Janette From Kays Flower School Talks About Agra Wool Floral Foam

 

 

Scroll Down To See Janette Create a Pedestal Arrangement using Agra-Wool as Your Foam 

 

Agra Wool - The Latest Alternative To Floral Foam 

Actually not that new, its been around since 2017, but only really became noticed in the flower industry in 2020.  We have read so much about it, lots of positives and lots of negatives, so we decided the only way to make an informed opinion was to try it out ourselves.

 

The biggest positive for using Agra Wool is the benefits it has to the environment, yes it is beneficial to the environment, you probably expected me to say it wasn't harmful to the environment, but not only is it not harmful, it is in face beneficial, which is absolutely amazing

 What is Agra Wool

  • Agra Wool is  made from Volcanic rock stone wool,  which is called basalt.
  • It was originally used a a replacement for soil.  Many growers actually plant and grow flowers and plants in it.
  • There are no chemical whatsoever added to Agra Wool.
  • A type of sucrose, (cane or beet sugar)is used to hold the fibers together. all degradable 
  • Agra Wool has a PH of 7, which again does not have any negative impact on soil. 
  • It is actually recommended to dispose of Agra Wool, you should break it up and mix it into your soil  as a soil conditioner.

What do Florists Think of it?

  • Currently Florist and Floral designers have been trying and testing using Agra Wool as a replacement to floral foam for different designs and installations.   
  • Although Agra Wool was marketed as a natural floral foam, florists who are marketing themselves as eco-friendly and sustainable are opposed to it being called a floral foam as they use the tags #foamfree #nofloralfoam #nofoamused 
  • The plan is to re-market Agra Wool as Natural Floral Base 
  • Currently traditional Floral Foam blocks used are oil based so not fully biodegradable.

A huge advantage from a Florist point of view, is that it  can be used for dried, faux or fresh flowers, which means they only have to carry one type of Floral Foam

 

 

So what are our First thoughts and opinions on Agra Wool?

  • It feels heavier than traditional floral foam
  • It is much more expensive ( approx x3 times traditional foam)
  • Its very easy to cut using a large knife
  • It does not crumble, and holds up well in containers
  • One block holds just over 1 liter of water, surplus water will flow from it but it still holds  quite a lot of liquid
  • Originally I soaked it like traditional floral foam in a bucket of water and it sank to the end of the bucket in seconds and took in the water very fast.
  • It felt spongier than traditional floral foam
  • Soft hollow stems like ranunculus, dahlias, gerberas and daffodils were a little bit more difficult to insert… but we often find that with traditional foam anyway.

Having Used it for the first time what was my thoughts?

  • Using strong stems like roses, chrysanthemums & lilly's we had no issues inserting them.
  • We did find thicker stems  sometimes did not have the feeling of stability when placed into the foam.
  • I found you needed to insert the stems a little further into the foam than normal to make sure it was secure.
  • I know it is not recommended with traditional foam  to remove a stem to insert a second time, BUT my experience when doing this in Agra wool is that the holes collapsed even more so.
  • Speed wise  I found it I was slower to work with, but maybe with practice and getting more confident I would get faster.
  • I found using a pen or a knitting needle helped with the insertion of some flowers.
  • Soft hollow stems like ranunculus, dahlias, gerberas, daffodils really presented a problem inserting, but like wise these can be difficult in traditional foam too.
  • Agra wool is definitely less forgiving and if making larger designs, don't over load the foam.
  • If you are designing an arrangement that will be transported, i would highly recommend wrapping in a light chicken wire or floral netting. Movement will definitely cause stems to loosen in the foam and in some cases fall out altogether. 
  • Surplus water, I didn’t find the same amount of water seemed to be pushed from the Agra wool as normal foam. It was like it absorbed surplus water back up immediately.

 

I found for average low lying  arrangements I was happy enough about the security of the display when transporting. For taller displays I didn’t feel quiet as confident.

 

Re using it?

  • I personally did not think it was suitable to re-use again for a second floral display. In traditional foam I never recommend using again anyway as I feel old foam is full of bacteria and germs and will contaminate your new flowers.
  • I would recommend crumbling it up and adding it as a nutrient to your soil or sterilizing it with bleach and water and compact it to use as a filler in containers, what I call wedgies at my classes.

 

How did I feel the flowers lasted?

Personally, I found no difference in the longevity of the flowers in comparison to traditional floral foam. I watered every day, kept in a cool room, misted regular and found the flower and plant materials lasted really well. 


Conclusion

I am thrilled to see that there is work being done to bring more sustainable products that are commercially viable and beneficial to the environment.

I was very impressed with how Agra Wool worked for some designs and feel it is going in the right direction.  

For a total beginner florist learning principles, patterns, placement and structure it may not be the easiest medium to learn on, but with experience florists will learn to adapt to using it. 

Because it's only new, there is a lot of improvement has still to be made, Oasis floral foam has come a long way since the first foam was developed  in 1954.

I do hope Agra Wool will continue to work and improve the product to ensure more and more florists use less and less traditional foam going forward.

How Much Is Agro-Wool ? 

€29 per box + P&P   (Only sold by the box) Price correct May 2021

Where can I buy Agra-Wool? 

Call Sharon / Stephen on 018568613