Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Whatever other New Year’s resolutions you make, do try out some of the wonderful new varieties of cut flowers that will be available for 2006. All of the varieties discussed can easily be grown from seed, and are perfect for cutting gardens.
Celosia Icecream Formula Mix is everything you could expect from a cut flower. First, there’s the fact that it begins blooming very early. Available in six colors, the long-lasting flowers are on eight inch tall stems. The compact, basal branching plants reach a little over a foot in height. This plant is very tolerant of heat.
Cosmos Double Click Mix is noted for its beautiful semi-double and fully double blooms. These come in an assortment of colors, including white, pink, and carmine. These grow on four foot tall plants. This has delicate, feathery foliage.
Dianthus Dynasty Pink Magic is incredibly different for it is truly the very first hybrid double dianthus. Recommended for full sun, this annual tolerates heat very well. The upright, well-branched plants have sturdy stems. They are a little over 1˝ feet in height. The pink blossoms are over an inch wide.
Gerbera Festival Spider Salmon with Eye is different than other gerberas in several respects. The color is unlike that of any other gerbera variety. Also, the spider form is quite unique. These blooms are up to four inches across. In addition, the plants are very floriferous, producing more blossoms than other varieties.
Lisianthus Rendezvous Blue is the very first double dwarf Lisianthus hybrid. Reaching about a foot in height, this one has three inch wide blossoms. It is suitable for partial sun.
Ornamental Millet Jester is definitely something a little different. This would be perfect for late summer bouquets. These plants provide fabulous color that would complement yellow and orange flowers in particular. When the foliage first emerges, it is yellow. Then, it turns red, and bronze, and finally purple. Later in the growing season, the dark purple seed heads emerge in spikes that are up to four feet tall.
For late spring and summer bouquets, there is nothing better than poppies of all sorts. The Hungarian Blue Breadseed poppy is an excellent choice. This new variety has stems that are about 1˝ feet in height. The papery blooms are about four inches across. They are purplish-blue with dark black centers. Besides using the freshly cut stems, you can also wait until the seed pods dry so you can use them as an everlasting. This poppy is an annual.
Tropical Sunset Mix California poppy features exquisite, silky blossoms in a wide range of colors from cream and varying shades of red an orange. This plant has lacy, greenish-gray foliage. It reaches two feet in height. This annual needs full sun.
Hot Crayon Colors Mix Zinnia from Renee’s are the best ever zinnias for cut flowers. Reaching about three feet in height, Hot Cray Colors is an assortment of fully double blossoms in varying hues from oranges, and yellows to reds. The flowers are up to four inches in diameter. Renee’s seeds are sold through catalogs as well as at garden centers and nurseries and Renee’s Garden website (please follow link at the top right of the page).
Starburst Sunflower is perfect for quick and easy late summer bouquets. Produced on five to six foot tall plants, these are ruffled, semi-doubles. They are five inches in width, and come in various vivid shades, including golden yellow, orange, red, and mahogany. The fact that they are pollenless makes them especially suitable for cut flowers.
For something a little unusual in the late summer and fall, there is an exciting, brightly colored variety of grain called Quinoa Brightest Brilliant Rainbow. This grows to about two feet in height. This features very unusually colored flowering heads in shades of hot colors, such as yellow, orange, and red as well as white, hot pink, and even green. Though this plant actually produces an edible grain, it is just too pretty to pass up as a cut flower.