Monday, February 16, 2015

What plants do you recommend for cut flowers?

Dahlias and gladiolus in a cutting garden

Q. What plants do you recommend growing for cut flowers? I need something easy to grow, and I want to plant in spring.

A. Depending on your climate zone, try the following bulbs and perennials are recommended for cut flowers:

Anenomes - A. coronaria De Caen and St. Brigid are best.

Caladiums - While they're not grown for flowers, the long-lasting foliage works well in some arrangements.

Callas - These belong to the genus Zantedeschia. The waxy-looking, long-lasting flowers are very elegant.

Dahlias - Dahlias dominate. For inspiration, visit a nearby dahlia society show. They are usually held in September.

Gladiolus - Plant them after danger of frost is past. For a longer season, plant a few corms each week for several weeks.

Ixia - Sometimes called corn lilies, they are excellent for exhuberant country-style arrangements.

Liatris - They are available in blue shades to white, and have a feathery appearance.

Lilies - I'm referring to true lilies in the genus Lilium. There are lots of plants called "lilies", but not all are. For my money, the longer stemmed varieties are the best. The short-stemmed lilies are great for container growing.

Polianthes - The familiar tuberose lends a sumptuous fragrance to elegant arrangements.

Ranunculus - Ranunculus are exceptional in cut flower arrangements.

Many perennials are noteworthy for cutting, including the following:

Achillea - Commonly called Yarrow, the long-stemmed varieties are excellent for fresh and dried arrangements.

Convallaria or Lily-of-the-Valley - Just a few in a small vase are perfect for an intimate table setting.

Coreopsis - The long-stemmed varieties are best.

Daisies - Look for Leucanthemum.

Echinacea - Cone flowers are fine for fresh arrangements, but it doesn't end there. The dried seed heads sans petals are perfect for drying.

Ferns - While there are several species of ferns that will do, evergreen Polystichum acrosticoides - Christmas fern - provides the greenery you need all year long.

Iris - The best include Dutch hybrids (available in the fall as corms) and perennial Siberian iris. I wish the flowers lasted longer.

Kniphofia - These are stunning. You can use the flowers and foliage.

Rudbeckia - Black-eye Susans are excellent.

Scabiosa - Better known as Pincushion flower, plant them in your butterfly garden, too.

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