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10 Best Flowers to Grow for Cutting

10 Best Flowers to Grow for Cutting
by Alison North Alison North

Grow your own sustainable bouquets

If you love filling your home with cut flowers but you're less keen on the expense and the environmental impact, why not try growing your own? As well as making your garden look amazing, you'll be able to cut your own fresh flowers whenever you want them. Specially bred for cutting, these ten varieties are some of our favourites - we've chosen them for their long, strong stems, bright colours, beautiful forms, fragrance and vase life.

Whichever flowers you choose, they'll be fresher and last longer than anything you can buy in the shops.

1. Dianthus

A distant - very distant - relation of the classic petrol station carnations, dianthus come in a huge range of colours, shapes and sizes. They can last longer than most cut flowers (up to 3 weeks) and are even scented. We like the ruffled varieties Scented Memories, Passion and Tickled Pink, and the variegated Gran’s Favourite.

Vase life: 2-3 weeks.

Blooming time: June to September.

Care tips: Keep cut dianthus out of direct sunlight as it can fade the flowers.

dianthus in vase

2. Chrysanthemum

Long-stemmed chrysanthemums are perfect for large vases and their large, brightly coloured blooms often outlast all the other cut flowers. Try a trio of warm Allouise Orange and Yellow with Beppie Red, or a perfectly pink combination of Beppie Purple and Rose.

Vase life: 2-4 weeks.

Blooming time: August to October.

Care tips: Remove all leaves below the water line, or they will decay and reduce the flowers’ vase life.

Chrysanthemum vase

3. Gladioli

Frequently chosen by florists for their tall, strong stems and flamboyant colours, gladioli can grow up to 1.5m tall, and will probably need supporting with stakes. They look wonderfully dramatic in tall, slim vases and bouquets - our favourite varieties are hot pink Fidelio and dark violet Purple Flora.

Vase life: 7-10 days.

Blooming time: June to October.

Care tips: The perfect time to cut is when the bottom flower on the stem has opened.


4. Eryngium

The spiky blue or silver flower heads of eryngium (sea holly) give a wonderful texture to flower arrangements, and also look good dried. Most varieties can reach a height of up to 1.5m but for a more compact version, choose Big Blue, which grows up to 75cm.

Vase life: 2 weeks.

Blooming time: July to August.

Care tips: Eryngium is drought tolerant - be careful not to overwater it.


5. Alstroemeria

Another one you’ll find in every florist’s window, growing your own can give alstroemeria - or Peruvian Lily - a vase life of up to two weeks. Compact enough to grow in pots, it comes in a huge variety of colours. (We like purple and white Inticancha Indigo.)

Vase life: 1-2 weeks.

Blooming time: June to October.

Care tips: Don’t cut, pull! Twist the stems as if you were picking rhubarb, to prevent damaging the plant.


6. Gaillardia

You’ll get dozens of bright blooms from gaillardia, which flowers non-stop from mid to late summer and doesn’t fade. It’s easy to grow and the colours - reds, oranges and yellows - can’t fail to cheer up your home. Check out Mesa Red and Mesa Yellow.

Vase life: 1-2 weeks.

Blooming time: June to August.

Care tips: Gaillardia doesn’t need much care - it will thrive in any soil without feeding (in fact if you do feed them, they’ll flop over). The one thing it does need is lots of sun.


7. Cosmos

With masses of flowers from June right through to October, cosmos is a must have for your cutting garden. The range of colours is extensive too. You won’t find cosmos in the florists, as they don’t store or travel well. The vase life doesn’t sound impressive, but bear in mind that each stem carries several flower heads, which will open one after the other and extend the stem’s flowering life to a week. The feathery foliage looks great in arrangements too.

Vase life: 4-6 days.

Blooming time: June to October.

Care tips: The more you cut, the more flowers the plant produces - this is one of the best value cut flowers you can grow.

cosmos vase

8. Dahlia

All dahlias are good for cutting, but those with longer stems such as Dinner Plate, Cactus and Pompom varieties are particularly so. Pompom dahlias also look spectacular in single stem vases. If you don’t have space in your borders, choose a dwarf variety (like Autumn Fairy) and grow them in pots.

Vase life: Up to 1 week.

Blooming time: June to October.

Care tips: Choose flowers that are open or nearly open, as dahlia buds won’t open once they’re cut.

cut dahlias

9. Delphinium

The unmistakable flowering spires of delphinium bring a touch of country house luxury to any home. They’re usually found in classic shades of blue and white, but can also come in lilac and pink. If you cut the flower stems right back to the ground after they’ve finished, you can sometimes get a second flowering in August or September.

Vase life: 1-2 weeks.

Blooming time: June to July.

Care tips: Display your delphiniums away from the fruit bowl - they are sensitive to the ethylene gas that fruit produces when it ripens.

delphinium vase

10. Phlox

The tall, sturdy stems of phlox are ideal for cutting, and the clusters of soft pastel-coloured flowers will fill your home with a fresh summer scent. For a professional touch, you can encourage even straighter stems by supporting your plants with stakes or a trellis.

Vase life: 7-10 days.

Blooming time: July to September.

Care tips: Cut when the flowers are just open. Super-upright phlox are easy to arrange and great for supporting other flowers in a vase.


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