Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
While many daisies are annuals, there are some excellent perennial ones as well. Here are just a few that make great cut flowers.
This is also known as bigleaf ligularia. A member of the daisy family, this isn’t the best known perennial, which is a shame because this makes a great cut flower. This is noted for its brilliant orange blossoms that open in summer. Appearing in branched clusters, the individual blossoms can be up to five inches across. They have ten to 14 petals that tend to tilt downwards. The centers are brown. The stems can reach four feet in height.
This perennial is hardy from zones four or five to zone eight. In warm climates, these need shade. Keep the plants well-watered at all times. They tend to wilt very easily if allowed to dry out. This perennial can be grown from seed. For best results, plant the seeds outdoors in the fall. This will give the exposure to the cold temperatures that they need in order to germinate the following spring.
As cut flowers, bigleaf goldenray stems have a vase life of about ten days or so.
Also known as tickseed, this is an excellent daisy-type blossom for summer bouquets. There are annual ones as well. But, here we’re dealing only with the perennial species. The name coreopsis refers to the dried seed head, which remotely resembles a bug, thus the name tickseed. As wildflowers, these are native to some parts of the country.
The taller species of coreopsis are most suitable for cut flowers. These reach one to three feet in height. The blossoms can be two inches or more across. Typically, these have yellow petals and yellow centers. However, cultivars with other colors, including bicolors, are now available as well.
Easy to grow, the perennial species are suited to zones four or five through nine. These need a sunny spot that is well drained.
Most coreopsis can easily be grown from seeds. However, some of the newer cultivars have to be propagated vegetative since they won’t come true from seed. If using seed, barely cover them. They can be direct sown in the garden or started early indoors.
Coreopsis stems have a vase life of about seven to ten days if a preservative is used.
The purple coneflower hardly needs an introduction. There are numerous species of this native wildflower. In recent years, many new varieties of this plant have been released. So, now you can have a wide selection of flower colors apart from the ordinary pinkish-purple. There are dwarf varieties. However, for cut flowers the more robust, vigorous types work best.
Easy to grow, purple coneflowers need full sun. They’re adapted to most soils. Though they can tolerate considerable drought, they will be much less floriferous if they aren’t watered during dry periods. Other than that, they need no special care.
Except for some of the newer cultivars, purple coneflowers can be grown from seeds. Cover these to a depth of twice to three times their thickness. Sometimes, germination is better if the seeds are exposed to cold temperatures. The easiest way to do that is to direct sow the seeds where they are to grow in the fall. Then, they will germinate in the spring.
Depending on the species or variety, it is recommended for zones three or four through zone eight.
As cut flowers, purple coneflower stems have a vase life of about seven to ten days.