All You Need To Know About Smithers Oasis ® Floral Foam

Who is Smithers Oasis?

Koch & Co has been distributing Oasis ® Floral foam products in Australia for many years. In 1954, at the age of 65, V.L. Smithers invented a water absorbing foam for flower arrangements known today as OASIS ® Floral Foam. While experimenting with plastic foams in his Smithers Laboratories business, V.L. thought, "if I could find a way to get water into foam, perhaps it would be used as a base for floral arrangements." And that's how OASIS ® foam emerged. Headquarters and manufacturing is in Cuyahoga Falls and Kent Ohio, USA.

How was Oasis ® Floral Foam formulated? 

Our 20-year history in providing growing media and post-harvest products provides a foundation of knowledge about the life cycle of flowers from birth to death. This wealth of knowledge is used not in the development of the foam formulation and in the design of the specialised polymer resin used to make the foam.

What kind of products do Oasis produce?

Smithers-Oasis offers a selection of floral foams, both wet and dry for fresh and silk flowers. There are different shapes and sizes of floral foam. The brand also distributes a comprehensive range of floral aids and floral sundries for the retail florist. Furthermore, a variety of craft DIY products are available in various major retail chains. Under the Floralife ® Brand, the Smithers Oasis Company have developed a range of pre-harvest grower products for plant propagation products and wetting agent products for the commercial greenhouse industry. They are also actively developing post-harvest flower care products for the commercial florist and home use.

Where can you find Oasis ® brand floral products?

Over many years, the Oasis ® brand floral foam has become a trusted name amongst floral, home crafter and commercial greenhouse grower markets. It is available in over 20 countries. The OASIS ® brand name is known around the world for quality, consistency and derives over 65% of all sales from floral foam bricks. In South East Asia, the Oasis ® floral products are distributed in the following countries: Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. Koch & Co is a leading distributor of Oasis ® floral foam products in these countries.

What types of floral foam are there?

  1. Wet floral foam - Oasis ® is a trademarked name for wet floral foam. It is soft phenolic foam used for arranging fresh flowers. This soft spongy, foliage green brick of foam supports flower arranging, soaks water to preserve and prolonging the life of fresh cut flowers. Oasis ® Wet floral foam has a cell structure similar to that found in flowers which allows water to flow from the foam brick up the stem of the flower.
  2. Dry floral foam - Dry floral foam produced by the Smithers-Oasis Company is used for supporting arrangements of artificial flowers.
  3. Coloured floral foam - Rainbow Foam is the trademarked name for coloured floral foam produced by the Smithers-Oasis. It is a WETABLE POLYURETHANE and does not contain the same formulation as regular wet foam.

How many qualities of wet floral foam does Oasis ® produce?

  1. Premium – dense firm foam suited to larger stemmed flowers 
  2. Ideal – standard density and suited for everyday use on most floral arrangements.
  3. Advantage – soft density economy foam that is soft. This will suit small super market style arrangements.
  4. Maxlife
  5. Noir Black Floral Foam
  6. Rainbow Foam  

What is the chemical name for Oasis® brand floral foam?

The chemical name for floral foam is EXPANDED THERMOSET POLYMER. Floral foam is made of phenol, formaldehyde polymers, surfactants, and wetting agents. Floral foam can cause eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation. The official Smithers Oasis Material Safety Data Sheet of OASIS ® Floral Foam is here.

What types of floral foam manufacturing processes exist?

You can produce floral foam by using the “continuous line closed mould” method or the “open mould” method. The former is the most efficient and cost effective.

What is open cell structure floral foam?

Wet Oasis ® floral foam is open-celled phenolic foam hence it absorbs and holds over 40 times its weight of water i.e. about 2 litres of water. The cell structure of OASIS ® Floral Foam resembles the biological make-up of plant stem cell structure. OASIS ® Floral Foam has wicking or capillary action, which draws water to the top of the foam. Due to its unique structure, it retains water in the cells.

What is closed cell floral foam?

Dry Oasis ® Foam is polyurethane closed cell foam. This type of foam is used mainly for dry and artificial flower arrangements. It is available in many shapes and sizes such as bricks, cones, spheres and wreath-shapes.

What are some general tips for handling floral foam?

  • Store in dry and cool place, avoid direct sunlight.
  • Clean hands after handling foam.
  • Do not inhale dust.
  • Do not swallow foam.
  • Store in low area to avoid eye contact.

How do I soak OASIS® floral foam?

  • Allow the foam to free float in a tub of clean water or water that contains fresh flower foods and nutrients.
  • Allow the brick to sink just below the surface of the water.
  • Do not force the brick to sink. By forcing the foam under water all surfaces become sealed preventing the escape of air and the foam cannot fully saturate
  • Air pockets mean dry foam. Dry foam means no water for your flowers to drink.
  • This should take 50 to 60 seconds per brick.

How do I soak OASIS ® RAINBOW ® floral foam?

Soaking rainbow coloured floral foam by using the same “float and soak” method of green floral foam. It does however take up to 5 minutes to soak.

How do I store OASIS ® Floral Foam?

Store OASIS ® Floral Foam at normal room temperature and away from direct sunlight. High heat affects the soaking and drainage properties of foam. Due to the chemical composition of floral foam, exposing floral foam to direct light for extended periods may brown the foam. Brown foam will not affect the water holding properties of the foam. Avoid damaging the foam as you damage the cell structure that allows water to flow to the fresh flowers in your arrangement.

What is the shelf life of OASIS ® Floral Foam?

If foam is stored under the correct conditions, it should maintain a very long shelf life. Health and safety floral foam tips. Oasis ® is not Non-toxic. Observe normal safety measures when in a dusty environment. Oasis ® brand floral foam is not compostable, but is degradable which can be environmentally friendly.  Oasis ® brand foam is accepted at most land fill sites. Many cemeteries are refusing to accept sympathy tributes made from floral foam or Styrofoam.

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For more information and resources about Floral Foam, read our other articles:

 

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