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Cut Flower Seeds




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."
~Joseph Joubert

Here's a list of our best cut flowers from seed.

Annual Flowers for Cutting

Alyssum 'Carpet of Snow' -- Masses of tiny, white flowers. Makes a good filler. Easy to grow from seed. Also see Alyssum 'Royal Carpet'.

Amaranth 'Love Lies Bleeding' -- Long, drooping strands of burgundy-red flowers. Easy to grow from seed. For more amaranth, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Aster 'Powderpuff Mix' -- Fully double flowers in a wide range of cool colors.

Bupleurum 'Green Gold' -- Blue-green leaves and yellow-green flowers. Makes a great filler.

Calendula 'Pink Surprise' -- Soft apricot-yellow, double flowers with a pink tint. Easy to grow from seed. For more calendulas, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Centaurea cyanus 'Polka Dot Mix' -- Cornflower. Pink, white, burgundy, blue and lavender flowers. Easy to grow from seed. Also see Centaurea 'Blue Boy'.

Clarkia elegans -- Native wildflower with fluffy flowers on tall stems. Blooms in pink, rose, salmon, white and purple. Easy to grow from seed.

Cleome hassleriana Mix -- Long stems with violet, rose or white flowers for cutting. For individual colors, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Coreopsis basalis -- Native wildflower. Bright yellow, daisy-like flowers with maroon centers.

Coreopsis tinctoria -- Native wildflower with golden-yellow and mahogany-red flowers. Easy to grow from seed. Self sows. Also see Coreopsis 'Dwarf Red'.

Cosmidium 'Brunette' -- Gold-rimmed, mahogany flowers with delicate foliage. Native wildflower. Easy to grow from seed.

Cosmos 'Double Click' -- Large, double flowers in pink, white and crimson. For more cosmos, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Cynoglossum amabile (Chinese Forget-Me-Not) -- Indigo-blue flowers for cutting. Makes a beautiful filler.

Emilia 'Scarlet Magic' -- Tufts of scarlet-red petals on graceful, thin stems.

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.

Lavatera trimestris (Rose Mallow) -- Large, cup-shaped flowers in pink, rose and white. Easy to grow from seed. For more lavatera, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Linaria maroccana (Toadflax) -- Tiny, snapdragon-like flowers in a variety of colors and bicolors. Also see Linaria reticulata 'Flamenco'.

Marigold 'Crackerjack' -- Large, double flowers in shades of orange, gold and lemon yellow. For more marigolds, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Nigella damascena 'Miss Jekyll Blue' -- Sky-blue flowers followed by ornamental seed pods. Easy-to-grow. Can be sown in succession for a long bloom season. Reseeds. For a mix of colors, see Nigella 'Miss Jekyll Mix'.

Nigella hispanica 'Curiosity' -- Violet-blue flowers with maroon centers, followed by ornamental seed pods. Nice cut flower.

Phlox drummondii -- Long-stemmed flowers with a light fragrance. Blooms in shades of pink, red, rose, magenta and white.

Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer' -- Large, golden-yellow, daisy-like flowers with brown centers. For more rudbeckia, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Scabiosa atropurpurea White -- Sweetly fragrant, pincushion-style flowers. Long bloom season. Makes an excellent cut flower.

Snapdragon 'Tetra Mixed' -- Tall spikes of flowers in a wide range of colors. Easy to grow from seed. For more snapdragons, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Sunflower 'Autumn Beauty' -- Mix of yellow, gold, bronze-orange and burgundy flowers in late summer and fall.

Sweet Pea 'Royal Family Mix' -- Large, lightly fragrant blooms in a wide range of colors. For more sweet peas, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Tithonia 'Torch' -- Orange-red, daisy-like flowers on tall stems. Good for cutting.

Zinnia 'California Giants' -- Colorful mix of large, semi-double flowers on tall stems. Easy to grow from seed. For more zinnias, see Annual Flower Seeds.


Perennial Flowers for Cutting

Allium 'Purple Sensation' -- Vivid balls of purple flowers on tall stems. For more allium species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Aquilegia 'McKana's Giants' (Columbine) -- Large, long-spurred flowers in many colors. For more aquilegia species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Aster azureus -- Masses of small, lavender-blue flowers with yellow centers. Native perennial that blooms in the fall.

Campanula glomerata 'Superba' -- Clusters of violet-blue, bell-shaped flowers. Long-lived perennial.

Campanula latifolia 'Brantwood' -- Large, violet-blue, bell-shaped flowers.

Campanula medium (Canterbury Bells) -- Large, bell-shaped flowers in pink, purple and white. Self-sowing biennial.

Campanula persicifolia 'Telham Beauty' -- China-blue, bell-shaped flowers. Perfect for cutting. For white flowers, see Campanula persicifolia 'Alba'.

Carnation 'Chabaud Mix' -- Highly fragrant flowers. Wonderful for cutting. For more carnations, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Centranthus ruber 'Alba' (Jupiter's Beard) -- Masses of pure white flowers. Makes a great filler. Also see Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus'.

Cheiranthus allionii (Siberian Wallflower) -- Lightly fragrant, bright orange flowers in late spring. Terrific with tulips. Self-sowing biennial. Easy to grow.

Delphinium 'Blue Bird' -- Stunning, medium blue flowers on tall stems. Fabulous cut flower. For more delphinium, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Dianthus barbatus Mix (Sweet William) -- Pink, red and white, fragrant flowers for cutting. For more Dianthus barbatus, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Dianthus superbus 'Crimsonia' -- Feathery, crimson-red flowers. Fragrant.

Digitalis purpurea 'Excelsior Hybrids' (Foxglove) -- Pink, purple and white, tubular flowers on tall stems. For more digitalis, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Echinacea purpurea 'Double Decker' (Purple Coneflower) -- Reddish-mauve, double flowers. Unique. For more echinacea, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

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.

Gaillardia 'Burgundy' -- Wine-red, daisy-like flowers. Excellent cut flower.

Geum 'Blazing Sunset' -- Fully double, scarlet-red flowers. Great for cutting. For more geum, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Gypsophila pacifica (Perennial Baby's Breath) -- Pale pink flowers. Nice filler.

Hesperis matronalis 'Alba' -- Long-stemmed bunches of fragrant, white flowers in early summer. Also see Hesperis matronalis Violet.

Lavender 'Vera' -- Tall wands of fragrant, lavender-blue flowers for cutting. Also see Lavender 'Munstead'.

Liatris pycnostachya (Blazing Star) -- Tall, dense spikes of purple flowers. Great cut flower. For more liatris, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

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.

Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' -- Pale pink flowers with dark purple stripes. Pretty.

Penstemon palmeri -- Tall spikes of large, light pink flowers. Nice fragrance.

Penstemon strictus -- Stunning, violet-blue flowers. Excellent cut flower.

Penstemon tubaeflorus -- Pure white, tubular flowers on tall stems for cutting.

Platycodon grandiflorus 'Hakone Blue' (Balloon Flower) -- Deep blue, double flowers. Long-lived perennial. For more platycodon, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Shasta Daisy 'Silver Princess' -- Pure white flowers with soft yellow centers.

Tanacetum niveum 'Jackpot' (Silver Tansy) -- Masses of small, white, daisy-like flowers on a large, bushy perennial. Makes a great filler.

Verbascum phoeniceum -- Mix of long-stemmed flowers in light pink, rose pink, purple, lavender and white. Lovely cut flower. Also see Verbascum 'Violetta'.

Verbena bonariensis -- Clusters of rosy-purple flowers on tall stems. Reseeds heavily. Makes a good filler.


Related Articles

Fragrant Flowers -- The most fragrant flowers you can grow from seed.

Self-Sowing Annuals -- Flowers that come back from seed every year.

First-Year Flowering Perennials -- Get more bang for your buck.


Recommended Books

The Bold and Brilliant Garden by Sarah Raven

Color in the Garden: Planting with Color in the Contemporary Garden by Nori and Sandra Pope


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