The Best Flowers for Homegrown Bouquets
by NGB
May 5, 2019

Decorate your home with vases of beautiful blooms all summer long. The key to growing a productive cutting garden is planting a combination of annuals, perennials, and flowering bulbs. This way you will always have new flowers coming into bloom.

Every flower farmer knows that summer-blooming bulbs are the backbone of a cutting garden. Bulbs such as lilies, dahlias, and gladiolus, are planted in spring, start blooming in midsummer and continue flowering right through the fall — well after other plants have faded in the heat of late summer.

Grow glads for flower-filled spikes!

The flower-packed spikes of gladiolas grow from inexpensive bulbs that are easy to plant and take up very little space. You can pop them into containers, flowerbeds or even your vegetable garden. A vase filled with a dozen gladiolas makes a simple yet striking arrangement. Or combine them with other bold flowers like lilies and sunflowers. Tie it all together with finely-textured native quinine, astilbes or cosmos.

Dahlias make an impressive bouquet!

With dahlias, you can choose from many different flower sizes, flower styles and colors. For easy, eye-catching bouquets, plant a color-themed blend such as the Sugar Plum Mix from Longfield Gardens. Another option is to select several colors that will harmonize with the flowers that are already in your gardens such as phlox, echinacea, and asters.

It only takes a few dahlias to make an impressive bouquet. For mixed arrangements, make sure your cutting garden includes several types, such as dinnerplates, decoratives, peony-flowered, anemone, and collarette. When late summer turns to fall, dahlias look lovely combined with ornamental grasses, cattails, and goldenrod.

Hybrid lilies are a favorite for gardens and bouquets!

Hybrid lilies are garden favorites as well as fabulous cut flowers. Plant the bulbs of Asiatic, Oriental and Oriental-trumpet lilies in spring, for color and fragrance that lasts all summer long. To ensure months of flowers, you’ll want to grow several different types of lilies and plant extra bulbs just for cutting.

Other spring-planted bulbs that make good additions to a cutting garden are liatris, calla lilies, and acidanthera. The bottlebrush flowers of liatris add energy and excitement to summer bouquets and in the garden they’re a magnet for butterflies. Calla lilies are cool and sophisticated, yet these funnel-shaped blossoms are easy to grow. Acidanthera, commonly known as peacock lilies, are relatives of the gladiolus and have fragrant white flowers. For more inspiration, check out the “Bloom Time Chart for Spring and Summer Bulbs” available at

Add perennial flowers to your cut flower bouquet!

A perennial garden can also produce some excellent cut flowers. Most perennials bloom at a particular time during the growing season. For cut flowers in early summer, look to peonies, iris, astilbes and delphiniums. Midsummer bloomers include roses, Shasta daisies, yarrow and phlox. And for late summer you can count on echinacea, helenium and mums.

Annuals, foliage, and fillers are musts for any garden bouquet!

Annual flowers such as zinnias, snapdragons, ageratum, sweetpeas, and cosmos are cutting garden staples. And don’t forget about others such as sunflowers, celosia, amaranth, bachelor buttons, and asters. Most annual flowers are easy to grow from seed, planted directly into the ground after all danger of frost has passed. Once the plants begin blooming, be sure to remove the spent flower heads. If the plants can’t produce seeds, they are more likely to continue flowering.

Foliage and fillers elevate an ordinary homegrown bouquet from good to great. Your cutting garden can provide all sorts of interesting options. You can count on the foliage of perennials such as hosta, baptisia, artemesia, and sage as well as flower farmer favorites such as bells of Ireland, bupleurum and dusty miller. Shrubs are valuable, too. Some offer colorful berries as well as foliage. Ninebark, boxwood, honeysuckle, viburnum, and holly all work well in flower arrangements.

Spring bulbs make a lovely seasonal bouquet!

Spring-flowering bulbs can further extend your cut flower season. Plant tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths in fall for beautiful cut flowers the following spring. Tulips are excellent for cutting. If you plant the bulbs close together, you can cut lots of stems and still have a nice show of flowers in the garden. Branches from flowering trees and shrubs such as forsythia, quince, and Daphne look lovely in a vase with spring bulbs.

Cutting and arranging flowers is a fun way to exercise your creativity and bring the beauty of your garden indoors. With a bountiful supply of blooms, it’s also easy to share your garden with others. Your homegrown bouquets will become treasured gifts for friends, neighbors, family, and coworkers.

Melinda Myers is a nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author, columnist & speaker who has written this article on behalf of Longfield Gardens.

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