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How to Choose the Right Containers for Flower Arrangements


Containers are very important to the look of a flower arrangement.  It’s also important to choose containers that work with your decorating style.  I am very fond of urn shapes or pot shapes and baskets.  My decorating style is a blend of rustic and traditional elements.

I enjoy blue and white Delft ceramics and salt-glazed pots.  Yellow has been a part of my décor for a long time, started by a French style yellow secretary desk.  Subtle shades of green can be found throughout my home.  As a florist, I have come to consider certain shades of green as neutral, since most flowers have green stems and leaves.  My container collection has evolved around yellows, greens, and neutrals, sprinkled with some blue.

I love all of my containers.  I consider each one worthy of its right to remain empty.  I have chosen each one over the years on its own merits—because of its color or pattern or proportions.  While they do hold flowers or plants from time to time, I realize that most of the time each piece sits empty, usually grouped with other decorative items.  So…the ability of each container to draw attention as a “stand alone” is very important when deciding on a new container.  They all do double duty at times.


If you have a container that you love, but it doesn’t hold water (baskets and some  unglazed or porous ceramics), you will need to find a plastic or glass container that will fit inside.  Start saving glass jars or plastic deli containers, etc. that will fit inside your “non-water-holding” favorites.

If you would like to develop a container collection, start by understanding your style and tastes and think about whether or not you will use your containers as day to day decorating items.  There are several factors to consider.  If you have a very active household, perhaps with young children, it may not be practical to use some containers in high traffic areas.  Budget may also be a consideration when making container choices.  Basically, choose what you love and what fits your budget.

Don’t be in a rush.  I have acquired my container collection over many years. Yard sales and “antique” stores can be good sources.  As you build your container collection, consider a variety of sizes, made of various materials—clear glass, colored glass, pottery, ceramic, metal, wicker.  I even have one container that is wicker with a metal base!  Think of ways to make containers useful in addition to being decorative elements.

In my kitchen, I have a green conical ceramic container that holds stainless cooking utensils…and a terra cotta pitcher with a glazed interior holding wooden utensils.  A long rectangular basket holds a loaf of bread.  In my bathroom, a green blown glass vase holds makeup brushes.  And…a yellow wooden trug holds…yes, a smaller oval vase filled with tissue, a tiny pair of Wellington boots made of soap, and an antique trowel!


All of the containers shown in the photos are from my own collection.  I took them out of their usual settings for a “group shot”.  I hate to play favorites, but if I had to keep just one, it would be the long gray metal container in the “blue photo”.  I hope 2016 brings you a happy and successful new year…and a favorite container!

Posted By: Evelyn Kinville, Behnke’s Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I like that you point out that each container needs to work with your decorating style. Before buying one, I would determine what style you are wanting to have. Perhaps you can think about the event and what style would best compliment the event. Then, once you have that determined, you can buy things that would be appropriate.

  2. I appreciate this information about how to choose the right containers for flower arrangements. It is good to remember that if you have young children, it may not be practical to use some containers in high traffic areas. It would also be a great idea to invest in containers that compliment all kinds of different flowers to get your money’s worth out of them.

  3. I really liked it when you suggested putting a jar inside the basket that I like if I want to use it to store the water arrangement but it does not hold water. I will keep this in mind since I am intending to get a flower arrangement for my sister in the house, but the container she loves is an old, ceramic container that has holes in it. Thanks. The flower arrangement will probably as soon as I order it, so I will prepare myself.

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