Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Watermelon Floral Foam Questions Answered

Ever since I introduced the concept of using watermelon as a substitute for floral foam, I have received reactions ranging from skepticism to awe. I've also received a ton of questions. So here are some of the repeated questions and concerns I've gotten with a response for each.

Q: Do you substitute floral foam with watermelon for all your arrangements?
A: No. Currently, the watermelon is used only when our eco-minded clients specifically ask for it.

Q: Doesn't the watermelon go bad?
A: Yes. This is why we use the fruit for select arrangements. For now, we only suggest using watermelon for 1 day events in an indoor, air conditioned setting. These arrangements must be deconstructed immediately after the event to avoid dealing with spoilage (usually meaning a nasty smell and unwanted critters).

Q: Is the watermelon okay for the flowers?
A: So far, yes. They don't call it WATER-melon for no reason. The flowers drink from the water in the fruit ensuring their longevity. However, one thing we are unsure of is the high sugar content and how it affects the flowers.

Q: Doesn't the ripening agent that fruits like watermelon emit cause more harm to the flowers?
A: This question brings an interesting point to mind. One of the first things any floral designer learns about proper floral care is to keep the flowers away from fruits and vegetables because of the ethylene that produce naturally emits to ripen the themselves. Unfortunately for fresh cut flowers, this gas also causes faster decay (aka - a shorter shelf life). Just by cutting open watermelon, we speed up the decaying process of the fruit. So, the fruit going bad is the primary concern since it will go bad way before the flowers will. This is why I strongly suggest watermelon to be used for 1 day events in an air-conditioned setting with immediate deconstruction of the arrangements at the end of the event.

Q: Is the watermelon more cost efficient?
A: No, not at all. It is so much more expensive. Watermelon is sold by the pound and the cost varies from season to season whereas floral foam is sold by the box and can be stored for very long periods of times.

Q: What do you prefer to use: watermelon or floral foam?
A: On an ecological concern, watermelon is 100% better for the environment so it would be my first choice. However, on a practical concern, floral foam is still superior. The foam holds the flowers better, preserves fresh flowers much longer and doesn't rot. We are still in search of alternatives other than watermelon. But until a biodegradable floral foam is readily available, we will continue our quest.

Hopefully this little Q&A helped out. If you have any other questions, please leave it in the comments below and I'll do my best with a great answer for you. And if you have any other thoughts and suggestions, I would love to hear them too!

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