Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
If you’re looking for cut flower varieties for the cutting garden, do consider these classics. Originally named as Cut Flower of the Year by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, each of the varieties below remains very popular among floral designers.
Winter Red winterberry is a variety of a native deciduous holly. It was named a cut flower of the year for 2005. All of the winterberries are known for their vivid winter fruits. However, those of Winter Red are quite reliable.
This bears heavy crops of fruits year after year provided you have both a male and female plant. It is recommended for zones three through nine. This oval, rounded plant is six to eight feet tall and wide. It produces many stems for cutting. The bright red fruits are quite persistent. This shrub is adapted to wet places, and grows either in partial shade or full sun.
Eustoma or lisianthus was originally a wildflower. But, it is now one of the best cut flowers. The Echo Series remains among the favored varieties. Originally named the cut flower of the year for 2002, these are still widely used. This early flowering series blooms about four months from the time the seeds are planted.
With a very long vase life, they have been known to last two weeks even without a preservative. The exquisite blooms are fully double. The Echo Series includes Echo Light blue, which has vivid blue blossoms, and Echo champagne with a delicate ivory that later becomes a soft pink. Other colors include yellow, lavender, pink, and pure white as well as blue picotee and pink picotee.
Blue Horizon ageratum was originally named a cut flower of the year for 2003. This is the tallest variety of ageratum available. It reaches 2˝ feet in height. The fluffy flower heads are three inches in diameter. These are much larger than that seen in other ageratums. They’re a medium blue. Blue Horizon blooms for a long period during the summer. The vigorous plants produce a large number of stems.
In 2004, Sarah Bernhardt peony was named the cut flower of the year. Originally introduced in 1906, it remains a favorite to this day. It is three feet in height. Blooming late during the spring, these have remarkable, fully double, delicately fragrant blossoms. They’re a soft pink with some touches of crimson on the outer edges of the petals.
Celosia Chief Series was named a cut flower of the year during 2002. This cockscomb was bred specifically for cut flowers. The tall, sturdy plants are up to 3˝ feet in height, which is unusual for a cockscomb.
The gorgeous full flower heads can be up to seven inches in diameter. They open on tall stems about three to four months after the seeds are planted. The Chief Series is usually available as a mix with the flower colors including various reds, pinks, and yellows as well as bicolors. This can also be used as a dried flower.