Why Frogs for Flower Arrangements Are Called Frogs

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Why Frogs for Flower Arrangements Are Called Frogs
Why Frogs for Flower Arrangements Are Called Frogs (Image: Jill M. Nicolaus:Dave's Garden.com)

Floral frogs are flower holders, flower bricks and flower blocks. They keep flowers in very precise places and are often used in Japanese flower arranging. So why are they called floral frogs? Although "frog" as a name for a flower stem holder appears in the Random House Dictionary, the origin of the word is not given. According to Bonnie Bull in the Flower Frog Gazette, "Best guess: The metal holders sit in water like a frog."

The History of Floral Frogs

One similarity between regular frogs and floral frogs is that they have both been around a long time. Floral frogs can be traced back to the16th century in Europe. In the U.S. the oldest known patent for such a frog was issued in 1875. S. Van Stone created it as a cone-shaped flower holder or stand. In 1893 Andrew Stone created and patented a mushroom-shaped frog that could hold flowers or condiments. Most well-known American pottery and glass makers have manufactured frogs. By the 1920s and '30s, floral versions had become very popular in America.

Floral Frogs Like the Water

As the Flower Frog Gazette pointed out, floral frogs, like live frogs, sit in the water. But they do well out of the water too. A floral frog can be placed down in the water deep in a vase to keep the flower stems in the preferred position of the design. Other floral frogs are designed to contain the water. And still others sit directly in the bottom of a low container with water going only high enough to keep the flowers moist.

The "frog" sits at the bottom of the dish.
The "frog" sits at the bottom of the dish.

Floral Frogs Are Good with Plants

Like regular frogs, floral frogs are a natural with flowers and plants. They provide a way for the plant to draw water yet keep the stems anchored perfectly. Floral foam is also used for this purpose, but it hinders the natural look of the arrangement unless it is disguised. The floral frog can sit low in a dish and never be seen, or be in the form of a figurine that is designed to be seen. These are called figural frogs, and sometimes the figurine really is a frog.

Advantage of Floral Frogs

Japanese-style flower arranging, or Ikebana, tries to achieve simplicity in a proportion and design that pleases the eye. The floral frog is well suited for this asymmetrical arrangement because each stem can be placed in precise relationship to the other components.The arrangement can achieve varying heights. The frog's lead base is heavy enough to balance the flowers' weight so they won't fall over. With the right floral frog, you can turn almost any container or dish into a vase or holder.

Types of Floral Frogs

The working parts of the frog are the little spines that stick up so that flower stems can be placed between them. Beyond that, there are many different types of frog species. In the picture with the frog figurines, notice discs staggered on top of each other, each with spines. In the picture of tulips, the frog is flat and sits at the bottom of a flat dish. In this picture, the frog itself contains the water. Mushroom shaped, cone shaped, circular and rectangular, floral frogs come in many varieties.

Another species of floral frog holds water.
Another species of floral frog holds water.

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