Your Favorite Cutflowers

tommykSeptember 1, 2009

I've tried a wide variety of annuals for cutflowers. Over the years I've come to rely on a handful that provide quality and production. Below are my favorites:

Zinnias: Benary's Giants, State Fair, Burpeeana, Giant Cactus, Calif. Giant Dbls., Giant Dbls. (there are numerous mixes worth trying including "Cut & Come Again" & Fruit Smoothies, but they are basically varieties taken from the above types.

Snapdragons: Rocket, Chantilly, Snappy, Md. Butterfly, Tall Delux, Brazilian Carnival.

Celosia: Pampus Plume, Punky Red.

Scabiosa: Ebony & Ivory, Oxford Blue, Giant Imperial Mix.

Marigold: Lemon Mum, Crackerjack, Flagstaff, Jubilee, Climax.

Aster: Standy, Opus, Unicum, Spider Chrysanthemum, Perfection, Pamplona, Seastar (aka Tiger Paws), Crego.

Rudbeckia: Cherokee Sunset, Cherry Brandy, Sputnik (aka Kevlon Star)

These are the flowers I rely on for bouquets, throw in some Dahlias, sunflowers, and a few perennials and you get outstanding bouquets.

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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Well, Tommyk, you know from a previous thread that I LOVE chinese asters. The downside to them is their short bloom time and the fact that they are a cut-and-they're-finished flower, lol. But they are very elegant and beautiful, IMO.

You've pretty much got it covered, I think.

Zinnias - Benary's Giants. Purple Prince, Uproar Rose, Zowie Yellow Flame.

Asters - most of them! Milady, Duchess, Tower, Spider Chrysanthemum, Ostrich Feather, SeaStar, and others.

Celosia - Pampas Plume, Flamingo Feather, the cristatas such as Bombay. Actually, the cristatas remind me of brains, lol, but they attract attention, so I use them.

Rudbeckias - Autumn Colors, Prairie Sun, Chim Chiminee, Irish Eyes, Cherokee Sunset, Indian Summer.

Snapdragons - are good but the last two years I've had trouble with them growing well. Have to rethink their spot in the garden.

Statice - is another one I've had a bit of a problem with the last two years, but it can be a gorgeous filler.

Marigolds - I LOVE marigolds but don't use them too often in bouqets. When I do, I like Jubilee and Gold Coin.

Amaranthus - Hot bisciuts, Autumn Palette, and I LOVE Dreadlocks, as well as Fat Spike.

And who could leave SUNFLOWERS off the list? I don't think I ever met a sunflower I didn't like, lol!

Do dahlias count as an annual...??


    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 4:14PM
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I considered Dahlias as an annual, even though it is a tender perennial.

There are very easy to grow from seed and actually I've had my best Dahlia production in years. Trying to store the tubers is tricky at best and you don't really gain a whole lot of time by replanting them. I grow the "smaller" types of Dahlias, not those dinner plate monsters that I don't think can be started from seed.

Sunflowers are becoming hugely popular. There are dozens of kinds and colors available.

My favorite is Moulin Rouge, an almost "black" sunflower that constantly grabs attention at the farmers' market.

I've tried a number of sunflowers but MR is the most popular.

I tried the Amaranth Autumn Palette and it grew very well, but did not sell well at the FM.

The "brain" types of Celosias are very beautiful, but again not a big demand at the FM (I think I need to find a better market with people who have better taste!)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 3:06PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Tommy, do you put your flowers in mixed bouquets? Or do you sell stems separately?

If you sell mixed, you can always stick a brain in here or there, lol, or some of the celosia. If the bouquet has enough other beautiful stuff, I doubt someone would not buy it because of one flower, and then maybe they will learn to love more unusual cuts.

Hard to believe, but I was never a zinnia fan until I started selling bouquets. Now I love them!


Forgot to add that I have had pretty good success with dahlias from seed. Not so great luck with overwintering the tubers though. I always grumble that I won't do it again next year but I always end up growing dahlias! They're kind of hard to resist!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 5:11PM
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My bouquets are mixed, but Zinnias are a large percentage.

I do sell single stem sunflowers and dahlias.

It all depends on your market . . . if it is large and "cultured" the single-stems may work better so people can make their own arrangements.

But most people like my ready-made bouquets and the price is right.

If I lived in a large town/city where people are usually better off financially, I would certainly up the production of flowers . . . ready-made bouquets and single stems, especially the large-flowering varieties of Zinnias, Dahlias, Sunflowers, Rubbeckias, etc. and raise the prices.

It's all about your market.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 9:07AM
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Just to keep the record straight. All new varieties of dahlias come from seed -- tiny mignon singles to giant "dinnerplate" types. I suppose the seed that is offered in packs comes from plants that are grown in an environment that pretty well guarantees they can get what they are offering. That is very hard to do with the large, double flowered varieties. The only way you can guarantee what you are going to get from those is from tubers or cuttings.

Do any of you grow delphiniums to sell as cut flowers? I grew some from seed several years ago to get a blue flower, and was surprised how long they continued to send up side branches, as long as I kept them picked. I plan to do it again next year.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 7:57AM
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We grow delphiniums and sell them as single stems at our Farmers' Market. After the initial bloom we cut back the stems to ground level and get a shorter, smaller but still nice spike later in the season.

Pacific Giants is our favorite and they come in either a mix or individual colors. The dark blues are outstanding!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 11:54AM
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As for the Dinnerplate Dahlias . . . I've only found seeds for the "smaller" types, small for Dahlias that is. Most of my Dahlias from seed this year have reached about 4" across. I got them from Stokes.

For those Dinnerplate types you most likely have to get the tubers. While they are magnificent they are tough to use in bouquets because of their size. Better off selling those by the stem, but I would want big bucks per stem.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 2:05PM
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I walked through the Raulston Arboretum today looking for bouquet fillers and came up with panicum, river oats, miscanthus, danae racesmosa and pennisetum.
As for 'flowers' I would add glads, hot peppers, purple okra, lisianthus and mint.
Now my question, does anyone have a suggested ratio of the heighth of the vase to the flower or is it whatever pleases the eye.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 5:06PM
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Vase Height:

I believe you should see the vase and flowers and not see stems sticking up out of the vase, unless you leave a lot of foliage along the stems.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 11:03AM
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Noni Morrison

I think I have heard the proportion 1/3 vase, 2/3 flowers. That translates as a bouquet twice as high or twice as wide as the vase is tall. IT works out pretty true for me though I just do it by eyeball...when it "Looks right".

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 12:20PM
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I am really enjoying this discussion as I contemplate what I am going to grow with the dahlias next year. I currently sell the dahlias by the stem as I have no designer ability to put a bouquet together. I would love to have someone teach me as I love to watch some of the vendors at other markets put those lovely bouquets together.

I know markets vary, but how much do you sell the stems of delphiniums for? That might determine how much space I devote to them.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 9:04AM
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RE: Delphiniums:

I would sell for a minimum of $1/stem . . . probably much higher if you are in a upscale area.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 10:50AM
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