Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fall brings many unusual kinds of florals with the ornamental corns being a colorful example. Some of the grains are also suitable for everlastings. These include the sorghums.
In fact, sorghum as been named the dried flower of the year for 2008 by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Keep in mind that the sorghums can also be used as a fresh cut flower as well.
There are many varieties of sorghum. The one that is used most often as an everlasting is called broom corn. This is a particular variety of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor var. technicum). Broom corn’s name comes from the fact that the stiff branches are indeed made into making brooms.
For floral designs, the beauty of broom corn lies in the large-flowered, tufted, fruiting heads. These often have a twisted appearance. Depending on the type of broom corn being grown, the cut stems can be around 2˝ feet tall.
The 2008 Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog listed red broom corn in addition to the Texas Black.
Regarding colors, sorghum stems are usually tan, brown, or black. However, sorghum seed heads come in most any color you could want. These include yellow and gold as well as red, maroon, burgundy, brown, and black.
The small seed heads look very much like beads. These are borne in crowded, fat pyramidal bunches.
As a fresh cut flower, the sorghums have a long vase life. Whether they’re fresh or dried, the sorghums are used mostly as a filler in bouquets and fall arrangements. This is noted for its rich texture.
Most any type of sorghum would be easy enough to grow as a cut or dried flower. These are grown mostly as an annual. However, some kinds are perennial.
Sorghum plants can be anywhere from five feet or so up to ten or 12 feet in height. Once they’re planted, these will require very little attention in the cutting garden.
These are suited to a range of soil types from dry to moist. In order to produce the best looking flower heads, the plants will need watering during very dry weather. These need full sun.
Sorghums will begin blooming some time in August or so. This is usually about three months after the seeds are planted.