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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

Flowers That Last

Marigolds for fall - along with pomegranates and mums.

I’m looking at an orange marigold in a bud vase – it’s on my studio shelf as I write this. It’s been there for twelve days now and it looks the same as it did the day I brought it inside, which makes it a winner in my book. I’m constantly testing flowers and taking notes, because we want our Tiny Footprint bouquets to last five to seven days. This marigold went far beyond – twelve days is a very long time for a cut flower!

In this post I've mad a list of the longest-lasting blooms from our cutting garden - the flowers below stay beautiful for more than a week in the vase. Take a few notes if you want flowers that last, but keep in mind that to get these results you have to cut them in the cool morning, keep them watered, and (if possible) use flower food.

Hellebores These winter-blooming flowers aren’t well known, but they’re elegant and unusual, and they bloom at a time when there’s not much else flowering.

Campanula A spring flower that can last up to two weeks!

L to R: Red double hellebore; white single hellebore; Campanula

Snapdragons These are the workhorses of my cut flower garden. They’re not the center of attention in bouquets, and they’re not the most exciting thing we grow. But if you choose the right variety, they keep churning out blooms for months and the blooms last a week in bouquets. I grow the Chantilly series, the Madame Butterfly series, and a beautiful white variety called Royal Bride. Note that all these are grown from seed, not bought as nursery plants. In fact, I've found that nursery varieties are not quite as good for cut flowers.

Clarkia The best variety is Elegant Salmon; seed is available from Johnny's Seeds. These flowers last ten days to two weeks. Not that this is NOT the same as large single-flowered Godetia.

L to R: Snapdragons on my worktable; bouquet with pink Chantilly snapdragons; Clarkia

Marigold Marigolds easily last ten days or more. My favorite varieties are Coco Gold and Giant Orange.

Zinnia These usually last seven days, and hold their bright color, but results will vary with the specific variety. For example, the Oklahoma series last longer than Profusion zinnias.

Rudbeckia These can give marigolds a run for their money – I’ve had some go two weeks without a hint of wilt. They're also known as Black-Eyed Susan.

Chrysanthemum These fall flowers last a week easily, and many varieties go longer. There are many varieties, with different sizes and flower forms. More info and photos of these here and here.

Top row, L to R: Coco Gold marigolds; mix of small Oklahoma zinnias and Benary's Giant zinnias; State Fair zinnias.

Bottom row, L to R: Rudbeckia hirta; chrysanthemums Apricot Alexis and Seaton's Ruby; chrysanthemums Jefferson Park, Seaton's Je'Dore and small-flowered Peter Magnus.

These are flowers that I grow in my garden in Northern California, but I could add a few others that I’ve seen. I once attended a beach wedding in Molokai, Hawaii, and the décor included torch ginger flowers that were stuck into the sand, not in a vase with water. I was told that they can last that way for many days, but I didn’t stick around to find out. Orchids are another long-lasting flower type. Of course, there are more typed of orchids than snails in my garden, but Cymbidium and Phalaenopsis are two big categories that can live in a vase for a long time.

If you know of other flowers that last and last - add a note in the Comments section below.

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