FAVORITE CUT FLOWERS FOR SHADE GARDENS
Looking to grow your own cutting garden? Whether you’re a professional floral designer looking to add some unique options to special bridal bouquets or a home gardener who loves to bring a garden-fresh bouquet in to grace your kitchen table, growing flowers for cutting is a true joy. Swallowtail Garden Seeds carries a wide variety of seeds that will produce excellent cut flowers, and here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Many gardeners plant their gardens for color and visual interest, but what about design style? Here is a selection of plants that provide fantastic cut flowers in four different aesthetics: a wildflower look, a traditional floral design look, a fresh-from-the-garden look, and an unusual look.
This is currently a very popular design style for weddings. Many couples have gone away from traditional wedding flowers such as roses or lilies and are asking for a wild, unstructured aesthetic for the floral art created for their weddings. If you’re also a fan of the natural and unstructured, you know that many true wildflowers don’t make good cut flowers, as they have not been bred for cutting or vase tolerance. If you’re looking for a wildflower cutting garden, here are some flower types to plant to add to that wild, natural feel indoors and out.
Cosmos are a longtime favorite of home gardeners, and many cosmos require low effort for high reward. Cosmos can be tall or short, bloom through a long season, and range in color from white to cream to bright yellows and oranges, and in pinks and purples to deep wine color.
A traditional cosmos has a very simple bloom with a cheery yellow center, but there are many varieties that have a more unusual look – picotee edges or striping, ruffled doubled petals. All are beautiful, and add something a little on the wild side to your garden or arrangement.
Beautiful, ethereal, and light-as-a-feather, lace flower is the non-invasive and hardier-when-cut iteration of Queen Anne’s Lace. Valued for both its feather-light white spray of tiny blooms and its lacy, fernlike foliage, lace flower brings that wild, gathered-from-the-meadows feel to a garden bed or a cut arrangement.
Lace flower is tall, easy to grow, and attracts beneficial insects to your garden. It works very well in fresh-cut or dried arrangements.
A showy flower with spikes in shades of white rose pink, or purple, veronica is an excellent perennial for your wildflower cutting garden. Cut veronica is long-lasting, and many varieties will bloom multiple times in a year if blooms are cut.
Each bloom is 1-3 inches in height atop a stem anywhere from 12-30 inches, depending on variety, and adds dimensionality and movement to a cut arrangement. Veronica is both deer- and rabbit resistant and attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Love-in-a-mist, also known as nigella, grows in shades of white to burgundy, pink, purple, true aqua blue, and dark violet-blue. It features light, feathery foliage and blooms beautifully, followed by an unusually-shaped pod streaked in green and dark maroon that adds visual interest to cut or dried arrangements.
Love-in-a-mist is hardy, prefers cooler weather, and blooms quickly once established. It is also a deer-resistant plant.
Yarrow has been used for a variety of purposes around the world and for much of human history for medicinal and agricultural purposes. Yarrow produces flat bunches of tiny flowers in shades of white and cream, bright yellow, pinks, peaches, and oranges to deep reds and purples.
Yarrow can grow in coastal climates, and salty soils, and tolerates both heat and drought. Attractive to butterflies and beneficial insects, yarrow is also resistant to deer and rabbits. Flowers grow on long stalks and blend beautifully into cut fresh or dried arrangements.
Traditional Floral Look
If, on the other hand, you love the look of a well-structured bloom or traditional design, you can still add some interest and unusual color or texture to your grocery store bouquet. These varieties are tried and true cut flowers, delighting generations of gardeners and couples alike. Why not try some traditional cut flowers with a bit of a homegrown twist?
Flowers in the dianthus family are also known as pinks, sweet William, and carnations. Dianthus in general make excellent cut flowers, and many carnation varieties have a beautiful spicy fragrance in addition to an extraordinarily long vase life.
Dianthus are in large part easy to grow and come in a very wide variety of colors and textures. Add some garden-grown dianthus to your table décor, make yourself a boutonniere, or add some old-fashioned fragrance to your scent-free grocery store mix.
Graceful and elegant, lisianthus resembles a softer version of a rose. Also known as eustoma, lisianthus grows natively in warm areas of the Americas. They come in all shades of white, pink, purple, and even peach and butter yellow. The echo blue variety has greenish-white buds that slowly turn to deep royal purple. Lisianthus makes excellent cut flowers and can last for up to two weeks in a vase if cared for properly.
In traditional Victorian floriography, lisianthus means “appreciation.” Try growing lisianthus in your cutting garden next season!
Poppies are some of the garden’s most spectacular show-offs, and luckily many varieties of poppy work just as well cut as on the plant. Poppies can vary from simple to complex, come in sizes from smallish to huge, and can resemble peonies or carnations. The pods of many poppies are also excellent additions to cut arrangements.
Depending on the variety, poppies have dark or yellow centers and can come in colors ranging from white/cream/peach/yellow/orange and pink/red/dark purple families. Consider planting poppies to add show-stopping color, size, and texture to your garden and your table. Peony Poppies, Breadseed Poppies, and Shirley Poppies are all great additions to a cutting garden.
Underappreciated and lovely, the stock’s unattractive name belies a beautiful line flower with an amazingly spicy fragrance. Stock, known as gillyflower in the UK, makes an excellent fragrant addition to a cut arrangement and comes in shades of white, cream, apricot, pink, magenta, and purple. Stock grows best in cooler climates, attracts butterflies and bees, and is deer resistant.