How do I use Hen and Chicks in a bridal bouquet?
Echeveria is the name that the floral industry is using for the “hen and chicks”. When you order them either name will be identified by your salesperson.
Echeveria is a large genus of succulents in the Crassulaceae family, native from Mexico to northwestern South America. The genus is named after the 18th century Mexican botanical artist, Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy. Many of the species produce numerous offsets, and are commonly known as ‘Hen and chicks’.
Many Echeveria species are popular as garden plants. They are drought-resistant, although they do better with regular deep watering and fertilizing. Most will tolerate shade and some frost, although hybrid species tend to be less tolerant. They can be propagated easily by separating offsets, but may also be propagated by leaf cuttings, and by seed if they are not hybrids. Echeverias are polycarpic, meaning that they may flower and set seed many times over the course of their lifetimes.
Most lose their lower leaves in winter; as a result, after a few years, the plants lose their attractive, compact appearance and need to be rerooted or propagated. In addition, if not removed, these shed leaves may decay, harboring fungus which can then infect the plant.
When using in a bridal bouquet there are a few ways. What ever ways you choose always make a nice clean cut on the stem of the plant with a clean sharp knife. If the plant is small use the Stemsons Corsage stem, for a larger specimen use the Rose Stem
1. Soak a Stemsons stem in fresh clean water with flower food, insert the Stemson’s stem into the base of the Echeveria, and place Oasis Adhesive around the base of the plant and corsage stem to secure the stem into the plant. This will give moisture as well as secure the Echeveria.
2. Cut the stem; insert two round toothpicks into the base of the plant. One toothpick allows the plant to turn; two will keep it in place. The wood will wick the moisture to secure them in place. Add Oasis Adhesive around the insertion points.
3. Using a wood pick, insert the pointed end of the wood pick into the plant. Glue with Oasis Adhesive. The same procedures are used for inserting Echeveria into foam.
When using Echeveria in a hand tie bouquet, tape two # 24 wires with light green corsage tape. If the plant is larger use heavier gauge wire, smaller use a lesser gauge. Wrap the taped wire in and around the lower leaves, hiding the wire in and around the base of the plant , bring the wire ends together on one side, repeat the wire treatment on the opposite side, then bring the four wire ends together, forming them flat against the base of the plant at a right angle, twist the wire. Add Oasis Adhesive on the stem end to keep the moisture in the plant.
Advise the customer to remove the Echeveria from the design when they have finished with the original purpose, recut the stem end and place it in the soil, to continue enjoying their gift.
Question: “I have a bride who is looking to have a bouquet of all succulents?? wondering how you would wire these and create a handtied bouquet or is there a class for this???”
Answer:Wow a bouquet of succulents will be lovely. It may be a bit heavy so choose some larger ones for the bottom, some medium ones and some smaller. This is for the actual bouquet, weight and for the photography to be able to capture the beauty of the plant, textures and colors. Choose a large or extra large bouquet holder; soak in fresh clean water with flower food. Conceal the back of the bouquet holder first so you will not have to think about that again. Tape several # 24, #22, and #20 gauge wires with dark green floral tape. Use the heaviest wire for the larger plants, lighter for the lightest. Depending on the size of the plant use a whole or half of a wire. Taping the wire protects the succulent from the bare wire tearing it. Careful not to touch the petals of the plant, when that beautiful white coating is touched it leaves a print that cannot be corrected. Gently wrap the wire around the base of the plant, repeat on the other side so you will have four wire stems at the base. Twist the stems together close to the base. Take a 6″ wood pick; insert the pointed end of the wood pick into the base of the plant, secure in place with Oasis adhesive. (When you are finished with the bouquet you may remove the plants and plant them. Remove the wire and wood pick, trim the end of the plant, and place it in potting medium.) Cut the wire from the end of the wood pick, if there is one. Gently and securely wrap the floral taped wires around the wood pick, floral tape the mechanics. The wood will draw water to keep the succulent hydrated. Cut the wood pick to desired length, insert into bouquet holder. Place larger plants first close to the base; graduate the sizes, smallest on the outside for depth.