10 cut flowers to grow from seed

Growing cut flowers from seed is much more satisfying – not to mention cheaper – than buying them. Many flowers for cutting are also attractive to pollinating insects. They'll enjoy them outdoors, then you can enjoy them indoors. And by growing cut flowers in your own garden, rather than paying for blooms that have been shipped halfway across the world, you're doing your bit to reduce air miles.

Cut flowers are easy to grow from seed, and if you stagger the sowings they'll bloom for months. Whether you favour architectural simplicity or want to capture the essence of your entire garden in a vase, a selection of half-hardy and hardy annuals will do the trick. Find out how to grow cut flowers for every season.

Aim to grow a range of flowers and foliage with complementary or contrasting colours and textures. Attractive bouquets and arrangements combine strong structural elements with fillers and foliage to bulk out and meld the dominant ingredients. Good staying power is also important – flowers for cutting should have a good vase life and long, strong stems.

Here are 10 cut flowers to grow from seed.

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Ammi majus

Bishop's Weed, Ammi majus, is a 'posh' form of cow parsley. The lacy flowerheads are very graceful and they have excellent vase life. Butterflies and bees find them irresistible.
Sow: direct from March to May.
Height x spread: 90cm x 50cm

Antirrhinum

Snapdragons, Antirrhinum, are every child's favourite. They also make long-lasting cut flowers. Choose a vibrant variety that packs a powerful punch.
Sow: under cover from Jan to March
Height x spread: 70cm x 60cm

Cleome

Flowering for months, cleome comes in shades of pink, mauve and white. But take care when cutting and arranging – the stems can have vicious spines.
Sow: under cover from February to April
Height x spread: 120-150cm x 45cm

Cosmos

Daisy shapes such as cosmos make perfect cut flowers and are invaluable for pollinators. Cosmos 'Rubenza' is a shorter variety, so doesn't need staking, and its deep red blooms last until the first frosts.
Sow: under cover from February to May
Height x spread: 75cm x 40cm

Dill

Some herbs make great cut flowers. Dill produces large, starburst umbels, which help to support the stems of other flowers and knit them together visually.
Sow: direct from March to June
Height x spread: 90cm x 40cm

Linaria

Easy to grow, toadflax, Linaria, bears masses of tiny flowers – for months on end – that resemble miniature snapdragons. Cutting encourages more flowers.
Sow: direct from March to May
Height x spread: 60cm x 15cm

Mexican sunflower

Also known as tithonia, Mexican sunflower adds heat to a bouquet, particularly the orange variety 'Torch'.
Sow: under cover from March to April
Height x spread: 120cm x 45cm

Rudbeckia

Lasting for up to two weeks in a vase, coneflowers, Rudbeckia, make impressive late summer cut blooms. Try a vibrant yellow, like 'Marmalade', or a rich ruby red.
Sow: under cover February to April
Height x spread: 45cm x 25cm

Sweet pea

Sweet peas come in a mind-boggling range of colours, produce blooms for as long as you keep cutting and are famously fragrant. No garden should be without them.
Sow: under cover from January to March
Height x spread: 180cm x 45cm

Verbena bonariensis

Slender Verbena bonariensis stems topped with tiny violet flowers are elegant in a vase. Searing the cut ends in a little boiling water stops the petals dropping.
Sow: under cover from February to May
Height x spread: 120cm x 30cm

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