Need Recommendation on Flowers to Grow

paloaltomarkMay 7, 2010


I'm a vegetable gardener but my seven year old daughter would like me to plant some flowers for her. I'm out of my league when it comes to ornamental gardening, and would like some recommendations on what to grow for her. Here is what I'm looking for:

- Flowers that can be cut and placed into a vase.

- Fragrant if possible.

- Will grow in full sun.

- Ever blooming if possible, or long harvest season

- Will grow in Northern California (zone 9. Warm days, cool nights)

- Prefer perennial but annual OK as well.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks much.


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Well, roses? That hits all your criteria.
On the annual side, zinnias give good bang for the buck, but no fragrance. I prefer the large flower types like "State Fair" or "California Giants".
Sweet peas give you fragrance and bouquets, but you've missed the boat on those for this season. You can sow those around Halloween in Palo Alto and you will have flowers just about now and into July.
Other flowering types I use in my vases irregardless of your criteria are heuchera and francoa (both very nice with Roses), iris (bearded or dutch), lily of the valley, alstromeria.
I'm next door in Los Altos.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:04PM
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I think its very sweet of her and a good way for her to get her green thumb.
I was thinking roses also. I think it might be too late to plant them in your area.
Maybe you can find a miniature potted one and possibly thornless.

My french lavender blooms all year and since I put it in ground 3 years ago its never stopped. But it gets big as it was a small one gallon about 6 inches wide and maybe 10 inches tall. Now its 5 feet in diameter. Bees love it also, but just honeybees and they have never bothered me when I deadhead it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:45PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I thought of lavender too. It's a perfect companion for your vegetables.

I second alstroemeria; great vase-life, but no scent. My favorite flower as a little girl was iris.

Since she's so young, it might be nice to plant some fast-growing annuals from seed so that she can see the plant development all along. I recommend sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos for this time of year. In the fall you can scatter some larkspur seed. Children like it. They also seem to love snapdragons and pansies, which can be bought in six-packs in the winter for spring bloom.

Perhaps you could let her pick out some that she likes, as long as it's possible to grow them in your area.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 1:32PM
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Some of the perennial sages would also fit the bill Gobluedjm describes with his lavender: Salvia elegans, S. microphylla, S. melissodora, S. dorisiana. I'm sure there are more species too, Buddleia and Lepechinia come to mind. Bulbs are my favorite cut flowers and they come back easily: freesia, iris, gladiolas, ixia, dichelostemma, watsonia, cannas, ginger, .... but you don't plant those now.

Annuals I'd plant now are coreopsis, cosmos, sunflower, scabiosa, stock, and centurea. Also, you can let some of your herbs or veggies bolt, many cole crops have a nice flower stalk, as do basil and cilantro.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 2:22PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

A marguerite bush would give lots of flowers for cutting. There are some pretty dbl. pinks that would have enchanted me as a young girl. No fragrance but practically year round bloom.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:22AM
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This list could be almost endless. I am blown away by flowers that grow with an exuberance. Pacific Giant Delphinium and Russell Hybrid Lupine make such a show when they send up their flower stalks, anyone would be impressed. Al

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:58AM
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HI All:

THanks so much for the suggestions. I'll check these out online and at our local garden center. Also, happy Mother's Day to all.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:40AM
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