Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Many kinds of shrubs have stems that can be used as cut flowers. Among these are the award winning bloodtwig dogwoods and aucuba.
Midwinter Fire Bloodtwig dogwood
This is one of the redtwig dogwood cultivars. It has been named a Gold Medal Plant by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Each year the group selects worthy plants that are suitable for the landscape. They must be hardy to zone five.
This cultivar is hardy to zone four. The stems turn vivid shades in the fall and winter, including orange, yellow, and red. This plant reaches eight feet in height and is wider than tall.
This plant needs full sun for the best colored stems. It develops suckers, and can form a very large clump over time. Once the foliage drops in the fall, the red stems are ready for cutting for use as a cut flower.
The species is also called bloodtwig. Originally native to Europe, it has been grown in America for several hundred years.
Other dogwoods with similarly colorful stems include ones that can be used as cut flowers. These include Tatarian dogwood. Hardy to zone three, this is nine feet or more in height. Silky dogwood is hardy to zone four. With red stems, this is hardy to zone three.
Red osier dogwood is hardy to zone three. This is eight feet in height. In addition to these, there is also a variety called golden twig dogwood/
Prune these dogwoods in the spring to achieve the best color. These shrubs are easy to grow, and tolerate all soils except poorly drained one. They’re tolerant of urban conditions.
Narrow Leaf Aucuba
This received a Theodore Klein Plant Award from the University of Kentucky. This honor is named for Klein of Yew Dell Gardens. Plants that are selected for this honor must be outstanding ornamentals adapted to Kentucky landscapes.
This plant is hardy to zone seven. It has lovely deep green foliage. It is known as narrow leaf aucuba because the leaves are quite distinctive from those of the other aucubas. This evergreen needs shade, and is adapted to dry soil.
The stems of aucuba can be used as a fresh floral material. If cut in the winter, this will also have lovely red fruits. The vase life is about a week or so.