Flowers for Cutting
by Diane Linsley
What are the best flowers for cutting that you can grow from seed?
For some people, the whole point of gardening is to grow cut flowers, either for their own enjoyment or for a business. In general, any flower with a long stem and a long vase life can be used. But some flowers are better for cutting than others. To start with, here are some tips for cutting flowers. Or you can scroll down for a list of annual and perennial flowers for cutting.
Extending the Vase Life of Cut Flowers
1. Cut the flowers in the early morning, using sharp, clean garden shears. Don't use scissors, which may crush the stems. Bring a plastic bucket or a pitcher of water to put the flowers in as soon as they are cut.
2. Recut the stems right before putting them in the vase. Cut at a 45 degree angle. Remove any foliage that is below the level of the water.
3. Fill the vase with lukewarm water, which is easier for flowers to absorb. It should be between 100 and 110 degrees. You can add a commercial preservative to the water, or make your own using 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon bleach, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. This recipe is from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
4. Keep flower arrangements away from fruit, which produces ethylene gas that shortens the vase life of cut flowers.
"All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so."
Here's a list of our best cut flowers from seed.
Annual Flowers for Cutting
Clarkia elegans -- Native wildflower with fluffy flowers on tall stems. Blooms in pink, rose, salmon, white and purple. Easy to grow from seed. Coreopsis basalis -- Native wildflower. Bright yellow, daisy-like flowers with maroon centers. Cosmidium 'Brunette' -- Gold-rimmed, mahogany flowers with delicate foliage. Native wildflower. Easy to grow from seed. Cynoglossum amabile (Chinese Forget-Me-Not) -- Indigo-blue flowers for cutting. Makes a beautiful filler. Gilia tricolor (Bird's Eyes) -- Native wildflower. Small, trumpet-shaped, lilac and white flowers with dark eyes. Chocolate fragrance. Easy to grow from seed. Gypsophila elegans (Baby's Breath) -- Highly popular cut flower. Makes a wonderful filler in the garden or the vase. Phlox drummondii -- Long-stemmed flowers with a light fragrance. Blooms in shades of pink, red, rose, magenta and white. Tithonia 'Torch' -- Orange-red, daisy-like flowers on tall stems. Good for cutting.
Perennial Flowers for Cutting
Aster azureus -- Masses of small, lavender-blue flowers with yellow centers. Native perennial that blooms in the fall. Campanula medium (Canterbury Bells) -- Large, bell-shaped flowers in pink, purple and white. Self-sowing biennial. Cheiranthus allionii (Siberian Wallflower) -- Lightly fragrant, bright orange flowers in late spring. Terrific with tulips. Self-sowing biennial. Easy to grow. Feverfew -- Small, white, daisy-like flowers for cutting. Makes a terrific filler. Gaillardia aristata 'Bremen' (Indian Blanket Flower) -- Native perennial wildflower. Showy, scarlet-red flowers edged in yellow. Easy to grow from seed. Lunaria annua (Honesty) -- Fragrant, purple flowers followed by ornamental seed pods. Shade-tolerant, self-sowing biennial. Lychnis chalcedonica (Maltese Cross) -- Large clusters of glowing, scarlet-red flowers on tall stems. Attracts humminbirds. Excellent cut flower. Tanacetum niveum 'Jackpot' (Silver Tansy) -- Masses of small, white, daisy-like flowers on a large, bushy perennial. Makes a great filler. Verbena bonariensis -- Clusters of rosy-purple flowers on tall stems. Reseeds heavily. Makes a good filler.
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