I recently became accustomed to having fresh flowers on my dining room table. It started off as a little treat now and then, but I kept feeling as if something was missing whenever my favorite green vase was bare. Ten dollars at the farmers market here and $14 at the grocery store there can really add up.
My solution for a constant (and expensive!) desire for fresh blossoms indoors? A cutting garden! It’s so obvious now that I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner. I chose 10 of my favorites to complete this list, but grow what you like and enjoy fresh bouquets in your house all summer.
- Bailey Nurseries
(Veronica spp., Zones 3 to 9)
If you want to make a big impact, put several spikes of Veronica speedwell together right in the middle of your flower arrangement. They’ll add height and interest. Look for long-blooming varieties.
Why we love it: I’m a sucker for the drama of Veronica speedwell. Those beautiful spikes are major eye-catchers that come in white, purple, pink or blue. They’ll bloom for a long time both inside and outside, but trust me: You’ll want to bring them in.
- Ball Horticultural Co.
Also called garden stock and gillyflower, the blooms of stock grow tall and as a tight cluster. The flower clusters might make the plant a little heavy, so you may need to stake it in the garden. Cut stock when about two-thirds of the blooms are open and it should do well in a vase.
Why we love it: The best part about including stock in your flower arrangement is the sweet and spicy scent. Some say it smells like cloves.
- Rob Cardillo
(Centaurea cyanus, annual)
You might know this beauty as cornflower. And if you’re familiar with it, you probably love how easy it is to grow. They are prolific growers that require very little care but offer many rewards. Bachelor’s buttons make pretty dried flowers, too!
Why we love it: Bachelor’s buttons are beautiful and long-lasting as cut flowers. Their large variety of lively colors will add brightness to any arrangement. Look for them in blue, pink, red, white and purple.
- W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
(Cosmos spp., annual)
Cosmos is a garden favorite that is known to attract birds and butterflies, but you don’t want to give this one completely to your winged friends. Cut cosmos and take it inside and enjoy it yourself.
Why we love it: If it’s versatility you’re after, cosmos is it. Tons of varieties and colors are available. Find one that will complement the rest of the blooms in your cutting garden.
(Leucanthemum x superbum, Zones 4 to 9)
You can’t beat the classic daisy look of a Shasta daisy!
It’s a strong grower with sturdy stems and a long vase life, making it an ideal cut flower. It’ll also look delightful in containers or flower beds. Northern gardeners should divide Shasta daisies every year or so for the longevity of the plant.
Why we love it: I love floral arrangements that include Shasta daisies because the white provides a calm among all the crazy colors of the other blooms I enjoy. Plus, it’ll probably be one of the last standing in your bouquet.
(Gomphrena globosa, annual)
It’s hard not to like globe amaranth. It’s a prolific bloomer that will last until frost. And in general, this plant isn’t fussy. It’ll tolerate various soils and moisture levels—basically a gardener’s dream.
Why we love it: The round blooms of globe amaranth add that fun element to an arrangement that not many flowers can. I personally love the globe look and the bright colors! Look for it in pink, purple and white.
(Paeonia, Zones 3 to 9)
They say it’s best to cut peonies in the morning. You’ll get a better vase life out of them if you cut them when they’re not fully open. But before you bring them in, beware of little bugs or ants that might be hiding in the blossoms.
Why we love it: I love peonies for their large, full blooms. Peonies have a small window in spring when they can be used as a cut flower, so even just a few peonies alone can make a gorgeous small bouquet.
(Astilbe spp., Zones 4 to 9)
A shade favorite, astilbe offers a vertical softness to the garden, and the leaves have a fernlike appearance. After harvesting, put astilbe in water right away. Letting the stems dry out for even a short time will drastically reduce its life as a cut flower.
Why we love it: I love different heights and textures in my bouquets, so that’s why astilbe is on my list. Cut them just before you’re going to prepare your bouquet and when the blooms are half open.
- Patti Ashcraft
(Helianthus annuus, annual)
Don’t worry; you don’t need to bring a sunflower the size of your head indoors. There are dwarf varieties that work perfectly as a cut flower. Harvest sunflowers once their petals have arched upward. Make sure there’s water close—you’ll want to stick the stems in water right away.
Why we love it: The best feature of sunflowers is the many varieties available. Each one will add something distinct to both your bouquet and outdoor garden by way of different sizes and colors.
- W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
Bells of Ireland
(Moluccella laevis, annual)
I’m new to bells of Ireland, but I can’t get enough. This heirloom has pale-lime leaves, which accent the green whorls that look like blooms. The flowers are actually inside the cuplike whorls. Bells of Ireland are easy to grow from seed and you can effortlessly transport them to a vase.
Why we love it: My reason for loving this is simple: It’s just a cool-looking plant. It’ll add some green pizzazz to a cut flower arrangement.
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