Collecting Vintage Flower Frogs

our garden update


Flower Frogs.  Such a fun name, right? Today I’m sharing a little bit about Collecting Vintage Flower Frogs, their history and how you can use them in your home today.





A flower frog is a florist tool designed to sit in the bottom of a bowl or vase filled with water to hold flower stems in place.  A flower frog keeps a flower arrangement exactly in the shape you want.


Flower frogs are thought to date back to 14th century, when Japanese florists used them for their floral arrangements that required exact placement, Ikebana.  The origin of the name “flower frog” is a mystery, as no one has been able to figure out exactly who called them this, or when.  The best guess is that these tools were named flower frogs because they can be under water and sit still, like a frog can.  Widely popular during the 1920s and ’30s, when housewives around the world took great pride in their flower arranging skills.


The invention in the 1950’s of water absorbent foam for floral arranging, branded Oasis, put an end to the flower frog popularity and its mass production.







They come in different shapes, forms and sizes. I am just highlighting the metal ones, but there are also glass flower frogs, and flower frogs that are a pottery figural design with holes.


The metal ones are mainly divided in cage styles, pincushion styles, or a combination of both.





Cage frogs are generally made of heavy metal, although they can be made of a heavy base with thinner wire tops, or a mesh top.  Most of the cage frogs have larger openings, making them perfect for arranging thicker stemmed flowers or blooming branches. They can be round, oval or square.






I often use a cage type flower frog in the bottom of antique French ironstone tureens for my flower arrangements, such as the one below.  The flowers stay in place, right where I want them to!





citrus colored floral arrangement





These are the most practical of the type of frogs, in my opinion. They have a series of very sharp little thin spikes to stick each flower stem on or in between.  The smaller sizes are the most rare to find and are therefore the most expensive to purchase. Collectors snap up any flower frog of this type that I find in the smaller sizes of 1/2″ or less.


flower frogs collecting




There are many different types of frogs, this is one whose “back story” The hairpin flower frog was invented by Ida Sinclair. An avid flower arranger, Ida used a home made flower frog that she made with her husband out of a base and her hairpins. She won many Blue Ribbons, and when her friends suggested she patent and manufacture a hairpin flower frog, she did so in 1936.  She named her family business the Blue Ribbon Flower Holder Company, and produced the flower holders in her home state of Ohio until she sold the company in 1959.  The holder below is hers.






This unusual flower frog combines the best of both worlds…it has spikes and a cage! With its original green paint finish, it’s a rare to find delight.




collecting vintage flower frogs






Collecting flower frogs is a great way to begin or expand your collection of antique and vintage garden tools.  Not only are flower frogs visually attractive, they can be used too!  Frogs in good condition will always be worth more, as will frogs with a painted finish vs. an unfinished metal color.  Size matters too – for the pincushion types, the smaller the rarer the more expensive.  Caged frogs with the original paint finish are more desirable.


What you collect depends on what you love. Some of my clients only collect green frogs, some collect only small frogs, and others always look for larger sized frogs. It’s really just a matter of personal taste.







As far as displaying your frogs in your home or garden, there are some fun things you can use them for.  They make great holders for antique seed advertisements, or any antique postcards. One of our FrenchGardenHouse clients uses her frogs lined up on a mantel in her dining room, each one holds a photo of a family member.







Here at home, I pile my frogs on an antique metal bowl on one of our potting benches in the back garden.  Like a floral arrangement, my arrangement of different typed of flower frogs form a harmonious bouquet.







Another inspired  way to use your flower frogs is to decorate a table setting. I’ve used flower frogs to hold place cards, scriptures written out for each guest at a Bible Study luncheon.  And then, of course, should I mention again that you can also use your flower frogs for arranging flowers?  : )





Our garden antiques are being added to the website on the daily. Our sunshine is coming out most days…it’s a glorious spring! I hope you are all enjoying the beauty of this season, as we shelter in place.  I wish you a blessed week.











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17 thoughts on “Collecting Vintage Flower Frogs”

  1. Jethelyn Gregory

    How do you tell what is antique versus new? I lived in Hawaii and took Ikabana classes. I have several frogs but thought they were new. Maybe I can start a collection.

    1. Jethelyn, mostly, I think you can tell by the wear to any paint there is. Metal ones without a painted finish will be dull, not as shiny as an old one. Hope this helps!

  2. Hello Lidy,
    I am so full of regret that I didn’t appreciate my mother’s flower frogs found stashed in cupboards when I was a child. I thought of them as yukky things, not appreciating the patina that came from living their lives under water. Now of course, I would think of them as lovely and give them proper place among my special things. I have no idea if they are in demand in South Africa as collector’s pieces or vintage novelties, and so don’t know where I would begin looking, if I were wanting one (or three). <3

  3. Mary Ann

    Love this! I have been a collector for years. Nice to read about them in your lively post.

  4. My mom introduced me to flower frogs as a young child. She had a special one that she brought from Japan. She would take the simplest of flowers that we picked for her and make the most beautiful and
    “non fussy” arrangement. Today I still search for that “frog” that is somewhere in her storage abyss.
    You have the most beautiful and interesting collections and utilize them in very special ways. Have a beautiful day!

  5. Ashley Bergstrom

    I so enjoyed learning about flower frogs. Thank you for all the info. and pics.

    1. Frogs are so fun, aren’t they? It’s always a treat to find a rare one!

  6. Love Frogs and I have a few vintage ones at out LakeHouse. They are quite pretty when styled and placed together.

  7. Alice Genzlinger

    I learn something every time I visit you. The flower frogs are new to me. So unusual looking but I would love one. I have a small green glass frog. It’s not very effective but it’s so cute. My mother taught me to use chicken wire.

  8. Thanks, Lidy, for filling in the details. I have a few of the speed-style frogs (which is what my mother used). I use them to hold old pictures.

  9. Noreen

    lovely, interesting post Lidy! I remember our old Baptist church side room that was used by the lady florist who did the weekly floral arrangements. She worked full time as a floral artist at an upmarket hotel. Anyway, the windowsill of this little room always had an array of vases and flower frogs. This post of yours, suddenly brought back the memory of that little room. Did not know Oasis was developed way back in the 1950’s.

    1. What a great memory! I can see that window sill in my mind now. I bet there were some pottery vases on that sill that would fetch a pretty penny these days, too! 
      Wishing you a beautiful Monday!xo Lidy

  10. Leighann

    I was using a metal detecter and found a flower frog in my back yard today! It’s pretty heavy, green (the bottom is black so I’m wondering if it’s made from cast iron), and says Stem Crip 17. I can’t find much about Stem Crip but do you think the 17 would mean it’s from 1917?

  11. Where are some places around the Dallas Fort Worth area in Texas I might run across one?

  12. Dale Szczech

    I have been collecting these adorable floral frogs for years. You would be surprised how I had to dig through old barns and estate and garage sales. Some were a little costly and some so inexpensive and not regretted the seek and ye shall find. Never have I come across colored glass ones though. That will be on my bucket list. Reading your knowledge of how to display them was spot on and I am so glad that other collectors find these as appealing as myself. So thank you Lidy.

    1. Such a fun collection, Dale! I wouldn’t be surprised at all….it’s always so great finding that one treasure in a box hiding at the bottom right?

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