Cut flowers are usually annuals grown from seed, but perennials make good cut flowers, too. Either raid your borders, or grow them as a permanent, lower maintenance fixture in a cut flower patch.
Discover 10 cut flowers to grow from seed.
If you’re growing perennials as part of a cut flower patch, grow them rows as opposed to in groups or drifts as you would in the border – this will make weeding easier. Choose a sunny site, and incorporate plenty of organic matter before planting.
The perennials below all make great cut flowers.
Hellebores flower in late winter, when there is little else to pick in the garden. Wait until the stamens have dropped from the centre of the flower – they’ll last longer in a vase this way. Alternatively, float the cut flowerheads in a shallow bowl of water.
Peonies make wonderful cut flowers and have a long vase life. They are expensive to buy in the shops, so it’s well worth growing your own. You’ll need to be patient, though – it can take a few years for your plant to produce enough blooms for cutting. Plant bare-root, in a sunny spot.
Opening buds of peony ‘Coral Charm’
Towering delphiniums in shades of blue look incredible at the back or a border – and in a vase. Wait until most of the flowers are open before cutting. They like well drained soil and plenty of feeding. Stake your plants and protect them from slugs, which adore them.
Vibrant blue delphiniums
Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle) has frothy, acid-yellow flowers in summer, and fresh, apple-green leaves. It’s a great foil for showier flowers, such as sweet peas and roses, in a vase.
Lime flowers of lady’s mantle
Phlox are an essential part of a cottage garden and in a range of colours, from white to pink to blue. They make an excellent cut flower too, with the added bonus of a heady scent. Cut when the flowers are just fully open. Grow them in rich, fertile soil in a sunny spot.
Gypsophila, such as Gypsophila ‘Summer Sparkles’ (baby’s breath) produces sprays of tiny white flowers in summer. The long-lasting flowers look good in a vase and are a useful ‘filler’ plant when combined with other cut flowers. The flowers can also be dried.
Tiny pastel pink flowers of Gypsophila ‘Pink Sugar Dot’
Penstemons are excellent garden plants, with long-lasting flowers from summer into autumn. The bell-shaped flowers, ranging in colour from white to dark red, look surprisingly good in a vase too. Grow in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained soil.
Spires of bell-shaped pink penstemons
Echinops ritro (globe thistle) is a stunning, unusual plant for the back of a border and makes an eye-catching cut flower. Grow in full sun or partial shade and cut down the plant after flowering to encourage it to produce more blooms.
Spiky, blue globe thistle orbs
Verbena bonariensis is invaluable in the garden for adding height and an airy feel, and it makes a good cut flower, too – the flattened flowerheads contrast well with other flower forms. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun.
Mauve verbena flowers
Japanese anemones are great for lighting up borders in autumn and are a welcome addition to a vase when other plants are past their best. Grow in moist, well drained soil in sun or shade and mulch annually with well-rotted manure.
Pink Japanese anemone