last week's post about holiday decorating with succulents, I learned a fun and easy technique for wiring succulents in order to work them into your centerpieces and arrangements. You'll only need a few supplies (available at craft stores), and when the flowers are past their prime, you can still plant the succulents in your garden.
The Flower Duet, an L.A.-based florist, posted an incredibly helpful tutorial online demonstrating how to give your little succulent rosettes a wire stem, making them easy to incorporate into arrangements. You'll need several lengths of thick-gauge floral wire, a spool of thinner paddle wire, a roll of floral tape, and some potted succulents (or cuttings from your garden) of your choice. (Floral supplies are available at most craft stores, or online here.) The technique is simple. First, remove your succulent from its pot and clear away all the soil and most of the roots, leaving just the single large root at the center (don't worry, the plant will be fine!). Dip the succulent in a bucket of clean water and gently scrub away all remaining soil. Then insert a length of thick-gauge wire into the central root. Use a length of paddle wire to provide extra support for the succulent head. Loop one-third of the wire over itself, align the loop along that central root, then wind the long tail of the paddle wire around the loop, root, and thick-gauge wire, binding them all together. (This may sound confusing, but it's actually easy; check out the Flower Duet's tutorial for a demo.)
Use floral tape to cover the wire and create a stem. Floral tape sticks to itself as long as you pull it taut as you wind it.
Now you can add your succulents to a centerpiece or bouquet just as if they were regular flowers. They'll last a few weeks, at least, and then you can remove the wire and tape and plant them back in the soil. Enjoy! (Images: Susie Nadler; Caitlin Atkinson/Flora Grubb Gardens)