Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
For 2011, you can choose from a number of award winning cut flower varieties. Here are details on a few of those.
Milkweeds are among the top five perennials in Florida. One particular milkweed, Asclepias tuberose Ora, was a top performer at Bear Creek Farms cut flower trials in Oklahoma. This is located in zone six. This variety really stood out from the other cut flower varieties. Milkweed stems are used as a medium form flower, and have a vase life of about a week.
False Indigo (Baptisia austalis)
This American native was named the Perennial Plant of the Year for 2010. It also received a Royal Horticulture Society Award of Garden Merit, and was also chosen as one of the Plants of Merit, a Midwestern consortium, which also includes the Missouri Botanical Garden. This vigorous, well shaped, plant has a bushy appearance, and reaches four feet in height with a matching spread. It has an upright growth habit and greenish-blue foliage.
Very suitable for all areas of the country, it is noted for its lovely blossoms, which appear for about a month or so in mid to late spring. These resemble those of lupines, and are borne in bunches on long flower spikes. The blossoms are violet-blue. As cut flowers, the stems have a vase life of over a week or more. They should be cut when at least a third of the blooms on the stem are open. The plants were once grown as a source of an indigo-like dye
Belamcanda chinensis Hello Yellow was a top performer at the University of Georgia trial gardens in Athens. This variety reaches about two feet in height, and blooms during late summer. Hello Yellow is unique for unlike most other blackberry-lily flowers the petals lack the usual spots. Instead, these are pure clear yellow, and are star-like. These blooms are held well above the foliage.
These stems can be used as a fresh cut flowers. They have a vase life of about a week. The lovely, unique seed pods also make an interesting cut flower material. These ripen to black, and look remotely like blackberries. The plants have long, slender foliage much like that of gladiolus. The bulbs are available from Brent and Becky’s catalog.