Cut Flower Recommendations

Handout-Cut Flower & Veggie Recommendations

Download the PDF above for all my recommendations for a cut flower garden. The information is reprinted below.


Cut Flower Recommendations (In Order by Season)


  • Plant bulbs in fall
  • Cut or pull it at the “gooseneck state” when it is showing color and the neck is bent
  • Can be placed with other flower but need to change water to avoid daffodil ‘slime’


  • Plant in November as an annual
  • Pull up the bulbs so you have a longer stem for arranging and cut where the stem meets the bulb
  • Can be planted in soil-filled milk crates outside over winter

Corn Flower

  • Mostly blue, but whites, pinks, and dark almost black
  • Direct seed in fall or early spring; will reseed
  • Fizzles in heat, cut down once seeds form and it will reseed
  • Cut at the base of plant for arranging


  • Fall or spring planted; transplants recommended
  • In spring, start the seeds indoors in March to plant out in April; seeds slow to germinate
  • Cut stem at base of plant, right above branching stem just as a couple of bottom flowers have started to open
  • Long lasting cut in arrangements

Nigella (Love in a Mist)

  • Direct seed in late winter, or early spring
  • Flowers in May and June, flowers aren’t long-lasting
  • Grown for the seed pods and feathery foliage
  • Yank up entire plants when seed pods start to form and place in a vase or hang up to dry
  • Reseeds easily


  • Plant in Fall from tubers; soak first before planting
  • Plant in soil filled crates and place outside under plastic tunnels or in a cold greenhouse
  • Grows all winter, just be sure they don’t freeze
  • Blooms in early spring, cut at base for arranging
  • Long vase life of a week

Bells of Ireland

  • Direct seed in fall or late winter; seeds needs to be stratified with cold; I plant these in old milk jugs that make mini-greenhouses in mid-February
  • Flowers in May and June and has wonderful foliage
  • Long vase life and can be dried
  • Needs support
  • Cut at the base of the stems; reseeds


  • Direct seed in late winter or fall
  • Needs support
  • Long lasting in vase and dries well
  • Doesn’t like heat and excellent reseeder

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

  • Perennial that can be planted in early spring
  • Sends up foliage in early April followed by trusses of blue bell-like flowers
  • Cut at the base of the stem and use to drape over the edge of a container
  • Disappears when warm weather hits and you can plant annuals it its place

Feverfew (Matricaria)

  • Direct seed or transplant in fall or early spring
  • No support needed
  • Flowers in June, and fades with heat
  • Long lasting in vase
  • Cut when flowers are developed and open at the base
  • Great filler like baby’s breath but better 


  • Annual or perennial
  • Direct seed or transplant in fall
  • Flowers in June
  • Long lasting in vase
  • Cut at low branching stem when flowers are almost open
  • Great filler
  • Varieties suggested: Colorado Mix, Colorado Sunset


  • Direct seed or use transplants in spring
  • Flowers June until frost
  • Long lasting in vase of week+
  • Cut at base just as petals start to open
  • Suggested Varieties: ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Cherry Brandy’, ‘Cherokee Sunset’


  • Direct seed or use transplants in early spring
  • Support netting helpful and will flower June until frost
  • Long lasting in vase and dries nicely by hanging upside-down in cool dark space
  • Cut at base as soon as the yellow centers appear; flowers last for weeks in a vase

Nasturtiums (Vining and bush)

  • Direct seed outside 2 weeks before last frost or in peat pots a month before last frost
  • Scarify and soak seeds, needs dark to germinate in 7-10 days
  • Cut low at a branch to remove several stems of flowers
  • To remove for edible blossoms, cut at base of flowers
  • Trellis taller varieties

Hot Peppers (Mirasol)

  • Sow inside 6-8 weeks before last frost
  • Transplant outside when weather is warm
  • This pepper turns red very fast and the peppers are held up and outwards, so they make great cuts in arrangements
  • Cut an entire branch of peppers off and insert in flower arrangements; dries nicely

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum ‘Tulsi’)

  • Native to Southeast Asia, this leafy basil is not like the usual culinary basil
  • Start in early spring indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost and set outside when warm; the warmer the better
  • This basil grows into a shrubby mound and spikes long racemes of violet flowers; the entire plant is extremely fragrant
  • Cut branches off the base of the plant for arranging

Sweet Million Cherry Tomato

  • Start early 6-8 weeks in spring
  • Set out when warm outside
  • Train on trellis or cow fence support, tying in branches when needed
  • Harvest large trusses of tomatoes when just starting to turn red and use in arranging to drape over the container


  • Direct seed or use small transplants; watch for rabbits! Lay out prickly holly foliage to deter them
  • Single stem varieties should be planted every two weeks to have a constant supply
  • Use support!! These can get tall and heavy. I use large heavy stakes or rebar
  • Flowers start in June and continue until frost
  • Cut when the petals start to unfurl from central disk for longest vase life
  • Suggested single stem varieties: Procut series, Sun-Fill, Sunrich, Sunbright
  • Suggested branching varieties: Lemonade, Moulin Rouge, Italian White, Strawberry Blonde


  • Direct seed or transplant after frost
  • Flowers all summer until frost
  • Cut when flowers are open and the more cuts made, the more it flowers
  • Provide support
  • Long lasting in vase
  • Suggested varieties: Oklahoma, Queen Lime, Senora and Cactus Flowers, Benary’s Giant


  • Direct seed or use transplants after frost
  • Cut often for more blooms
  • Provide support and pinch when a foot tall
  • Cut for both foliage and flowers
  • Cut just as the buds swell at base of plant
  • Delicate stems can be brittle and fragile; handle with care


  • Direct seed or transplant after frost
  • Crested and feather types are great cuts
  • Heat lovers -needs full sun
  • Cut when heads are fully developed but before seeds form
  • Long vase life and dries beautifully


  • Direct seed or transplant after frost
  • Great filler (tall varieties)
  • Heat lovers, will flower until frost and can take some cold
  • Cut at the base where the plant branches
  • Suggested varieties: Blue Planet, Blue Horizon

Clary Sage (Salvia hormium)

  • Start seeds inside 8 weeks before last frost
  • Or plant transplants out 1 week before last frost
  • Start harvest when at least 8 inches high and cut the flower stalks when at least ¾ of the flowers are open
  • Dries beautifully and lasts long in a vase


  • Grown from tubers
  • Start in warm soil in full sun and don’t water until the plant sprouts
  • Pinch in July to force branching
  • Provide support – tomato cages, heavy cattle fence, or rebar
  • Cut when the flower starts to open
  • Ball varieties have the longest vase life
  • Dig up tubers in late fall and store in dark cool space for next spring


  • Grow from transplants and set out when danger of frost is over
  • Needs full sun and support
  • Pick when the flowers just start to open
  • Long vase life of a week+

Milkweed or Balloon Plant, aka Hairy Balls (Gymnocarpus physocarpus)

  • Start 6-8 weeks before last frost date
  • Set out when warm and pinch the stalk to encourage side shoots
  • Blooms for a long time in late summer and the large pods start to form soon afterwards
  • Pick the pods when fully mature (bronzing will appear on the pods)
  • Sear the ends with a propane torch or lighter to stem the white sap
  • Long lasting in arrangements and save the seed for next year

Globe Amaranth

  • Start from seed when warm or plant out transplants
  • Likes heat and full sun
  • Needs support
  • Cut at the base of the branching flower
  • Long vase life and dries beautifully
  • Suggested varieties are ‘Fireworks’, ‘Bicolor Rose’, ‘Carmine’

Book Resources

Starting & Saving Seeds by JulieThompson-Adolf

Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler

Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein

Floret Farm’s A Year In Flower by Erin Benzakein

From Seed to Boom by Eileen Powell

Martha’s Flowers by Martha Stewart with Kevin Sharkey

The Art of Flowers by Victoria


Seed/Bulb/Plant Catalogs

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Harris Seeds

Burpee Seeds

Swan Island Dahlias

Sunflower Selections

Brent & Becky’s Bulbs

West Coast Seed

Park Seeds

The Gardener’s Workshop- free videos

Botanical Interests

Renee’s Garden Seeds

Baker’s Rare Seeds

The Whole Seed Catalog

Adelman Peony Farm

Longfield Gardens

Old House Gardens

Transplants Available in Baltimore Area

Susan Iglehart’s Flowers

Valley View Farms Nursery

White House Nursery

Blooming Hill Nursery

Grier’s Nursery & Greenhouse

Thanksgiving Farm

Putnam Hill Nursery


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