You might be surprised to know that jasmine holds up quite well in a vase as long as you follow a few conditioning procedures. Where I live in Portugal, it continues to bloom in the depth of summer, which gave me the idea to bring a bit of fragrance and romance indoors with jasmine-only bouquets.
Read on to see how to tame curvy jasmine vines just enough for a vase.
A member of the olive family, jasmine vines bloom from spring to summer with a strong fragrance and vines that like to cling to walls and trellises. J. officinale, or common jasmine, is my personal favorite with almost-red buds that fade to pink. The vine is deciduous, but if you continue picking the flowers throughout the spring and summer, it will go on providing flowers for you.
A native of China and possibly Iran, jasmine was introduced to Europe on trading routes in the 1500s. Now you see it thriving in Mediterranean climates and locations with mild winters. It’s often grown in warm greenhouses during the cold winter months as a blooming plant for Valentine’s Day. I’ve been known to buy greenhouse-bred jasmine just to clip a vine or two for flower arrangements, as they add that sort of movement for bouquets that you only get from rambling vines like jasmine.
Clipping the vines in the early morning or into the evening when they are most hydrated will ensure strong, long-lasting stems. Capture several very long tendrils as they will offer a sense of space and movement to your arrangement. Be sure to pick some stems that have the pink buds. When you bring them home, place them immediately into a bucket of water, in a cool, dark place. Ideally, you’ll leave them overnight, but if you can’t, you may start working with them after a few hours.
At this point, the flowers will be very well hydrated. Remove the lower leaves and blossoms (save them and put them in a bud vase in your bathroom because just a few stems will scent a room). As always, cut at an angle for optimal water intake.
I chose a highly textured black vase in a cone shape to provide a contrasting color and interesting texture for the jasmine. The shape of the vase, with the narrow opening at the top, offers stem support that is essential for an effortless, instead of forced, arrangement but ensures that the stems will be held in place to drink water as necessary. The ceramic vessel from Caulino Ceramics in Lisbon offers a bit of drama and sophistication in the most understated way.
Add shorter stems in the center for structure, and combine with taller, more stiff stems (such as the cow parsley I used here) for a hint of structure without taking the focus away from the jasmine.
To keep your arrangement staying fresh for up to seven days, simply continue removing the flowers as they fade or turn brown. Replenish the water every few days as well. Use any discarded water to water your potted plants. If you are sensitive to fragrance or live in a tiny studio, you may want to stick with one stem in a bud vase, as the fragrance can become overwhelming at times. In a larger room with ventilation, it will offer a lovely hint of fragrance without becoming distracting.
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