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5 Beautiful Cut Flowers Everyone Should Grow

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There is just something so refreshing and energizing about a vase of beautiful cut flowers. Their aroma fills a room and no matter what the weather, brings joy to any space.  I always have a vase of fresh cut flowers in several places in my house.

The nice thing about cut flowers is that several types can be grown easily in any home garden. Here are ten of my absolute favorite cut flowers to grow. These beauties will reward you with long-lasting color and sweet fragrance.

Sweet pea

This is truly the ultimate ‘cut and grow again” flower. There is a variety of colors to choose from with the old fashioned Grandiflora types having the sweetest fragrance. If you love larger blooms, try the modern Spencer varieties including Sweet Pea Alan Titchmarch which combines nice size blooms and longer stems, perfect for a tall vase.

Tip:  For the biggest bloom and sweetest aroma, cut Sweet Pea plants regularly. Cut the flowers when the lowest bloom opens and put them in water immediately.

Sunflowers

Cut sunflowers last a long time in a vase – up to 10 days, making them an amazing flower for a cut flower bouquet. Sunflowers are so cheery and bright and always make me smile. Sunflowers can be grown directly from seed and don’t require any special care other than a little support for taller varieties. For cutting, choose multi-head varieties including Sunflower harlequin which will reward you with big blooms.

Tip It is best to cut sunflowers with sharp cutting shears early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperatures are cool.

Lily

Lilies add an exotic flair to any seasonal bouquet. They are classy and mysterious at the same time, and their scent is a true favorite associated with spring. There are numerous types of lily species, but oriental Lilies are the most popular for their beautiful trumpet-shaped blooms and fragrance. If you prefer pollen-free varieties go for Tree Lily Crystal Collection which is pollen free.

Tip: Don’t forget to leave a third of the stem in place when you cut lilies. This will feed the bulb for the next season.

Gladiolus

Glads are perfect for adding height and drama to flower arrangements. They make a stellar focal point, and there are plenty of modern hybrids to choose from. Gladiolus tango and Gladiolus Green Star are smart and contemporary, bringing the perfect modern feel to any bouquet. To have a fresh supply of gladiolus all season long, stagger plantings in two-week intervals so that they mature at different times.

Tip: Cut glad flowers as the lowest two or three florets begin to open – try to leave as many leaves as possible so that they feed the bulb for next year.

Peonies

Peonies are reminiscent of old-time cottage gardens and are a favorite cut flower because of their gorgeous big blooms. You don’t need more than a few in a vase to create a stunning arrangement. Cut double varieties when the buds are soft, just before they open. If you cut them too soon, the buds won’t open – so be patient. Cut single-flower types when the buds are swollen but firm.

Tip: Avoid cutting stems from plants that are younger than three years old and only take a few blooms from each plant to preserve plant energy.

Tips for growing and displaying cut flowers

Here are some tips for beautiful, long-lasting bouquets.

  • Cut flower stems at an angle: This will keep the stem from resting on the bottom of the vase and sealing itself over. Cutting on an angle will allow the stem to take up a good amount of water.
  • Strip foliage from lower stems: Any foilage left on lower stems will only decay and become slimy and smelly in the water.
  • Always use a clean vase: Be sure to thoroughly clean your vase before organizing your bouquet. Bacteria can survive and thrive in dirty vases, and they will diminish the lifespan the life of cut flowers.
  • Use tepid water only in your vase: Cold water contains more oxygen which can cause bubbles to form in the stems of flowers. This blocks the water uptake by the stems. Tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs are the exceptions to this rule as they actually like to be placed in cold water.
  • Add a touch of bleach to your water: Bleach will help keep bacteria at bay and allow your flowers to last longer. You only need a small amount – ¼ teaspoon per 4 cups of water to do the trick. Adding a tablespoon of sugar will also nourish your plants.
  • Keep flowers away from fruit bowls: Fruit produces ethylene which causes cut flowers to die.
  • Change water every few days: Plants will last longer if you change their water every few days.
  • Remove dead and fading blooms: Picking dead and dying flowers out of the bouquet will keep bacteria away.
  • Consider where you place your flowers: Don’t place your vase close to heat, draughts or direct light.

Enjoy all the beauty that fresh flowers can bring to your home!

-Susan Patterson

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