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Plant Flowers for Cutting

by Don Janssen, Extension Educator

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A continuous source of cut flowers for brightening your home interior can be as close as your garden. A wide range of bulbs, annuals and perennials -- from asters, carnations and daisies to sunflowers, peonies, gladiolus and zinnias -- make good cut flowers.

Some gardeners plant flowers for cutting in rows in a dedicated cutting garden. Others incorporate flowers suitable for cutting in their annual and perennial beds. Careful cutting preserves the beauty of the garden while providing flowers to take indoors, too.

Perennials such as asters, achillea (yarrow), daisies, carnations, columbines, coneflowers, heliopsis, hybrid and Oriental lilies, peonies and chrysanthemums, and spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips make excellent cut flowers. Favorite annuals for cutting include marigolds, zinnias, celosia, lisianthus, cosmos, salvia, snapdragons, statice and sunflowers. Summer bulbs such as gladiolus, callas and dahlias have to be planted in spring and lifted and stored in the fall, but their fans think their contributions to arrangements are worth the effort.

For filling out bouquets and arrangement, consider planting annual and perennial ornamental grasses and ferns, artemisia and baby's-breath. Perennials and annuals will produce flowers for cutting quicker if they're planted in spring as transplants.

Perennials grown from seed will probably not flower until the next year. Annuals, of course, flower the same year. Many will bloom for weeks if they're seeded in the garden after the danger of frost; others need to be started from seed indoors or purchased as transplants.

With spring and early summer-flowering perennials and bulbs, summer bulbs, fall-blooming perennials and some well-chosen, quick-to-flower annuals, you should have fresh flowers continually from spring until hard frost.

(This resource was updated March 2003 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office