The Q&A Archives: cut flowers

Question: Howdy,

I'm looking for plants that are really good for cut flowers. I live in the hot inland zone 8. I would rather get plants that bloom the first year but am open to anything as long as it can take the heat and are drought tolerate.

If it is fragrant so much the better.

Thanks a ton,

Answer: There are dozens of plants you can include in a cutting garden so I'll list just a few of my favorites. (For additional ideas, browse the Monrovia website.)

Echinacea is commonly called "purple cone flower" which is a misnomer because it can be pink, magenta, white or purple. This is a coarse looking plant so I like to grow it with shasta daisies in front of it to hide the lower stems. The ray flowers (petals) surround a prickly, dark brown, thick center. The ray flowers may curve downward. Overall, the plant is about 3-4 ft. tall although shorter varieties are sometimes available.

Chrysanthemum x superbum, or Shasta Daisy, is another good choice. Shastas are tall perennials which have a thick, scalloped shaped leaf. The foliage is dark green. The daisylike flowers normally have white-cream colored ray flowers surrounding the yellow disc flowers on stems up to 3 feet tall. The plants need no special care and thrive in my dry, clay soil. They are easily propagated by dividing the clumps in early spring or growing them from seed (2 years for flowering). I cut them back after the initial flush of bloom in early summer and may get light bloom over the rest of the season.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) The plant grows about 4-6 feet tall. It has whitish-gray, fine leaves. Some think the follows look like those of lavender. Like mint plants, Russian Sage is strongly scented with a camphor-like scent. In the north, it begins blooming late in July and lasts until frost giving a bluish haze to the border. This picture shows a plant of sage, flopped over after a summer shower. This year I intend to surround it with a grow-through plant ring system to help it remain upright throughout the season.

Lavender (Lavendula) 'Munstead' makes a nice bushy shrub one to two feet tall. Because the leaves are a light gray-green, many people use this in silver gardens. It forms a flower stalk that reaches appoximately 12 inches tall with a dense, purple flower spike at the tip.

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