We recently learned about the harmful effects of floral foam to nature and humans. Thus, we searched for earth-friendly alternatives to floral foams in flower arrangements.
Floral foams are the foliage green base used mostly in flower arrangements to hold the flowers together and keep them soaked in water to prolong their life. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet of OASIS Floral Foam, the material is composed of non-biodegradable elements and carcinogenic ingredients.
Although we also learned that Oasis, the leading supplier of floral foams, had introduced their newest “biodegradable” products, we still cannot prove their friendliness to mother nature.
To ensure the safety of people and the environment, we suggest to use the following eco-friendly alternatives to replace floral foams in flower arrangements:
1. Kenzan or Floral Frog
It is also called spiky frog and is specifically used in Ikebana, a Japanese flower arrangement art. Kenzans or Floral Frogs are made of heavy lead plates with brass needles erected for the stipes.
It is good on tall, narrow and shallow dishes for natural and loose flower arrangements. Plus, it is non-toxic, reusable, and the flowers can drink water naturally. However, it can be hard to find especially in bulk and can be expensive per piece. It is also not easy to design in, but if you think about your health and the good of the environment, it will be worth it.
2. Chicken Wire
Chicken wires are considered a florist’s best friend when it comes to larger flower arrangements. It is the best option for basic structures, and just like floral frogs, it is non-toxic, reusable and allows the flowers to drink water naturally.
It is also very quick and inexpensive to buy the roll. In fact, it is cheaper than floral frogs. Plus it makes preparations easier and can securely hold the flowers for transport. However, it’s not good to use in clear vases and a camouflage is necessary.
3. Tape Grid
Tape grids are for a more elaborate and formal flower arrangement. It is the excellent method used by professional florists.
It is good to use in all shapes of containers and best for clear vases. It gives every florist a control over the tightness or looseness of the grids. It is great for transporting flowers. Plus, it is inexpensive. The only downside is it’s a bit more time consuming to prepare.
To use it, simply make a grid out of waterproof tapes on top of the flower container.
4. Curly Willow Grid
The curly willow grid is great for natural, rustic flower arrangement design. It offers a more attractive alternative to floral foam and is a very good way to use for clear containers. The curly willow also has a few antiseptic properties that can help prolong the life of flowers.
On the downside, the curly willow’s rustic look may not suit all kinds of design. It also takes practice to get used to designing in it and keeping the flowers in place.
This might surprise you, but yes, watermelons can be used as an alternative to floral foams, too. Although, it is not practical to use for all purposes.
It is important to note, however, that fruits and vegetables omit gases called ethylene, which cause fresh cut flowers to decay faster. Thus, it is recommended to use it only for day events in air-conditioned rooms and must be broken down immediately after the event.
Watermelons have the closest natural ingredients similar to the texture of floral foams. They are porous enough for the flower stems and have enough water supply for the flowers to drink.
5. Banana Trunk
This can be used for florists in tropical countries where there is an abundant supply of bananas. The middle part of the banana trunk has a structure similar to that of a floral foam – porous and wet.
It also very helpful to the environment as when the banana trees are cut, they allow the new banana trees to grow.
6. Floral Soil
It is a new innovation especially created to replace the toxic floral foams. The floral soil is made out of the coconut husk waste which is a renewable product. It also has the texture of a sponge that can absorb more than ten times its weight in water and provides access to air and nutrients without over saturation.
The floral soil has no fossil fuel based chemical additives thus you can ensure of its eco-friendliness. Plus, it is edible. Yes, you can try it to prove. However, its production is not yet widespread so you still have to take time looking for it.
7. Glass marbles/beads
Glass marbles are probably the easiest alternative to floral foams. This is ideal for flower arrangements created to give as a gift. Plus, they are affordable and can be found everywhere.