Why Use Alternatives to Floral Foam?
In this post, I compare sphagnum moss, along with other alternatives, to floral foam. Sphagnum moss offers a sustainable floral armature. As a sustainable florist service on our tiny flower farm we are constantly searching for sustainable alternatives.
We are fortunate to grow our flowers on a large enough property that we have access to sphagnum moss on site. We are also very aware it can take 10 years to regenerate living sphagnum moss, so we wash and reuse it.
Floral foam is a single use product made from fossil fuels that has a long half-life. This means you use it once, throw it away and it remains in a landfill for thousands of years. 1
Floral form is by design a single use product. Bacteria, the enemy of all fresh flower arrangements, will grow if you reuse floral foam. The second challenge with floral foam is that it clogs the vascular structures of some plants. This stops the uptake of water to the blooms.
The floristry industry needs to use more sustainable products to achieve the goal of net zero waste.
Compared to floral foam, sphagnum moss wrapped in chicken wire gives you a reusable product. You can wash and use it again and again. It dries out between uses and is bacteria resistant.
Dry sphagnum moss has an amazing ability to hold 20 times its dry weight in water. 2. This ability was well understand by Indigenous cultures who used moss to line their infant cradles as a type of natural diaper. We discuss the cultural uses of moss in more detail in our Benefits of Indoor Moss Gardens blog.
You can control how dense you make your moss based on the floral application. If I am making an archway, I want the moss quite dense so the flowers hold their positions in the installation.
I sometimes use a bamboo skewer to make a small guide hole to clear a small path to prevent clogging of the vascular walls of the floral stem.
In Victorian times they used a great array of reusable floral frogs made of glass or pottery which helped hold space for each bloom to shine.
Ikebana arrangements use stems and Kenyan frogs which were often affixed in a vase. Reusing was the gold standard, one that we need to revive today.
We are designing clay frogs with Thrown Together Pottery and have design ideas for clay vases with built in armatures. There is no end to the collaborations that can solve today’s sustainable floristry needs. We look forward to these design times.
Leading organizations in the sustainable florist industry, Slow Flowers Society and Sustainable Floristry Network, are asking the floral industry to find new ways to use and reuse our materials in a sustainable way.
Role for Sustainable Florists
Sustainable florists have a role to play in reinventing the floral industry.
We can replace floral foam with armature that is functional, easily sanitized and environmentally friendly by collaborating with artists, designers and flower lovers.
New this year, for our Floral CSA clients, we are making arrangements in the clients' own vases, thus eliminating the need to purchase new vases. We have eliminated single use plastic by providing a glass jar of plant solution that will last the 16 weeks of their CSA.
Our core belief at Foraged Florals is for people to fall in love and connect with flowers as we protect the things we love.
On our flower farm and studio, our methods of production and design already produce the lowest possible carbon footprint for a flower arrangement - grown outdoors, locally and seasonally with no chemical inputs.
Support local, seasonal and sustainable
It is the future..
We do flower arrangements
by request. Call 902-209-3638 to place
an order or to book a complimentary consultation for wedding flowers.
5491 Hwy 12, Harriston,
Nova Scotia B0J 2M0.
Our tiny flower farm is situated near Waqmiaq*, now New Ross, in the District of Sipekne'katik, in Mi'kma'ki on the unceded ancestral and territorial land and waters of the Mi'kmaw People. We aspire to be respectful stewards of their land, as the Mi'kmaq have been, and continue to be, for thousands of years. We are all Treaty People under the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725 and 1752.
*Waqmiaq is translated as "clean flowing water" on the Mi'kmaw Place Names website https://placenames.mapdev.ca. An audio of its pronunciation is also available.
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