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Winter Wreath Making Tips

Hinoki Cypress Wreath with Elkhorn Cedar. Love the little cones on the Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) and the undersides of Elkhorn Cedar  (Thujopsis dolobrata) are fabulous!

Mixed Greens Wreath. Dwarf Blue Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Montgomery’), Littleleaf Boxwood (Buxus sinica ‘Justin Brouwer’), plus several cultivars of Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa cvs. ‘Confucious’, ‘Crippsi’, and ‘Jade’)

Mixed Greens Wreath with Golden Berried Blue Holly (Ilex meserve ‘Golden Girl’), Littleleaf Boxwood (Buxus sinica ‘Justin Brouwer’), Various Hinoki Cypress

Littleleaf Boxwood  (Buxus sinica ‘Justin Brouwer’) with Blue Holly (Ilex meserve ‘Blue Princess’ ) plus wreath making supplies

After 25 years of planting unusual evergreens on our property, I feel our plants now have enough growth to afford plenty of interesting options for creating winter wreaths. This year’s crop provided me with lots of interesting material, and while I was taking cuttings I was also pruning at the same time.

I’d rather not make the same composition twice, so each wreath has a character of its own. I’ve used various wreath making forms in the past, but this year I went back to using wire forms which I covered with moistened long fiber sphagnum moss secured with a 22 gauge florist wire.

Here are a few tips:

  • You will need a lot of material for even a small form, especially if you want big fat full wreaths. The amount shown in the metal tub was just about enough to create a 16″ wreath.
  • If  your base is 12″ wide, expect the finish sized to be about 18″ or more in diameter, depending how far out your branches extend.
  • Broadleaf greens such as Boxwood, Holly and Rhododendron desiccate  quickly, especially if they are placed in a warm space or in a sunny spot. Using a base that has moistened sphagnum and tucking in the branch tips of the bunches helps keep them hydrated. Mist or soak your boxwood or holly wreath often. Also, applying an anti desiccant helps prevent the leaves from drying out.
  • Holly berries are often growing along the inner lower branches. Try to position the cuttings so you can see the berries, then trim back as necessary.
  • Repetition of your assorted bundles helps you create a balanced circle.
  • After you create your wreath, hang it and step back to see where it may need editing. You can always trim back or tuck in more cuttings.
  • Weather resistant ribbons add a touch of color to simple wreaths made from one or 2 plants, such as boxwood or holly. I prefer not to use ribbon when I have a lot of interesting leaves and cones to admire.


  1. What a great article. I never thought to spray indoor wreaths and I have a beautiful boxwood wreath inside. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  2. Thanks for the beautiful examples for us to emulate. I got some interesting ideas for evergreens to add to my garden this spring.

  3. These are absolutely gorgeous!!! You have inspired me and now I’m wondering if you are selling cuttings? (For us city folks.) Also I would love to buy a wreath if they are for sale…?

    • Hi Lucy, I have a few wreaths made up that are available: A 20″ boxwood wreath ($40), and a few 24″ mixed green wreaths that are $45.00, plus a large 30″ mixed greens wreath which I haven’t photographed but is gorgeous! I can fresh cut big bundles of greens for $10.00.
      I will be out of town on Wednesday (12/11)
      but otherwise I’m around…let me know if you want to swing by.

  4. Thank you! Sent you an email…

  5. Kathy your wreaths are beautiful! Have you tried wreath wrap to hold in the moisture?
    I tell my customers to lay the wreath on the lawn when it rains. This can make it last longer. Bill

    • Hi Bill
      I didn?t use the wrap, but did make big cushions of sphagnum moss on the frame. They have held up well, only now beginning to take on a bronze tinge. Besides the mixed greens I made several Holly and Boxwood wreaths?.I did a big no-no, I made a big yellow berried holly wreath and placed it above the fireplace. The first few days around Christmas I was very good about keeping it hydrated, but then it began to dry beautifully, still full but withered, (sort of makes me think of Dicken?s Miss Havisham?I like it!)

  6. Thank you for sending this out!
    Do you have any cuttings of mixed greens available this year?
    Where can you buy anti desiccant? I make a boxwood wreath for over the mantle and never thought of misting it! I have always wrapped the wet moss – is there a preference?
    And next year I’ll respond earlier for the wreath making class!!!

    • Anti desiccant is sold under various brand names: Wilt Pruf is one. Probably can find it at your local hardware store. Lou, Can I email you about the availability of cuttings and stems? Besides the 2 workshops I’m giving I’ve taken orders for quite a few wreaths, and I want to be sure I have ample materials first.


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