VANCOUVER, Canada. For 65 years florists worldwide have relied on green floral foam to keep their arrangements together. But that’s changing.. A ‘newcomer’ is creating rave reviews in London, Rome, New York, Ottawa and other global centers among florists concerned about the planet. The game-changing ‘FloraGUPPY’ has become an overnight sensation. Schools teaching floristry in Europe and the U.S have made it a teaching module.
On the face of it, it looks like nothing more than a plastic sphere with 58 holes of various sizes. So what’s so great about the FloraGUPPY? Just that it’s a revolutionary, eco-friendly alternative to floral foam – something the industry embraced as a marvellous innovation when it was first introduced in 1954. Canada’s Ontario Gardener magazine says, “It’s a simple design whose time has come”. Austria’s leading floral magazine, Gardener and Florist is getting ready to feature it.
FloewersandCents and FloralDaily and the UK’s The Flower Patch has already featured it. The ‘Patch’ calls it, “…clever…”praises it with the headline, “Say Goodbye to Floral Foam.” Magazines and newspapers are running headlines like this one in the Times of London this past December: “Florists are Ditching Plastic Floral Foam for Eco Alternatives.”
Former Canadian investment advisor turned inventor – James Wong – says his ‘creation’ came about accidentally one day as he observed his pet dog playing with a destroyed toy ball. Growing up in a blue collar working class family, he’s always regarded floral arrangements as something special – a bit of a luxury – and since he once suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and sought perfection – getting flowers to stay in place when he changed the water was a challenge. He describes it as trying to put humpty-dumpty back together. He spent 15 years trying every product on the market including wire and rocks and says he wasted lots of money on gadgets.
Wong spent several years searching for a solution that was, easy, simple and eco-friendly. He finally came up with a ‘simple’ design, consulted with Canadian florists. had them experiment with prototypes, submitted a patent application and began a hunt to source out manufacturers. He called his patent-pending device a ‘FloraGUPPY’ because guppies are a cute tiny fish and are multi-coloured like floral arrangements.
The fact that it can be reused up to 25 times and is eco-friendly has attracted widespread interest from florists concerned over the future of the planet. Wong says, “I share their concern. I wanted to make a difference and I’m pleased to offer them something that is reusable, recyclable and eco-friendly”.
It’s a hit with eco-minded florists. Here are some of their comments on social media: “The flowers last longer than in foam…and I don’t feel guilty by using it.” “My clients are…happy that we are an Eco-friendly florist….” “… here in Italy we have started to use the GUPPY for the health of our planet.” “…hope we will see more options for environmentally conscious florists.” “Time is up!!!!!!!! We are all guilty for our planet.” “…floraguppy is the present and the future for the industry of flower!!!”
His product has caught on with florists over the globe who comment: “Clever Invention”, “Awesome”, “Game-changer”, “Best invention ever!” and the future “post-it of the floral world”. Many florists say it saves them time and money and frees them from cuts. One wrote; “No more cuts from chicken wire.” Another wrote, “ Oh God, I’ve been trying to make a round ball with chicken wire and it always ends in blood letting…”
The ‘FloraGUPPY’ is an especially big hit in the UK. It’s being used by Royal Florist Shane Connolly and other notable florists like Brigitte Girling, Sabine Darrall and Helen Chambers – one of six leading florists invited to show at the Covent Gardens during British Flowers Week, Helen used a bagful of FloraGUPPIES for her display. It was viewed by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who crowned the winner.
The game-changing ‘Guppy’ is versatile, comes as two interlocking halves, can be molded in warm water and can be used for a fresh cut, silk, paper craft and specialty plants like orchids. It will be officially launched next month at the International Floriculture Expo in Miami.
And it comes WITHOUT bandages.