This tried-and-true florist tool helps floppy stems stand tall.

By Grace Haynes

Before the days of floral foam, florists relied on an alternate device for arranging droopy stems: flower frogs. Designed with holes or spikes, this compact tool helps stalks stand up straight instead of flop. Set in the bottom of a container, flower frogs act as a sturdy base for fixing blooms in place in an arrangement. Their design gives flowers an easy access to water so the arrangement can stay hydrated and healthy for longer.   

Flower frogs, also called "kenzan," originated from ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. "Translated literally, kenzan means 'sword mountain,' a reflection of its unique, spiky appearance," says the London Flower School. What makes kenzan such a reliable base for arrangements? "It naturally opens the stems of flowers, allowing them to take in more water and last longer, it is reusable, and relatively easy to clean and repair, and it is refreshingly low cost," explains florist Constance Spry for the London Flower School.

White Flower Display Using China and Floral Frogs
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Kathleen Varner

Find flower frogs in an assortment of shapes and styles. Utilitarian flower frogs, like the ones described above, resemble metal pincushions with dozens of spiky needles for securing stems. These simple, affordable models can be found at most craft stores. Other flower frogs can be made of ceramic or glass. These styles have a similar pincushion shape but, instead of spikes, have several holes on top for placing stems. Vintage ceramic or glass versions can be found in bright colors or whimsical shapes like frogs or fish (search for them on Etsy or eBay). You may want to display more decorative styles on their own.

Instead of floral foam, try using a flower frog in your next arrangement. Secure flower frogs to the bottom of the container with floral tape or adhesive. In the photo shown above, Birmingham florist Kathleen Varner created a grouping of individual arrangements by setting flower frogs in mismatched teacups and bowls. Below, Kelly Revels and Bryce Vann Brock—the duo behind St. Simons Island, Georgia's The Vine—set a festive Fourth of July table with an antique collection of colorful flower frogs.

4th of July Party Flower Arrangement with Red and White Flowers
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

You can find flower frogs at local craft or garden shops, or browse a few of our favorites: