her this year. Ahead, taking his tropical and playful runway looks to the home, he shares his top tips for arrangements.

The Shopping List

Wu’s go-to varieties this year: Oriental and calla lilies, roses, and peonies in classic colors like white, yellow, and red. It even turns out he’s a fan of the unofficial Mother’s Day flower: the carnation. To give the popular grocery store pick an elevated spin, he suggests mixing in nontraditional stems like safflowers, cremones, kalanchoe, and snapdragons.

The Display Hack

When arranging flowers, Wu likes to cut his stems extra-short so everything is packed into the container tightly. He also swears by the tape-grid method, which (as its name suggests) consists of cutting strips of tape and placing them across the vase in a grid pattern. Once you start putting the flowers in, “it will help keep stems in their place,” he notes. 

As far as vessels go, the New York City–based designer loves local shop Eskander for chic ceramic options. Then once you’ve handed everything off to Mom, he suggests displaying the flowers on a dark surface (in his own home, Wu opts for his black granite dining table), that way they’ll really pop.

 The Aftermath

In addition to giving the stems a trim every few days (cutting them on an angle) to help them stay hydrated, Wu suggests replenishing the vase with moderately warm water and flower food to help them maintain vibrancy. Keeping them out of direct sunlight will help them stay cool and bacteria-free. Once they do start wilting, you can move onto the next project: drying them out so she can keep them forever. 

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