What is flower foam?

Last week I told you about why I put flowers on the table when we eat outdoors and shared four tips for when you use flower foam.  I was assuming of course that you know what flower foam is and why it’s useful when arranging flowers for your home.

The most recognisable brand of flower foam is probably Oasis.  So I checked out their website to see whether they had any easily digestible information about what flower foam is.  And they did.

Prior to florists and flower arrangers using flower foam we would have used chicken wire and greenery as a base for flower arrangements.  It’s interesting that things are going full circle to the old ways and there’s a move back to using these materials because they are kinder to the environment.  Having said that, you will need to make your own decisions regarding the balance to be made between being eco and the ease/practicality of arranging flowers. Essentially flower foam is made from a form of plastic and isn’t biodegradable.


The story goes that Vernon Lewis Smithers was working on a light-weight crushable foam in his laboratories in the United States for the Union Carbide Company, but a suitable use couldn’t be found for it.  Mr Smithers went on to buy the equipment used to manufacture the foam, and Oasis as we know it today was born in the 1950s.  A lightweight foam that could absorb water and be used as a base for flower arrangements.


The thing about flower foam is that while it soaks up water it doesn’t spring back into shape once it’s been squeezed.  It doesn’t survive being treated roughly. If you decide to use it as a base for your arrangements – success lies in soaking it correctly.


Float your foam in a bowl of water and let it sink of its own accord.  As the images show below, if you push it under water, it’ll look like it’s completely soaked through, but when you cut it open the centre will still be dry.  Not good news when your flower stems are relying on the foam as their water source to keep them alive.


I’d be interested to hear your views on the pros and cons of using flower foam – leave me a comment below.


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If you’re planning to find your happy with flowers this week don’t forget you can amaze your friends with your knowledge about getting your flowers to last longer.  Sign up here for access to my free five-day mini course and make a start on getting your flowers to last longer.


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Until next time, happy flowers


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