A fresh flower arrangement can brighten anyone's day. Picture a cheerful bouquet of miniature sunflowers or spicy sweet peas on the breakfast table, a vase full of lilacs or roses on the dining room table or a few tulips placed on the mantle. Using tools of the trade to arrange any of these flowers makes you more effective and makes the arranging task easier.
Special stem cutters or sharp clippers are the one essential tool that you can't be without. It would be easy to use a pair of scissors for tender stems of sweet peas or cosmos, but for thicker stems of roses or rhododendrons, sharp clippers allow you to cut through the stem with just one snip. A clean cut allows the stem to absorb water more thoroughly and will keep the bouquet fresh for longer.
Flower arrangers need a tool for propping up stems in a vase with a large mouth. Utilitarian holders include florist foam or clay, the branches from the flowers that are being arranged or even rubber ponytail holders or elastic bands, which "County Living" florist Michael George recommends placing at the waterline. If the bouquet is dense and will cover the top of the vase, criss-cross florist tape across the top of the vase. Decorative holders are useful for clear glass vases, as they add an interesting visual appeal; use marbles, pebbles or sea glass for this purpose. Florist frogs have been a tool of choice in many countries over many years. These small holders, typically made from metal and shaped a bit like an oval or round frog's back, have fork-like prongs to stick stems into. Bonnie Bull, editor of "The Flower Frog Gazette" suggests that frogs are so named because they rest in water like a frog.
Floral designers use a number of specialty tools and tricks when arranging flowers. The "Country Living" website highlights some of those tips from designers at the Flower School New York, including using a spray of Pam to seal flower pores so they don't dry out and using a few drops of bleach in the water to prevent bacteria from growing. Master gardeners from Santa Clara County in California recommend on their website that products containing sugar and acid, like soda, also help the flowers last and reduce bacteria growth. They recommend one part of lemon-lime soda with three parts of water.