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What are fire rated plants & are they required?

Flame resistant (commonly called fire retardant or fire rated) artificial plants and trees are an enigma. We get plenty of enquiries for flame resistance, but very few people can actually explain why they need them and if they can the facts usually changes their mind.

Flame resistant artificial living wall mat by fireplace

Disclaimer: Blooming Artificial has specifically chosen not to sell flame resistant artificial plants. This is because there is no legal requirement for them in the UK or the EU (we’ve checked!), they are roughly 30% more expensive than their non-FR counterparts and the name is quite misleading.

Updated March 2021: we now offer a single fire-rated product, the artificial garden mix living wall mat. This product is inherently flame resistant, is entirely plastic, and has been tested by SGS according to EN 13501-1:2007+A1:2009 achieving a class 'B' rating. Our guidance around broader fire-rated products, particularly those that include natural wood still stands.

What’s currently available?

There are currently two different types of flame resistant artificial plants and trees on the market: inherently flame resistant and surface treated.

The foliage on inherently flame resistant trees is made from materials which are chemically treated to resist ignition from a naked flame – e.g. a match or lighter. Inherently flame resistant artificial foliage is tested to BS5852. Some companies will provide a certificate for these items.

Surface treated flame resistant artificial plants have either been dipped into a flame resistant solution or sprayed.

This results in a slightly greasy surface which looks shiny and attracts dust particles – erghhh! The other drawback with surface treated plants is that they cannot be certified as there is no guarantee that the spray or solution has been applied evenly. It’s for these reasons that we don’t provide a spray-on solution either!

So inherently flame resistant trees are fireproof…

Wrong.

Buying a flame resistant artificial plant or tree does not mean your product is fireproof. Only the foliage and the stem moulding is actually flame resistant. The stem of the tree (which is normally made from natural wood) hasn’t been treated and will burn.

Also flame resistant (or fire retardant) artificial foliage does what it says on the tin – resists flames. If the foliage is exposed to constant and extreme heat it will eventually catch light or melt.

So, should you buy flame resistant (or fire retardant) artificial plants and trees?

For the majority of customers, our range of standard artificial plants, trees, flowers, and foliage is ideal. By buying non-flame resistant artificial plants you get a far greater choice at a lower price.

The exception to this is if you are buying for public buildings or commercial premises.

The exception to this is if you are buying for public buildings or commercial premises. We then recommend that you seek advice from your fire safety officer before purchasing either standard or flame resistant artificial trees.

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