Fresh Botanical Wreath-Making Guide

botanical wreath guide

Working with fresh botanicals is such a rewarding experience. Even if you are unable to attend one of my workshops, the guidance in this journal article will give you a great jumping off point for creating your own fresh botanical wreath, while enjoying many health-giving benefits along the way. Working with fresh foliage has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and even help you sleep more soundly. So let's jump in!

A Note About Botanicals

Whenever possible, I encourage you to source botanicals that are locally and sustainably grown, or to forage botanicals from your own property. 

A Wreath with Meaning

Consider using botanicals that can be appreciated now only for their natural beauty and aromatherapy benefits, but also for their symbolism. Here are some meaningful botanicals to consider using and their symbolism:

air plant -- freedom, creativity
baby's breath -- love everlasting
canary grass -- perseverance
cedar --  strength, endurance, eternal life
fern (maidenhair) -- secrecy
fir (Fraser, Douglas, balsam) -- determination, honesty, endurance
eucalyptus -- protection 
grapvine -- abundance
holly -- happiness, peace, good fortune
ivy -- fidelity, friendship, wedded love
juniper -- affection, desire, love me
laurel -- success, glory, prosperity
magnolia -- dignity
mint -- virtue
pine -- endurance, hope in adversity, farewell
rosemary -- remembrance
sage -- virtue
salal -- zest for love, loved life
salix (discolor or matsudana) -- bravery
succulent -- strength, selflessness

Gathering Supplies

  • wreath base or pliable twigs (soak twigs overnight in water if possible) formed into a circle and tied together
  • fresh botanicals
  • pair of snips (I recommend THESE)
  • paddle of florist wire or twine
  • ribbon (optional)

Visit my Floral Arranging page on Amazon for all my favorite floral tools and supplies.

grapevine wreath

supplies and materials for wreath making

To Create

  1. Attach the end of florist wire to the base with a simple knot. Do not cut it. Leave it connected to the paddle and unroll as you add botanicals.

  2. Create a bundle of botanicals. Holding the stems together, stack them on top of each other, fanning them slightly. 

  3. Place the bundle on the base so that the botanical tips are pointed clockwise, and the stems are near the floral wire. Tightly wind the wire around the foliage ends and base in a spiral motion 3-4 times to secure it. Do not cut the wire.

  4. Create another bundle and add it just behind the first one, layering the botanicals so that the second bundle covers the wire and stems of the first. Continue unwinding the wire while wrapping and securing the bundles to the base. It is important to wind the wire very tightly, as fresh botanicals shrink slightly as they dry.

  5. When you are about to attach the final bundle to complete the wreath circle, tuck the base of this last bundle underneath the fan of the very first bundle you attached and secure with wire. Unwind a bit more of the wire to give it a 6” tail and cut it. Tie the end of the tail to the base to create a loop for hanging.

  6. Tie the ribbon around a substantial piece of foliage or tie the ribbon into a simple bow and weave a 12” piece of wire through the back of the knot, using the wire to attach the bow to the wreath.

Caring For Your Fresh Botanical Wreath

Wreathes made using this technique are durable and long-lasting. They can withstand the elements if hung outdoors or dry beautifully if adorning an inside mantle or wall. If it will not be exposed to rain and snow, mist it once a day with cool water to keep it hydrated. Your wreath will naturally last longer if it is hung outdoors and in shade where the temperatures are cooler. If you choose an indoor space, avoid hanging it near a heat source (candles, oven, fireplace, furnace vent), or choose botanicals like cedar and eucalyptus to create with that are just as breautiful dried as fresh.

In the new year, your wreath can be disassembled, botanicals composted, and the grapevine base, wire, and ribbon reused to create a spring-themed wreath. 

Incorporating Conifers

When foraging for conifers, look for branches that are firm and full of green foliage. Avoid branches that have signs of pests or disease, or with discolored foliage. While cedar is an excellent base foliage for a winter wreath, other conifer alternatives are cypress, juniper, pine, and spruce.

Incorporating Evergreens

Below is a list of alternative evergreens that you may be able to forage on your property and make excellent fresh wreath ingredients:

  • Bay
  • Camellia
  • Ceanothus (California lilac)
  • Euonymus (spindle tree)
  • Holly
  • Laurel
  • Ligustrum (privet)
  • Magnolia
  • Olive
  • Pittosporum (cheesewood)

My book, The Love Language of Flowersincludes floriography, botanical glossaries, step-by-step tutorials, a toolbox section filled with floral concepts (like the one in this article), and over 30 botanical designs infused with meaning that honor the seasonal rhythms of nature, build confidence, and provide flexibility to let your own creative voice develop.  It is truly an excellent resource for those seeking to grow their botanical creativity in a meaningful way.

Incorporating Herbs

Herbs make gorgeous, fragrant, and useful filler in fresh botanical wreathes. For winter wreathes, in addition to eucalyptus, I recommend incorporating rosemary, sage, and/or thyme. 

CLICK HERE to visit my Herbal Wreath Tutorial.

Branching Out

The following branches can add texture, color, and visual interest to fresh wreathes:

  • Birch
  • Dogwood (red osier)
  • Salix discolor (pussy willow)
  • Salix matsudana (curly willow)
  • Tallow snowberry

Botanicals to Avoid

I recommend avoiding boxwood as a botanical for crafting. While it is long-lasting and has beautiful waxy leaves, it smells terrible. I also recommend avoiding hemlock, yew, and Norway spruce foliage, as their leaves shed quickly and leave a big mess.

wreath making tips

cedar eucalyptus winter swag 

cedar eucalyptus wreath with velvet ribbon

winter swag with striped bow

cedar eucalyptus wreaths cedar house living

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. Cedar House Living LLC receives a small commission for sales generated through these links at no additional cost to you. I use the commissions to further expand my garden, floral, and herbal knowledge so I can continue to share what I learn with you. Thank you for using my affiliate links and supporting my small business in this way.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published