Tender Bulbs for Cut Flowers

Tender Bulbs for Cut Flowers
Among the tender bulbs grown as annuals are some that make excellent cut flowers. Ones recommended for cutting gardens include the following kinds, which can be planted outdoors in late spring after the danger of frost has past.

Gloriosa Lily

Among the most unique of the tender bulbs, this has exotic blooms with an unusual shape. These have a vase life of about seven to ten days. They are used as a form flower. This is a good choice for Ikebana-style designs.

The fiery red petals with yellow margins curl upwards. Though the blooms are usually red, some varieties may have yellow or purple petals. The stamens are particularly long and conspicuous. These gigantic blooms can be up to five inches across. These open in the summer.

This bulb grows as a climbing vine that attaches itself harmlessly to nearby plants or structures.

Only winter hardy to zone ten, this tropical species does well in full sun and partial shade. It is resistant to deer.


Sometimes called spider lily, there are several species of nerine that are used for cut flowers. These are native to South Africa. They have a vase life of about a week to two weeks. The stems are used as form flowers. The individual florets can be included in corsages. They bloom during the late summer and fall.

The trumpet shaped blossoms are named for the curling, wispy petals. An individual blossom may only be an inch or so wide. However, they open in huge clusters with as many as 20 per flower head. These open at the top of the flower stalks, which are about 1½ feet in height.

Dainty and elegant looking, nerine flowers come in different colors. These include white, pink, and red.

Nerine bulbs are only hardy in zones eight through ten. Elsewhere, they’re treated as annuals and lifted at the end of the season.

Several species of spider flowers are available, including one called Guernsey lily, which has pink blossoms.


There’s nothing quite like ranunculus as cut flowers. They can’t be beat. These stems last for about a week. They are used as a mass flower.

These stunning blossoms open during mid to late summer in a wide range of colors. These include white, all shades of pink, red, and orange as well as yellow. Reaching over 1½ feet in height, the round flowers look somewhat like peonies.

These are only hardy in zones eight through ten. Elsewhere, they’re grown as a tender annual by digging and taking indoors for the winter.

Ranunculus need full sun, and are resistant to deer.

Spider lily

Also known as Peruvian daffodil, this makes a dramatic cut flower. It has everything you would ask for in a cut flower. As a cut flower, they last for about a week or so. Due to their unusual form, they are used as an accent and line flower.

The pure white petals are slightly ruffled, and surround the greenish-tan centers. The most intriguing thing about these is the long, curly, petal-like appendages for which the spider lily is named.

Growing over 1½ feet in height, the stems have clusters of blooms.

This bulb is winter hardy in zones eight and nine. Elsewhere, it can be grown as a summer bulb and lifted in the fall for storage indoors. The plant needs full sun, and is deer resistant.

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