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  • Clear Glass Containers
    By Rich Salvaggio, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, Teleflora Vice President of Floral Publications

    Flowers and Profits®

    Working with glass poses particular challenges for designers. The popularity of flowers arranged in clear glass vases has designers searching for the right grid method to stabilize stems in see-through containers.

    Cylindrical, rectangular and round vases with various size mouths require a bag of tricks from designers. When these vases are of clear glass, the design challenges increase.

    To achieve success, it's important to choose flowers and greenery that will complement the shape and style of the clear glass. Round bubble bowls, for example, tend to look more opulent with rounded flowers. You can also use mounded flowers as a base and then insert other shaped flowers for texture and variety.

    Greenery such as salal, galax, and seeded eucalyptus can drape the edges of round vessels and form collars to enhance the flowers.

    Tall, cylindrical and square vases create a more dramatic look. Upscale flowers, such as lilies, stems of orchids, monkshood and hybrid delphinium are prime flowers for creating interest and increasing perceived value. Curly willow, forsythia, fruit branches, tall myrtle and equisetum are good as accents for vertical structure in designs.

    The addition of unusual foliage, such as monstera leaves, anthurium foliage or other plant foliage added at the rim on the vase provides visual weight and impact to tall, linear flowers in a design. Experiment with different looks and materials as you become more dexterous with mechanics and placement.

    Mechanical Tips

    A simple and easy tip to enhance these designs, as well as provide stability for the flowers, is to fill the lower third of a vase with river rock, sandstone, marbles, pebbles or seashells. This will weight the design and aid in stabilizing the flowers.

    An inexpensive and attractive alternative for clear marbles and river rock is broken windshield safety glass, which can be obtained from an auto repair shop. All materials should be rinsed and cleaned before using them as anchors in the vase.

    Grid Work

    Another method of securing flowers in clear glass vase designs is by creating a grid work over the opening of the vase.

    Using clear cellophane tape or green anchor tape, crisscross the opening with strips of the tape and slightly overlap the rim. Run a band of tape around the rim for better stability. Be sure the glass is clean, oil free and dry prior to taping.

    Other options are plastic grids and perforated polymer sheeting, available through most floral wholesalers.

    Materials can be used to create grid works inside the vase itself. Swirling, tender branches of curly willow inside a clear glass vase give the appearance of vines or roots.

    For an interesting industrial look, tuck chicken wire or similar screening inside a clear vase. Bend bands of equisetum into an accordion fold for triangular dimensions inside a vase and to anchor floral materials. Wire mesh, birch branches and river cane can be bound over the opening of a clear glass vase with raffia or copper, aluminum or gold wire.

    The Lotus Position

    Lotus pods are great grid material on smaller vases. Simply remove the hard stem at the base of the pod by slicing across it with a knife. Remove the seeds by easing them out with a knife tip. Rinse the pod to remove loose debris. Place it over the mouth of the vase as a natural grid system and insert flowers through the holes. Lotus pods work well to create unique designs in bud or other slender vases by using just a few stems of flowers.

    Lacing Grids

    A more common way to create a grid is to lace greenery or filler flowers in the vase. Crisscross and interlock stems of greenery or filler flower for an open weave, then insert the flowers within the weave.

    Hands On

    Don't forget the art of hand-tying a floral bouquet to secure flowers. Gather the floral materials for the design and clean the portion of all stems below the water level. Form an opening in your hand and arrange the floral material by holding it as you would in the opening of the vase.

    Once the arrangement is completed, secure and tie the stems tightly in position with waxed floral string or raffia. Make a fresh, straight cut at the base of the stems and insert into water in the vase. Always use a floral preservative and water clarifying solution to keep the flowers fresh.

    Mastering the Challenge

    Meet the challenge and create these popular clear glass vase designs to increase your profitability. Once you attempt some of these tips and tricks, you will find that your increased dexterity in manipulating floral product and creating mechanical devices will improve your other flower arrangements.


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