One of the basic techniques in floral arranging is wiring. Wiring is a means of strengthening stems to keep them upright in arrangements, to avoid bending them, which leads to wilting, and to lengthen short ones. There are four major ways to wire a stem, each appropriate for certain situations. Typically, floral tape is used in conjunction with wiring techniques to hide the wire, but you can also use green floral wire to help hide it.
The most basic floral wiring technique is to simply tape a length of wire to a stem. This method is used to lengthen a stem, rather than reinforce it, but it also adds strength and stability. Place a length of wire against the stem and wrap the end of a roll of florist tape around the top of the stem and the wire. Twist the stem as you pull the tape taut and wrap it in a spiral, angling downward. Continue wrapping the wire beyond the bottom of the stem to achieve the length you need.
The piercing method is similar to the basic wire and tape method, but its primary use is to strengthen and stabilise the stem. It works best for flowers with a thick calyx -- the fleshy green part at the base of the flower head -- such as roses. Push the end of the wire into the calyx vertically and wrap the wire in a spiral down the length of the stem. This supports the stem and holds the head of the flower up. Wrap the wired stem with floral tape if desired. A second method of pierce wiring is to pierce the calyx all the way through horizontally, then bend the wire down on each side to form a double thickness of wire for even more support. This is a good method if your flower has a short stem and you are using the wire to lengthen the stem in addition to supporting the flower head.
For flowers with a flimsy stem and flat head, like daisies and chrysanthemums, use a hook wiring technique. Form a small hook in the end of a length of wire. Push the long end of the wire through the flower from the top, pushing it down until the hook is embedded in the top of the flower. Wrap the long end of the wire that is protruding under the flower around the stem in a downward, vertical spiral. Wrap the wired stem with floral tape if desired.
Some flowers, such as the gerbera daisy, have a hollow stem or a soft, fleshy stem. For these flowers, carefully push a wire all the way up the length of the stem until it penetrates into the calyx at the base of the flower. Using wire in a flexible stem also affords you an opportunity to bend the stems into dramatic curves for an arrangement.
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