There is no plant called “wicker”…the term refers to the method in which the chosen material – rattan, bamboo, willow, or other sturdy but pliable plant fibers – are woven together -usually through a rattan framework – to form anything from baskets to tables to chairs.
When materials of good quality are used, and the vines are woven properly, wicker furniture should last for decades – with normal use. Indeed, some wicker antiques of the Victorian period are still in use today. This is because the materials that make wicker – rattan, etc., is filled with fibers running lengthwise, similar to a cable. Such a vine bends, therefore, but does not splinter and break as wood does.
Today, wicker furniture is not limited to the loveseat and chair set of the past. Practically any piece of furniture in the house – including desks, wall units and chests of drawers – can be made of wicker these days.
As with any type of furniture, you can buy wicker in single pieces or in complete sets, for the sunroom, living room…even the bathroom!
A set of chairs to surround a matching table are usually the first things chosen for a sunroom, but for a change of pace you can get loveseats – with room enough for two, ottomans – which are not only footstools but also couches without backs. Swings, rockers, wing chairs and loungers are also available, and to finish off the matching decor of the room there will be such accessories as pot stands, mats, decorative baskets, and even wall hangings.