Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
We expect a lot of our cut flowers. Not only should they look beautiful, but in addition we want them to last as long as possible. When we’re buying cut flower stems or cutting our own, we have no idea what sort of vase life they will have. However, what we can do is to select those varieties that are noted for their long vase life. This does assume that you are using a floral preservative. Here are a few outstanding cut varieties to look for.
Sparkling Burgundy pineapple lily does amazing well as a cut flower. In trials, this variety lasts for over 40 days. This tall, stately bulb produces gorgeous flower spikes. The individual blooms are rather small. But, they simply cover the flower stalk, which is purplish-red. This species is only hardy in warmer climates.
Ninebark Diabolo makes an ideal woody cut flower. With very attractive purple foliage, these last for over three weeks. This large shrub can reach ten feet tall and wide. During the summer, the plant is covered with button-shaped, whitish-pink blooms. The stems can also be cut at this stage. But, the blossoms wouldn’t last as long as the foliage.
A number of sunflower varieties were tested in trials. On average, they last for 8 to 11 days. Premium Lemon had a vase life of 11 days or so. This produces blooms on very tall stems, two to three feet. This is very quick to bloom, in about 45 to 55 days. These lovely blooms have vivid yellow petals surrounding the large black centers.
Solara sunflower did the best by lasting for 12 days. This is a hybrid, non-branching plant, reaching six feet in height. It bears pollenless blooms with golden yellow petals and huge black centers. Very quick to bloom, Solara sunflowers open on tall, sturdy stems that reach four feet in height. These blossoms are held upright on the plant. The seeds germinate quickly and easily.
Sunrich Orange sunflower is another pollenless type that also performs well as a cut flower. These last for an average of 10 days though they have been known to last for two weeks. The single blooms reach five to six inches in diameter. They have rich golden yellow petals and dark centers. This is a fast growing variety that tends to bloom pretty early, around 60 to 70 days from the time the seeds are planted. Its upright stems are particularly tall and sturdy, reaching four feet in height with a two foot spread.
Sunny sunflower has a good vase life as well. This variety was bred specifically as a cut flower. Reaching over six inches across, these blossoms have short yellow petals that contrast beautifully with the dark center. The plant grows to five feet or more in height. The flowers begin to open around 80 days from the time the seeds are planted.
Sunbright sunflower has an excellent vase life of 15 days. The plants reach five to six feet in height. The yellow blooms range from four to six inches in width. These open from 70 to 80 days from the time the seeds are sown.
Lobelia Compliment Mix stems lasts for 11 days as a cut flower. This hardy perennial has blossoms that come in a range of colors, including blue, all sorts of roses and reds, and pale pink. Recommended for zones six through ten, this plant blooms from July through September. It is easy to grow from seed, which takes two to three weeks to germinate.