HOW TO USE FLORAL FOAM IN FLOWER ARRANGING
In the Florist business, Floral foam is also called Oasis. Oasis is used to hold flower stems in place. The water drenched Oasis supply water for the flowers. Floral foam is cut into the required size with a serrated knife or florist knife.
As soon as flowers are cut, the flowers are deprived of its normal supply of water. To make sure that the flowers quickly resumes taking up water, floral foam or oasis are used. The ability of the flowers to draw up water is greatly increased when the flower stems are cut with a very sharp knife, at a slant, so that the point of the stem rests on the base of the container, keeping the slanted stem open for drawing up water.
Make sure that you use the right type of foam for the floral arrangement. Fresh flower arranging is done using green water retaining floral foam called Floral Oasis. The ability of the green foam to retain water allows the fresh flowers and accompanying foliage to soak up water and nutrients which keep the flowers and the flower arrangement fresh.
The florist should choose dark moss green foam, this helps with camouflaging problems. You might also want to use coloured foam that blends with the flowers and foliage. Remember that foam or oasis is not a magic substance, if you do not keep it well watered, the flowers will wilt and die.
Floral foam should be placed in large buckets which are three quarters full of clean fresh water. Make sure that the floral foam or oasis is totally soaked before using the floral foam to make a flower arrangement. If the floral foam is not soaked well, it can contain dry spots. This means that the flowers that are inserted in the dry spots cannot soak up water, causing the flowers to wilt. Loss of flowers means a loss of business. Customers will not purchase flowers from a florist if the flowers do not last long enough to enjoy them.
Cut flower food should be added to the water to prolong the life of the flowers. Use flower food added to fresh water every 4 to 5 days to prolong the lifespan of your flower arrangement.
It can be tempting to re-use Oasis, but know that this will cause some of the flowers to wilt. Why? If there are previous holes in the foam, the holes have now filled with pockets of air creating an airlock beneath the flower stem which will die because it does not have access to life giving water.
If you feel that the cut flower’s stem is incorrectly placed and need to re-arrange it, never place it back in the same whole. Make a fresh hole with the flower stem so that no air pockets are formed.
When you have placed the floral foam into the container or vase you should ideally cut the Oasis so that it is higher than the flower container or flower pot. Cut a V-shape into the foam. If the foam is higher than the container, no space will be left for water to be added to the flower pot or flower container. The V-shape that you have cut into the floral Oasis will allow fresh water to enter the oasis. Flower’s best friend is water, it makes them happy!
The reason why I encourage florists to cut the oasis higher than the container or pot is so that the flowers can be arranged naturally. If the oasis is level with the pot or container all the flowers will point upwards.
If the Floral Foam is higher than the container, the flowers and foliage can be inserted around the sides, causing the stems to flow over and around the container or flower pot.
Strip the flower stem leaves from the flower stem using your hands or a stem stripper. Leaves that become soaked in the water rot, causing bacteria that attack the flower stems, and weakening them. The leaves of marigolds, chrysanthemums and daisies rot quickly under the water level. The leaves under the water also tend to draw up water which means that it leaves less fresh water for the flower stems.
If you have soaked too much oasis, place the unused oasis in a plastic container and seal tightly. Once floral foam dries out, it is difficult to re-soak it; you may need very hot water to do the job. It is possible to purchase floral Oasis in different colours that will compliment the colour of the flower arrangement.
Brown floral foam is used for artificial or dried flowers. The brown floral foam is much stiffer. No water is added to the vase; the arrangement is made from dried, plastic, or other type of artificial materials. Dry floral foam is ideal for arranging silk flowers. The brown or dry floral foam is adhered to the vase using hot melt glue.