Cut Flower Varieties to Try This Season

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Just a short list (haha) of new things I’m considering growing this year. Most of these are completely new species to me, though I’ve thrown in some new varieties of old favorite species as well. New varieties of focal flowers probably deserve their very own post, and if I were to start in on the dahlias, I’d probably never get to farming. So enjoy these; they’re mostly weird and hopefully useful! We’ll see how they grow this year.

What are you most intrigued about growing in 2019? Are any of these species a terrible idea? Please comment below; I’m always excited to learn about what others are trying!

Everlasting,  Ammobium alatum , ‘Winged Everlasting’:  This thing just looks like an adorable little papery feverfew or chamomile, but with the dryability of a strawflower. For some reason I have a lot of dried flowers on my list this year. Seed from  Johnny’s  and  Select Seeds.

Everlasting, Ammobium alatum, ‘Winged Everlasting’: This thing just looks like an adorable little papery feverfew or chamomile, but with the dryability of a strawflower. For some reason I have a lot of dried flowers on my list this year. Seed from Johnny’s and Select Seeds.

Every single China aster variety. Ever.  Callistephus chinensis:   I just can’t stop myself! They all look like so much fun, and I can’t wait to really treat them well and get great blooms. I’m really excited about the ‘Lady Coral’ Series and ‘Harlekin’ varieties from  Johnny’s  and  Floret.

Every single China aster variety. Ever. Callistephus chinensis: I just can’t stop myself! They all look like so much fun, and I can’t wait to really treat them well and get great blooms. I’m really excited about the ‘Lady Coral’ Series and ‘Harlekin’ varieties from Johnny’s and Floret.

Basket Flower,  Centaurea americana , ‘Aloha Blanca’:  Another ‘prairie’ type that will make a good dried flower. Not too sure about this one but must try it! Another  Centaurea  species I might try is  C. imperialis,  AKA sweet sultan. Seed from  GeoSeed.

Basket Flower, Centaurea americana, ‘Aloha Blanca’: Another ‘prairie’ type that will make a good dried flower. Not too sure about this one but must try it! Another Centaurea species I might try is C. imperialis, AKA sweet sultan. Seed from GeoSeed.

Blanket Flower,  Gaillardia pulchella , ‘Lorenziana’:  Saw this beautiful photo on Hannah Muller’s Instagram,  @farmerhands , and just had to have them! They look like bachelor buttons in warm, deserty colors. She got seeds from  Wild Garden Seed .

Blanket Flower, Gaillardia pulchella, ‘Lorenziana’: Saw this beautiful photo on Hannah Muller’s Instagram, @farmerhands, and just had to have them! They look like bachelor buttons in warm, deserty colors. She got seeds from Wild Garden Seed.

Paper Daisy,  Helipterum roseum,  ‘Large Flowered Hybrids’, ‘Goliath Tetra’, ‘Pierrot’:  More strawflower-like creatures, in different colors and slightly different shapes, some with dark eyes. Seed from  GeoSeed  and Annie’s Annuals.

Paper Daisy, Helipterum roseum, ‘Large Flowered Hybrids’, ‘Goliath Tetra’, ‘Pierrot’: More strawflower-like creatures, in different colors and slightly different shapes, some with dark eyes. Seed from GeoSeed and Annie’s Annuals.

Foxglove,  Digitalis lanata,  ‘Café Crème’:  Well, knock my socks off! A brownish-creamy foxglove with beautiful mottled throats? I can’t resist. Seeds from  Johnny’s  and  Geo.

Foxglove, Digitalis lanata, ‘Café Crème’: Well, knock my socks off! A brownish-creamy foxglove with beautiful mottled throats? I can’t resist. Seeds from Johnny’s and Geo.

Nigella,  Nigella damascena , ‘Moody Blues’:  GeoSeed promises 30” stems on this cultivar, with multiple shades of blue on one plant. We’ll see, but I’d love something in blue to match the splendor and stem-length of my favorite white variety, ‘Cramer’s Plum Loco’. Seeds from  Geo.

Nigella, Nigella damascena, ‘Moody Blues’: GeoSeed promises 30” stems on this cultivar, with multiple shades of blue on one plant. We’ll see, but I’d love something in blue to match the splendor and stem-length of my favorite white variety, ‘Cramer’s Plum Loco’. Seeds from Geo.

Lavatera,  Lavatera trimestris,  ‘Mont Blanc’, ‘Pink Blush’, ‘Silver Cup’:  These gorgeous hibiscus-like flowers seem like exactly the kind of product where fresh local product would have an advantage over shipped wholesale. I love that these look tropical and I think they’d really add something special to bouquets and compotes. Seed from  Geo  and  Select Seeds.

Lavatera, Lavatera trimestris, ‘Mont Blanc’, ‘Pink Blush’, ‘Silver Cup’: These gorgeous hibiscus-like flowers seem like exactly the kind of product where fresh local product would have an advantage over shipped wholesale. I love that these look tropical and I think they’d really add something special to bouquets and compotes. Seed from Geo and Select Seeds.

Goldenrod,  Solidago canadensis,  ‘Baby Gold’:  I’ve never grown  Solidago , but it was something we ordered a lot of from wholesalers last year, and I came to love its beaded, feathery look. It’s also a plant that grows wild around here so I think it will appreciate our climate. Plugs from  Farmer Bailey Perennials.

Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis, ‘Baby Gold’: I’ve never grown Solidago, but it was something we ordered a lot of from wholesalers last year, and I came to love its beaded, feathery look. It’s also a plant that grows wild around here so I think it will appreciate our climate. Plugs from Farmer Bailey Perennials.

Gomphrena,  Gomphrena pulchella,  ‘Fireworks’ : This was a variety I had to see in person to want to grow - once I did, in the back of Meg’s delivery van from Red Daisy Farms, I knew it was a must-have. It’s quite tall, very productive, and such a cute little pom pom. Seeds from  GeoSeed.

Gomphrena, Gomphrena pulchella, ‘Fireworks’: This was a variety I had to see in person to want to grow - once I did, in the back of Meg’s delivery van from Red Daisy Farms, I knew it was a must-have. It’s quite tall, very productive, and such a cute little pom pom. Seeds from GeoSeed.

Broomcorn Millet,  Panicum miliaceum , ‘Violaceum’:  Ok, I’ve never really liked the idea of this grass, for some reason, but dealing with the height and craziness of my broom corn this year made me want to give this one a try. Seeds from  Geo  and  Floret.

Broomcorn Millet, Panicum miliaceum, ‘Violaceum’: Ok, I’ve never really liked the idea of this grass, for some reason, but dealing with the height and craziness of my broom corn this year made me want to give this one a try. Seeds from Geo and Floret.

Silver Spurflower,  Plectranthus argentatus , ‘Silver Shield’:  Farmer Bailey’s description of these plants convinced me to give them a try: “I saw that Anna Jane over at Little State Flower Co is growing it for cuts so I gave it a try, and sure thing, it hold up just fine! It's big and vigorous, hitting 30" in height, and best of all it's much less wilty than dusty miller.” Plugs from  FB  or seed from  Geo  - no idea what it’s like to germinate but obviously I must try ;)

Silver Spurflower, Plectranthus argentatus, ‘Silver Shield’: Farmer Bailey’s description of these plants convinced me to give them a try: “I saw that Anna Jane over at Little State Flower Co is growing it for cuts so I gave it a try, and sure thing, it hold up just fine! It's big and vigorous, hitting 30" in height, and best of all it's much less wilty than dusty miller.” Plugs from FB or seed from Geo - no idea what it’s like to germinate but obviously I must try ;)

Solomon’s Seal,  Polygonatum odoratum , ‘Ruby Slippers’, ‘Variegatum’ : Another one I saw in  Farmer Bailey’s perennials site . Who wouldn’t kill for a beautiful perennial foliage like this, both clear green and variegated? Bailey says, “I am unreasonably excited about Polygonatum. It's a long lasting and reliable foliage, tough as nails, and thrives in shade. Once established, you'll cut on it for years. They do produce graceful white flowers that hang below the foliage, but the foliage is the star. Teach your florists about this crop and you will sell every stem for years.”

Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum odoratum, ‘Ruby Slippers’, ‘Variegatum’: Another one I saw in Farmer Bailey’s perennials site. Who wouldn’t kill for a beautiful perennial foliage like this, both clear green and variegated? Bailey says, “I am unreasonably excited about Polygonatum. It's a long lasting and reliable foliage, tough as nails, and thrives in shade. Once established, you'll cut on it for years. They do produce graceful white flowers that hang below the foliage, but the foliage is the star. Teach your florists about this crop and you will sell every stem for years.”

Tassel Flower,  Emilia coccinea , ‘Tassel Flower’,  E. javanica , ‘Irish Poet’:  This one is just too cute! It comes in this bright scarlet-red and a clear neon orange. I love the little button-shaped flowers. Seed is cheap and it seems like an easy-to-grow creature, so why not? Seeds from  Geo  and  Select Seeds.

Tassel Flower, Emilia coccinea, ‘Tassel Flower’, E. javanica, ‘Irish Poet’: This one is just too cute! It comes in this bright scarlet-red and a clear neon orange. I love the little button-shaped flowers. Seed is cheap and it seems like an easy-to-grow creature, so why not? Seeds from Geo and Select Seeds.

Bunny Tails Grass,  Lagurus ovatus:   I’ve been hesitant to try this beautiful little grass, though I’ve coveted its adorable soft baubles since seeing it on Erika Stephens’s Instagram  @junesblooms . It’s listed as topping out at 8” tall in GeoSeed’s catalog, though I’ve seen tons of growers getting much longer stems than this. I must discover their secrets! you can get this from  Geo ,  Floret ,  Select Seeds , and  Seed Saver’s Exchange.

Bunny Tails Grass, Lagurus ovatus: I’ve been hesitant to try this beautiful little grass, though I’ve coveted its adorable soft baubles since seeing it on Erika Stephens’s Instagram @junesblooms. It’s listed as topping out at 8” tall in GeoSeed’s catalog, though I’ve seen tons of growers getting much longer stems than this. I must discover their secrets! you can get this from Geo, Floret, Select Seeds, and Seed Saver’s Exchange.

Painted Tongue,  Salpiglossis sinuatum , ‘Black Trumpets’, ‘Kew Blue,’ ‘Gloomy Rival’, ‘Little Friends’:  My friend Allison over at  Sol y Sombra Farm  was growing these, and I’ve been infatuated with them ever since. The patterns on their throats and their deep psychedelic colors are mesmerizing! Seeds from  Geo  and  Select Seeds .

Painted Tongue, Salpiglossis sinuatum, ‘Black Trumpets’, ‘Kew Blue,’ ‘Gloomy Rival’, ‘Little Friends’: My friend Allison over at Sol y Sombra Farm was growing these, and I’ve been infatuated with them ever since. The patterns on their throats and their deep psychedelic colors are mesmerizing! Seeds from Geo and Select Seeds.

Showy Milkweed,  Asclepias speciosa  : This stunning flower, and the seed pods that follow, have always struck me as impossibly beautiful; they remind me of childhood days spent blowing the fluffy seed parachutes out of the pod. You can cut the single florets off for use on wearables like crowns and corsages, or add an entire stem for a huge textural impact. The seed pods are architectural and unexpected, and the perfect addition to winter-season everlasting bouquets or wreaths. Plus, of course, they’r Monarch butterfly habitat! I can’t wait to grow them on purpose. Seeds from  Geo  and many other sources.

Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa: This stunning flower, and the seed pods that follow, have always struck me as impossibly beautiful; they remind me of childhood days spent blowing the fluffy seed parachutes out of the pod. You can cut the single florets off for use on wearables like crowns and corsages, or add an entire stem for a huge textural impact. The seed pods are architectural and unexpected, and the perfect addition to winter-season everlasting bouquets or wreaths. Plus, of course, they’r Monarch butterfly habitat! I can’t wait to grow them on purpose. Seeds from Geo and many other sources.

Swamp Milkweed,  Asclepias incarnata , ‘Ice Ballet’, ‘Soulmate’ : While researching showy milkweed, I came across this little treasure, which appears in a pure white and this delicate lavender-pink. As it turns out, there are TONS of different milkweed species, each beautiful in its own way. Seeds from  Geo ,  Select Seeds ,  American Meadows.

Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, ‘Ice Ballet’, ‘Soulmate’: While researching showy milkweed, I came across this little treasure, which appears in a pure white and this delicate lavender-pink. As it turns out, there are TONS of different milkweed species, each beautiful in its own way. Seeds from Geo, Select Seeds, American Meadows.

Trachelium,  Trachelium caeruleum , ‘Lake Series’ : This looks like a lovely filler flower, in blue and white shades.  Specialty Cut Flowers  says that most growers buy plugs because of the long propagation time.  Farmer Bailey  is selling plugs this year, so what the hey. Maybe I’ll try starting some seeds too. I love their twinkly little star-shaped florets! Seed available from  Geo , but only for the blue variety. Check out  PanAm  for the rest of the series, though honestly I don’t know how to buy seed from them.

Trachelium, Trachelium caeruleum, ‘Lake Series’: This looks like a lovely filler flower, in blue and white shades. Specialty Cut Flowers says that most growers buy plugs because of the long propagation time. Farmer Bailey is selling plugs this year, so what the hey. Maybe I’ll try starting some seeds too. I love their twinkly little star-shaped florets! Seed available from Geo, but only for the blue variety. Check out PanAm for the rest of the series, though honestly I don’t know how to buy seed from them.

Strawflower,  Helichrysum bracteatum , ‘Copper Red’, ‘Purple Red’, ‘Pomegranate’:  Nothing will ever replace Johnny’s Apricot/Peach mix, but these new single colors of strawflower are really making me happy. And yeah, maybe I don’t need 3 different shades of red strawflower. Who asked you anyway!? LOL.  Johnny’s  is selling ‘Copper Red’ and ‘Purple Red’, while  Floret  has ‘Pomegranate’ and ‘Dragon Fire’ - which looks to be the same as ‘Purple Red’. Image from Johnny’s.

Strawflower, Helichrysum bracteatum, ‘Copper Red’, ‘Purple Red’, ‘Pomegranate’: Nothing will ever replace Johnny’s Apricot/Peach mix, but these new single colors of strawflower are really making me happy. And yeah, maybe I don’t need 3 different shades of red strawflower. Who asked you anyway!? LOL. Johnny’s is selling ‘Copper Red’ and ‘Purple Red’, while Floret has ‘Pomegranate’ and ‘Dragon Fire’ - which looks to be the same as ‘Purple Red’. Image from Johnny’s.

Zinnia,  Zinnia elegans,  ‘Cresto Mix,’ ‘Mazurkia’, ‘State Fair’:  As I mentioned in my 2018 variety review post, I never get double flowers on the crested zinnias like Zinderella. ‘Cresto Mix’ from Geo promises 75% double flowers - we’ll see! ‘Mazurkia’ is a bicolor zinnia that normally wouldn’t strike my fancy, but hey, I already have 25 varieties of zinns to plant, so what’s one more, eh? Maybe I’ll suprise myself. Seeds from  Geo , Floret, Baker Creek, Harris, Swallowtail. ‘State Fair’ is a variety with absolutely HUGE flowers, all at least 5” across and very productive for all that. They’re also reliably double. I grew them as a landscaping cut in 2018 and just fell in love - I thought they were incredible.

Zinnia, Zinnia elegans, ‘Cresto Mix,’ ‘Mazurkia’, ‘State Fair’: As I mentioned in my 2018 variety review post, I never get double flowers on the crested zinnias like Zinderella. ‘Cresto Mix’ from Geo promises 75% double flowers - we’ll see! ‘Mazurkia’ is a bicolor zinnia that normally wouldn’t strike my fancy, but hey, I already have 25 varieties of zinns to plant, so what’s one more, eh? Maybe I’ll suprise myself. Seeds from Geo, Floret, Baker Creek, Harris, Swallowtail. ‘State Fair’ is a variety with absolutely HUGE flowers, all at least 5” across and very productive for all that. They’re also reliably double. I grew them as a landscaping cut in 2018 and just fell in love - I thought they were incredible.

Petunia,  Petunia grandiflora,  ‘Allegra Mix’:  With all the interest in pansies as cut flowers, I thought I’d take a look at this other old-fashioned bedding plant. I really want it to be a cut flower!! It’s got these huge double ruffly petals, and supposedly gets 30” tall. Seeds from  Geo , through  Farao.

Petunia, Petunia grandiflora, ‘Allegra Mix’: With all the interest in pansies as cut flowers, I thought I’d take a look at this other old-fashioned bedding plant. I really want it to be a cut flower!! It’s got these huge double ruffly petals, and supposedly gets 30” tall. Seeds from Geo, through Farao.

Stock,  Matthiola incana , ‘Iron’ Series, ‘Vintage Brown’ : I’m always looking for new stock varieties - the ones that are going to have gorgeous long stems that are so strong they don’t need netting - that don’t mind growing outdoors in my hot sunny climate - the ones that will be 100% double without selection - the ones whose florets can’t be knocked off by the slightest whisper! I may be dreaming. But I am excited to grow the Iron Series, which you can find at  Johnny’s  or through Geo - its spikes look dense and its stems look super strong, and the ‘Marine’ color is enchanting. ‘Vintage Brown’ can be had from  Floret  or  Geo . This one is a bedding stock, and it’s not supposed to get taller than 10”, but look at the COLOR!

Stock, Matthiola incana, ‘Iron’ Series, ‘Vintage Brown’: I’m always looking for new stock varieties - the ones that are going to have gorgeous long stems that are so strong they don’t need netting - that don’t mind growing outdoors in my hot sunny climate - the ones that will be 100% double without selection - the ones whose florets can’t be knocked off by the slightest whisper! I may be dreaming. But I am excited to grow the Iron Series, which you can find at Johnny’s or through Geo - its spikes look dense and its stems look super strong, and the ‘Marine’ color is enchanting. ‘Vintage Brown’ can be had from Floret or Geo. This one is a bedding stock, and it’s not supposed to get taller than 10”, but look at the COLOR!

Annual Phlox,  Phlox drummondii , ‘Créme Brulee’, ‘Whipped Cream’:  So pleased to see these new colors of phlox! Though phlox is one of those crops that can be frustrating, when it won’t germinate or when it starts flowering on teeny tiny little stems, when it’s good, it’s great. One of those fantastic fluttery blooms that make everything seem more delicate and feminine. It’s nice to see a pure white phlox, and then this brown/cafe au lait color. ‘Cherry Caramel’ and ‘Blushing Bride’ are still excellent choices as well. Seeds from  Floret  and  Select Seeds.

Annual Phlox, Phlox drummondii, ‘Créme Brulee’, ‘Whipped Cream’: So pleased to see these new colors of phlox! Though phlox is one of those crops that can be frustrating, when it won’t germinate or when it starts flowering on teeny tiny little stems, when it’s good, it’s great. One of those fantastic fluttery blooms that make everything seem more delicate and feminine. It’s nice to see a pure white phlox, and then this brown/cafe au lait color. ‘Cherry Caramel’ and ‘Blushing Bride’ are still excellent choices as well. Seeds from Floret and Select Seeds.

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I’m always trying strange new things that don’t work out. Last year it was Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ and scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) ‘Pink Lady’, plus black-eyed susan vine, cypress vine, and some very sad little Linaria . . . those guys didn’t make it onto this year’s list. Some of that was probably due to user error, and some of it was just that they didn’t make good cutting material. The beautiful thing about flower farming is that every season brings a new chance to try, to fail, and to make discoveries big and small. I’m so grateful I get to be in this life, and in this community with all of you. I’ll be at the ASCFG Conference in Denver and I can’t wait to meet everyone. Maybe I’ll write a blog about it. . .

Please leave a comment! I’d love to know what you’re growing that’s new to you.

Thanks for reading!