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  • Julia Watson

Top Ten Flowers for Cutting

You may not be running a cut flower farm, but you probably want to bring in a few blooms to show off in your home. Now that I have a year of growing flowers to sell, I made my own top ten list. To get on this list, a flower has to be beautiful and last well in the vase, but that’s not all. It also has to be productive and easy to grow. So here they are, my star performers, listed in roughly the order the bloom.


1. Daffodils

2. Anemone

3. Ranunculus

4. Sweet peas

5. Roses

6. Snapdragons

7. Strawflower

8. Zinnia

9. Tithonia

10. Chrysanthemum



Examples of my Top Ten Flowers for Cutting, in the same seasonal order as the list above.


You might notice some things I left off of the list, for example tulips, dahlias, poppies and cosmos. Tulips are not productive enough – one bloom and they’re done. Dahlias are too complicated to make the list, even though they’re beautiful. Poppies are easy but don’t last in the vase. Cosmos are almost on the list because you can’t beat them for an easy to grow annual, and they look wonderful in your garden. But in the vase they’re only adequate, not outstanding, and that means they’re not good enough for this list. I admit that roses and chrysanthemums are not as easy to grow as the rest of the list, but if you choose the right varieties (and I’ll post about that later) you’ll agree with my assessment.


There are some flowers that are productive and easy to grow but I consider them fillers. They’re the back-ups vocals in a bouquet, not the lead singers. You definitely need them if you’re making bouquets from your garden, so plant some of the things on the following list. The first two are evergreen shrubs that most landscapers would recommend; if you don’t have something similar already you should consider planting these. They last more than a week in the vase, giving the bouquet structure. The last four on the list are annuals that grow well from seed.


1. Myrtle

2. Boxwood

3. Tanacetum

4. Statice

5. Celosia

6. Ageratum


A mixed bouquet with Celosia, Tanacetum and Myrtle

My top ten flowers come in a range of colors, so you have lots of choices. I consider the colors in my home when I choose varieties—why not have beautiful fresh flowers that coordinate with your new dining room chairs or the new painting in your living room? I once grew a tulip called ‘Akebono’ only because it matched my duvet cover. But of course this can work in reverse, too. If you grow a ‘Just Joey’ rose—one of most beautiful and fragrant of all modern roses—then why not add some apricot colored pillows to the room where you display its blooms? What the heck—I give you permission to go buy matching dishes if you like!


Tulip 'Akebono'

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