Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
In addition to the commonly used, all-time favorite cut flowers, some of the exotic flowers also deserve a place in the cutting garden. Here are some suggested new varieties for 2010.
Panicum elegans Frosted Explosion
This is one of the most spectacular ornamental grasses Iíve seen used as a cut flower. Seeds are available from Johnnyís. It was initially introduced last year. This has sturdy stems, which are about three feet in height. At the top of the stems are very large, white, wide spreading, feathery plumes. These are delicate and airy looking.
Frosted Explosion panicum can be used as a small mass flower as well as a filler. The stems have a vase life of over a week. This variety produces a second flush of flower stems after the initial flowers have been cut. Harvest the stems when the spikes are completely open. The plants will be ready to harvest in about three months from the time the seeds are planted.
This ornamental grass is easy to grow from seeds, which will germinate in about one to two weeks. They need a minimum temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In the cutting garden, Frosted Explosion prefers full sun.
This new hybrid is related to Joey, which received such high acclaim in 2009. Platinum Wallaby has flowers that are similar to Joey and are very feathery looking. The pale purple plumes taper to a point. These stems make an excellent cut flower just like Joey. When grown in warm climates, the plants tend to bloom throughout the year.
Harvest when the plumes have fully formed. These will last around five to seven days. Theyíre used as a medium mass flower as well as a line flower.
This plant needs full sun in the cutting garden. Platinum Wallaby is well adapted to dry soils. Platinum Wallaby plants will be available at garden centers and the usual sources as bedding plants. As this cultivar canít be grown from seed like Joey, these will only be available as plants.