Basic Boutonnieres

In a buttonhole or pinned to a lapel, a small boutonniere that is in proportion and easy to wear can lift one’s spirit. Many types of flowers are appropriate for boutonnieres, in addition to very popular red and white Carnations, and are available year around.

Assembly Instructions

  1. When using Bachelor Buttons retain two inches of the natural stem and begin by holding the bloom with the left hand. Insert No. 28 wire up through the stem and through the flower head using the hook method. Use Floratape ® stem wrap to create a smooth, neat stem. If flowers are small, group two or three in a cluster.
  2. With Rosebuds select a small bud that is partially opened; Red Garnette or Red Pinocchio buds are good choices. Snap off the natural stem, leaving about one inch. Wire through the calyx with No. 24 wire and overwrap the stem and wire smoothly and neatly with Floratape ® stem wrap. For Gardenias, first choose a small variety bloom and remove the sepals. Then wire and overwrap with Floratape ® stem wrap using the same method that applies for Rosebuds.
  3. Lily-of-the-Valley is used only for formal attire and particularly for grooms. Group them in small sprays, using a No. 26 wire and the clutch wire method. Next wrap each stem, with or without its own foliage, with black Floratape ® stem wrap. Check to make sure that wrapped stems fit comfortably into a buttonhole or can be pinned to a lapel. Use white Floratape ® stem wrap for customers who will wear a white suit.
  4. Making a neat boutonniere from a bulky, heavy Carnation involves several simple steps. First snap the bloom from the stem and carefully remove the green sepals. Next, gently shake the petals down to expose the hard green center of the flower head. Pinch out the center. Then return the petals to their original position and apply No. 26 wire using the clutch method, going around and up the base of the petals two or three times. Be careful not to cut the petals, but make sure the flower is wired securely. This very fine line between not-too-tight-to-cut and light-enough-to-hold takes some practice. Use green Floratape ® stem wrap to complete the boutonniere. When wired and taped the boutonniere should be about two inches long.

    Boutonnieres can be worn for a variety of occasions and on a wide variety of outfits. On tweed jackets and sport coats use Bachelor Buttons, Pompom Dahlias, Miniature Chrysanthemums, small Zinnias, small Daisies and tiny Asters. With business suits, consider a maroon Carnation or a Rosebud. For formal attire, the small Camellia or Gardenia and the Carnation are always in good taste. At Christmas, add a few clusters of holly berries for a cheery touch.

    A number of flowers are appropriate for weddings and traditionally a bloom from the bride’s bouquet may be used for the groom’s boutonniere. Choose Lily-of-the-Valley, Stephanotis, Carnation, Bouvardia or a white Rosebud for formal weddings and a small Gardenia or small Camellia for semi-formal weddings. If the wedding is informal, use a white Aster, white Cornflower, white Carnation or white Stock floret. Boutonnieres for the ushers and fathers of the bride and groom should be small and should differ from that of the groom.

FDP-15 | Written by William Kistler, American Floral Art School, Chicago