Stylists love to use tall vases for big, impactful displays, but what flowers go best in them? Top florists explain

From single branches to towering bouquets, expert florists reveal the statuesque stems that look best in tall vases, creating impactful flower displays

still life flowers in a tall vase
(Image credit: Future)

If you're stumped choosing which flowers are best for a tall vase, see what floral designers suggest. It may seem that many of flowers you see at a florist suit medium-sized or smaller vases. However, there is a huge variety of blooms that suit taller vessels. 

'I'm a big fan of height and dimension; floral design is artistry,' says Jazmina Roa, founder and lead designer at Delilah's Flower Truck in L.A. 'Long stemmed flowers lend themselves to so much from a creative perspective. They create visual interest and can change the dimension of the space they are housed in.'

The best flowers for a tall vase

From sprays of single species to bouquets and billowing branches, these towering florals can create simple or statement displays, depending on your preference. So If your tall vases are gathering dust, discover how florists and stylists fill theirs.  

1. Flowering branches

cherry blossom in a tall blue vase

(Image credit: Future / Photography: Micheal Sinclair)

'Flowering quince or cherry branches are great in early spring,' says Andrea Halliday, florist at Boston's Table & Tulip. 'White cherry especially is one of our favorites. 

'A large mass of a single variety branch is an impactful and cost-effective way to add height to any space or show off an especially gorgeous vessel. Flowering branches have a beautiful, organic silhouette and are a touch of spring after a dark winter. They are long-lasting as well.'

'I love flowering branches for tall vases,' says Emily Mathison, creative director at McQueens Flowers in New York. 'Especially stems of cherry blossom, magnolia, or philadelphus, which can be bought from your florist or foraged from your garden.'

'We love quince, magnolia, walking stick, forsythia and soon, cherry blossom,' says Suzanna Cameron, founder of Stems Brooklyn. 'Branches should be at least twice the height of the vase, so imagine if you stacked the vase on itself the flowers would be that tall. For spring branches, we recommend cutting the stems base up the end so more water can enter the stem.'

Later in the year, when it's warmer, look to wisteria. Livingetc stylist Marianne Cotterill, contrasts branches of the palest pink wisteria against a turquoise Grecian style urn for an effortlessly elegant summer floral display.

2. Delphiniums

a tall vase of lilac Delphiniums

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

The simplicity of a 5-6 stem spray can look spectacular in a tall vase - with a certain type of flower. Loved for their rich colors and commanding presence, Delphiniums are that flower. Their long flower spikes are packed with single and double buds, giving plenty of floral bang for your buck.

'I love delphiniums in a tall statement vase,' says Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, founder of Flowerbx. 'They manage to be both bold and extremely delicate simultaneously.'

'They are so dramatic, yet so easy to style in a tall vase. Just remove all of the lower leaves below the water line, as they  take some of the nutrients from the flower (and make the vase look messy).  

'Then remove any withering buds throughout the week to keep your delphinium arrangement looking its best.'

'In the summer months we love delphinium,' says Gary Wallis, co-founder of British and New York based florist, Jane Packer. 'They have a garden-like appearance with multiple, dainty flowers covering the length of the top half of the stem.

'Depending on how we would be using the display, we might mix the lovely variety of colours that are available - pink, white and pale blue to reflect a dreamy country garden.'

3. Gladioli

pink gladioli in a glass vase

(Image credit: Alamy)

This formerly unfashionable flower is back in favor amongst gardeners and growers, which means there are many more varieties and colors available for florists and floral designers to get creative with. 

'Another of our favourite flowers for tall vases are gladioli,' says Gary Wallis at Jane Packer. 'Gladioli are strong stemmed, long-lasting and quite 'structural' in form with bold trumpet shaped blooms.

'As a rule of thumb, for gladioli (and delphiniums), we would suggest that the vase should be approximately one third of the length of the stems. Depending on where the vase was sited, we would use just one colour of gladioli in a simple straight sided vase to emphasise their strong, clean lines.'

4. Hanging Amaranthus

If you're looking for petals with presence consider hanging amaranthus. Originally cultivated for grains and greens, these plants form a long stem with spectacular cascading plumes. Mostly available in deep burgundy, rich pink, rust or pale green, this floral makes a beautiful filler with other flowers or as a singular group of stems.

'I would recommend the hanging amaranthus for a tall vase,' says Jazmin Roa at Delilah's Flower Truck. 'Hanging amaranthus has a naturally beautiful and textural cascading effect. Styling Amaranthus in a tall vase creates organic visual interest with minimal effort.'

5. Lilies

lilies in a green glass vase

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

'I also love lilies for tall vases,' adds Whitney at Flowerbx. 'They are impactful, fragrant, long-lasting and extremely beautiful. What’s not to love?'

As well as being long stemmed, there's a huge variety of lilies available too. From the Calla lily (although not technically a lily) to Stargazer, Tiger and Easter lilies, these flowers offer dramatic displays. Colors span delicate whites and pastels through to deep, rich tones of pink, orange and red. 

Just a couple of stems can look spectacular and knowing how to care for lilies is easy too. With a few simple steps, you can make your blooms flourish for longer.

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.