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Top Choices for Cut Flowers

Choosing Flowers for Your Cutting Garden - Annuals

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Nigella Flower

Nigella Flower

Marie Iannotti

There are any number of excellent plant choices for use as cut flowers. Although many perennial flowers do wonderfully well as cut flowers, but you may be sacrificing the only flowers the plants will produce that season. So repeat blooming annuals are often favored for cutting gardens, because you will get a longer season bloom. It’s a personal choice.

Generally speaking, what makes for a good cut flower is a stem that is long enough and sturdy enough to hold the flower in an arrangement and a flower that lasts and looks good for several days. Flowers like daylilies, that bloom for only one day, and Impatiens, with insignificant stems, would not be great choices for cut flowers.

In the end, the choice of cut flowers comes down to what the gardener likes. Cosmos bloom profusely in many colors and are on everyone’s list of great cut flowers. But if you lean toward dense clusters like Bells of Ireland or Lupines, or exotic, tropical colors like Celosia, there’s a flower for you too.


Annual Flowers Suitable for Use as Cut Flowers

  • Ageratum (Floss Flower) Tight clusters of purple / blue flowers. Low grower.
  • Amaranthus caudatus (Love Lies Bleeding) Hanging ropes of magenta blossoms with the texture of chenille.
  • Amaranthus hybrids * Spiky blooms in shades from bronze to red.
  • Ammi majus (Bishop's Flower, False Queen Anne’s Lace, White Dill) The names sum it up.
  • Anemone (Anemone sylvestris) Delicate white cups with yellow centers.
  • Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis)* Green, bell shaped flowers line tall spikes.
  • Blue Lace Flower (Trachymene coerulea) A smaller, blue version of Queen Anne’s Lace.
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Daisy like flowers in hot hues of orange an yellow.
  • Callistephus chinesis (China Aster) Spidery pom-poms in assorted colors.
  • Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) Panicles of small, fluffy red flowers are followed by reddish-brow seed pods.
  • Celosia, cristata (Cockscomb)* Cauliflower shaped flower heads in brilliant colors.
  • Celosia, plumosa (Feather)* Plumes in similar shades to C. Cristata.
  • Celosia, spicata (Wheat)* Fluffy flower spikes.
  • Centaurea (Bachelors' Button) Periwinkle blue daisy-like flowers
  • Cleome (Spider Flower) Gangly plants with spidery explosions of flower buds in pink, purple and white.
  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) Profuse bloomer in a wide assortment of colors and flower shapes.
  • Dill Flat umbels of yellow flowers.
  • Drumstick Flower (Craspedia globosa)* One-inch yellow globes on tall, stiff stems.
  • Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis sylvatica) Profuse bloomer in a rare true blue
  • Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth)* Small clover-like globe shaped flowers in many colors, on long stems.
  • Helichrysum (Strawflower) Papery daisy-like flowers in autumn colors
  • Heliotrope Dense purple flower heads with a light, vanilla scent.
  • Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate (Polygonum orientale) Long, drooping, reddish flower spikes.
  • Larkspur (Consolida ambigua)* Considered an ‘annual delphinium’, with similar flower spikes and colors.
  • Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) Flowers could easily be mistaken for a rose, in white, pinks and deep purples.
  • Marigold (Tagetes erecta) Pom-poms held on tall stems, in shades from soft yellow to deep gold.
  • Nigella damascena (Love In A Mist)* Balloon shaped buds and star-shaped blooms are cloaked in delicate netting. Blue, pinks, purple and white.
  • Reseda Odorata (Mignonette) The spikes cream-colored flowers aren’t showy, but they are heavily scented and wonderful in arrangements.
  • Salpiglossis (Painted Tongue) Soft, velvety trumpet-shaped flowers in a range of colors.
  • Salvia coccinea (Lady in Red) Spikes of tubular, scarlet red flowers
  • Salvia farinacea Thin, but sturdy spikes of delicate flowers in shades of blue and white
  • Statice (Limonium sinuatum)* Sprays of dense, tiny pastel blossoms on very sturdy stems.
  • Strawflower (Bracteantha bracteata)* Another daisy-like flower from the Astor family, but these have a dry, papery feel even when fresh. Comes in colors fro pastels to hots.
  • Stock (Matthiola) Dense flower spikes with a spicy scent. Comes in pastels and jewel tones.
  • Sunflower * Short or giant, sunflowers make long lasting cut flowers.
  • Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua)* Grown for its fern-like, dark green foliage. Also has delicate, sweet scented white blooms.
  • Sweet Pea Old fashioned, tall growing sweet peas have pea like blossoms and deceptively strong stems and come in a wide variety of colors and spicy scents.
  • Verbena bonariensis Small clusters of purple flowers top long (4') stems that waft in the breeze and intermingle with other plants.
  • Zinnia elegans Pom-poms with dense petals and contrasting centers. Profuse bloomer.

* Also good for drying.

Perenial Flowers that Make Good Cut Flowers

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