Not to be confused with amphibians that lounge on lily pads and leap impressive distances,
floral frogs are flower stem holders that keep displays of flora and branches securely
and firmly in place. These functional frogs have been around for hundreds of years and
come in many sizes and designs, from mushroom-shaped and cone-shaped to oval, flat, or
elaborately decorated with animal and fish motifs. They’re crafted in diverse materials
like polished metal, stone, glass, and ceramic. And they’re highly collectible, especially
designs produced in the 20’s and 30’s when frogs were at their fashionable peak.
Frogs Leap Into View
Frogs first leapt into view during the 16th century in Paris, but it wasn’t until 1875 that
a frog patent was issued in the United States for a mushroom-shaped version that could
hold flowers or condiments. How did frogs get their name? While it’s something of a
mystery, Bonnie Bull, the editor of the Flower Frog Gazette, speculates it’s because
floral frogs sit low in a dish or vase and resemble frogs standing in the water. It
could also be that early versions featured figurines of actual frogs.
Through the centuries frogs have spawned countless styles. Certain species, such as the
Japanese kenzan, are utilitarian metal devices that fit into a vase or bowl and fix the
stems by metal needles. Other versions fuse the practical with the beautiful and are more
akin to pieces of functional sculpture.
FROGS VS. FOAM
Frogs are great for the environment, an eco-safe and reusable option
to traditional single-use floral foam. These green blocks of foam
are made from a toxic, non-biodegradable substance that contains
formaldehyde as well as other carcinogens. The vast majority of florists who use foam
are disposing of it down the sink, according to a recent survey by the Sustainable
Floristry Network. But floral foam doesn’t break down in the oceans and can be
ingested by a range of freshwater and marine animals. This affects their health
and subsequently ours.
Clockwise from foreground: Oval stone frog; terra cotta frog vase; metal frogs in
3 sizes; brass frog with 3 openings on top of Ikebana vase; stone frog;
brass frog with multiple openings on top of small Kado vase.
AN IKEBANA PRACTITIONER’S BEST FRIEND
Frogs provide stability and precision to Ikebana displays. Add a stone version to the
bottom of a large glass vessel or a low open centerpiece bowl and give weight
to the display. Place a brass version on top of a vase or simple Mason jar and
fit flowers and branches of different sizes through strategically placed holes.
Or choose our terra cotta frog vase as a stand-alone option that contains its own
water for fresh stems.
As simple as they are beautiful, frogs are also endlessly flexible. You can use a
metal frog with a single large opening to help propagate your favorite cutting
or to force a bulb or branch to bloom. And when you’re not using them, you can
display your stone frogs with dried flowers under a glass cloche, in a vignette, or
on a shelf or table as objects of curiosity.
Clockwise from above: Terra cotta frog vase; brass frog
with single opening (on top of a Mason jar) for forcing a bulb or branch; oval
stone frog under recycled glass cloche.
Above: Terra cotta frog vase. Below: Brass frog with single opening (on top of a Mason jar) for
forcing a bulb or branch; oval stone frog under recycled glass cloche.