Although not yet available everywhere, the OshunPouch demonstrates great potential as a floral foam substitute – practically, economically, and environmentally.
The OshunPouch is potentially the most promising floral foam alternative to date.
Developed by a team in the US headed by florist Kirsten VanDijk, the pouch has appeared with a completely novel design and approach as a base medium for floral design.
Instead of trying to recreate a block, the designers have instead opted for a pouch that expands when pierced and immersed in water.
The OshunPouch is especially exciting because it is the first product to tick the big boxes from an environmental perspective: it is made from renewable materials, will be certified home compostable and it meets circular economy objectives.
Most importantly, the OshunPouch is made from renewable materials and is home-compostable
The whole product is plant-based. The external membrane is made from a plant-based material and the filling is coconut coir mixed with a plant-based gelling agent to absorb water.
The external membrane is certified home compostable according to European TUV standards and the creators are in the process of having the coir mix certified too.
Kirsten explains that the product has been developed for two main applications: on-the-day event work and funerals.
Before use, the bags must be pierced on both sides 10-12 times with a small wooden skewer or a toothpick. Then the pouch is then immersed in water to hydrate, during which time the bag filling crackle-and-pops as the contents expand with water. This process takes around five minutes. Once the pouch expands, it holds nearly 1.5 litres of water.
We tested the OshunPouch in autumn and used a variety of flowers to test out the pouch’s properties. They included:
The process of inserting stems and having them stay put in the OshunPouch is impressive. Not only do the stems insert cleanly and can be removed and repositioned without loss of the pouch’s holding power, but the whole experience has an organic softness that makes the process of arranging incredibly enjoyable at the same time.
Once inserted, the stems stay firmly put. Not a stem moved or shifted and even when the pouch was removed from the bowl, and everything stayed in place when the pouch was deliberately flexed.
As a base for casket designs, it has huge promise.
To really put it to the test, a test arrangement of sunflowers was re-used for a succulent arrangement and without an issue, the old pouch supported the second arrangement without a single stem going astray.
Where the pouch did not match plastic floral foam was in hydration. For the tough, late summer foliage, there wasn’t a problem. Forty-eight hours later, the open, thick-stemmed sunflowers, golden rod, dahlia, hydrangea and the thicker stemmed roses were fine. But the matricaria, soft garden roses (no surprise here), snowberry and softer foliage didn’t hold up as well. However, given the heat we experienced during the test, there is every chance the same, sensitive varieties would have experienced a similar outcome in traditional foam.
The Oshun Pouch offers a practical, eco-friendly alternative to floral foam. It supports circular economy objectives as it is made from renewable materials and can be safely added to composting streams.
It is a very promising alternative for casket decorations as the product can safely be laid to rest with the casket if a burial is taking place. Likewise, for on-the-day event work (e.g. arbour decorations, installations) it offers the same base support as foam for arranging.
At around $5 USD per pouch (ex-shipping), it is also economically viable when compared to existing products, their functionality and applications.
For more information, see New Age Florals.New Age Floral