- Floral foam
- Bucket or Basin
Flower arrangements are fresh pieces of artwork. No two are exactly the same. Talented florists use instinct and skill to produce each arrangement. Among the tools a florist uses are styrofoam flower blocks, commonly called floral foam or the trademarked name, Oasis. Floral foam keeps the stems in place and hydrated, creating a longer-lasting arrangement.
Floral foam comes in a variety of shapes and colors. Foliage green 3-inch-by-4-inch-by-9-inch bricks are commonly used since they can be cut to fit any container and match the stem color. Spheres, cones and rings are other popular shapes. The foam is available at craft and floral supply stores.
Before the foam is put in a vase, it needs to be saturated with water. If necessary, cut the foam brick into the size needed. Put in a basin of water for at least one hour to a maximum of overnight. Don't force the foam down, as it will hydrate on its own. It will float at water level when ready.
Place the wet foam tightly in the vase. Stick the flower and foliage stems in firmly until arrangement is complete. Fill vase 3/4 full of tepid water. Even though an average floral brick holds two quarts of water, the vase should be refilled and refreshed daily.
Other items can be used to hold flowers in place, such as glass rocks or marbles for contemporary style. Grapevines work for traditional and rustic themes. Take apart a grapevine wreath, cutting into smaller pieces. Soak overnight in a basin of warm water to increase flexibility. Line a clear vase with vines about halfway up and add the flowers. One grapevine wreath makes several vase fillers.
Check catalogs at community colleges, senior citizens centers and city recreation departments for classes in basic flower arranging. Call local craft or flower supply stores, as they may offer similar seminars.
Cut the end of flower stems on the diagonal for longer life.