Top Flower Picks for a Summer Cutting Garden

Updated on May 1, 2019
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Linda enjoys tending her plants and flowers. She has written a variety of gardening articles for a number of nationally known publications.

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You probably spend a lot of time and energy cultivating a dazzling summer flower garden only to rob the cuttings for beautiful indoor arrangements. So what do you do? This summer try planting two separate beds—one in the front strictly for aesthetics and one in the back for cuttings.

Now that you've got that problem solved it’s time to select flower varieties that will make the most of your summer bouquets. We’ve researched the top flowers that not only look fabulous in the garden but also in arrangements. Our favorites were chosen based on their bloom times, vase life and unique appearance.

Asters

Few flowers will brighten a bouquet like these hardy little perennials. They produce continuous blooms from summer into fall. People often mistake them for daisies because of their long slender petals surrounding the bright yellow center.

Choose from 180 aster varieties in a lovely range of colors including purple, pink and white. Asters are perfect for fresh summer arrangements and can be dried and used during any season.

Asters come in a variety of colors for use in floral arrangements..
Asters come in a variety of colors for use in floral arrangements.. | Source

Sedum

These perennials feature succulent leaves and stems crowned with tight clusters of small blooms. Sedum is an easy-care plant that tolerates summer heat and drought conditions. Raspberry, blue, yellow and variegated varieties are just a sampling of their color options.

“Autumn Joy”, “Frosty Morn” and “Matrona” are some of the taller varieties that make the best cut flowers. Choose stems with clusters of full blooms and cut the base of the stem at a 45-degree angle. Place them immediately in water and they’ll last up to a week or longer.

These delicate perennials are used for cuttings from early spring to fall.
These delicate perennials are used for cuttings from early spring to fall. | Source

Peonies

These flowers resemble roses on steroids with their ample, lush blooms that herald the beginning of summer. The perennials are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Peonies are quick growers and seem to produce masses of flowers overnight. This means you must be resourceful in order to extend the blooms for floral arrangements.

When the blossoms first show a tiny sliver of color, cut the stems and remove most of the leaves. Wrap several stems together in tissue paper, indicating the cutting date on the outside. Place them in the refrigerator and take the stems as you need them. Recut the stems and place them in water. Within a couple of days you’ll have full peony blooms.

Even though they’re early bloomers, you can enjoy their lush greenery all summer. The deep green mounded plants are beautiful on their own. You can also use the foliage during mid to late summer for flower arrangements.

Peonies are flamboyant blooms that give a bouquet a lush appearance.
Peonies are flamboyant blooms that give a bouquet a lush appearance. | Source

Yarrow

Yarrow’s delicate and aromatic blossoms are well-suited for floral arrangements and a great addition to your perennial garden. This drought-tolerant plant features flat-topped flower clusters in shades of yellow, white and pink, just to name a few.

Most yarrow plants are roughly 2 feet tall making them the perfect size for flower arrangements. Cut the stem at about 18 inches and remove the leaves. Keep the stems in cool water and they will last a week to ten days.

Yarrow provides a sweet fragrance that wafts throughout the room.
Yarrow provides a sweet fragrance that wafts throughout the room. | Source

Dahlias

Big, bold blooms and a rainbow of vivid colors are the hallmarks of dahlias. These tuberous flowers are spectacular in the garden and in an arrangement all to themselves. They possess the best characteristics of both annuals and perennials. They bloom continually and will come back each year if protected from freezes.

Dahlias are ideal cutting flowers. The more you cut them the more buds they will produce. Their vase life is between four to ten days. Beginning in late spring you’ll find dahlias at the nursery in 1 gallon pots or you can plant them from tubers in early spring.

Dahlias are large flowers that can last in a vase at least a week.
Dahlias are large flowers that can last in a vase at least a week. | Source

Russian Sage

While not commonly recognized as a cut flower, Russian sage is a unique filler for floral arrangements. Their tall silvery stems are covered in hundreds of tiny deep blue blooms that contrast beautifully with dense, gray-green foliage.

Russian sage produces blooms from mid to late summer and resembles a low growing shrub. It is a very easy plant to cultivate. In fact they almost thrive on neglect making them perfect for dry, hot zones with minimal irrigation.

Long stalks of tiny blue blooms make for an unusual filler for an arrangement.
Long stalks of tiny blue blooms make for an unusual filler for an arrangement. | Source

Penstemons

These dense plants may not produce blooms for long but from early to mid summer they will provide you with prolific tubular flowers along the tall stems. Penstemon is a western U.S. native plant that loves heat and sun. Also known as beardtongue this prairie flower attracts hummingbirds and looks right at home in wildflower gardens.

Penstemon spikes grow 1 to 3 feet tall and come in a range of colors including blue, pink, purple, red and white depending on the variety. They are an easy care and low maintenance plant and a great source for cut flowers. Penstemon’s unusual trumpet-shaped blossoms work very well in simple arrangements.

Purple passion penstemons create simple floral arrangements.
Purple passion penstemons create simple floral arrangements. | Source

Begonias

We’re used to seeing begonias in pots or as border plants but not necessarily in flower arrangements. These annuals are highly regarded for their exquisite colors such as red, salmon, yellow and pink. They thrive in warm, moist climates and bloom throughout the summer months. They do particularly well in shade and partial shade making them a versatile addition to north-facing gardens.

You may not realize it but begonias make fabulous cut flowers. They mix well with other garden bloomers but really shine when arranged in a casual bouquet of begonias in varying colors. Consider using fancy begonia leaves as foliage filler for your flower arrangements.

These small, gorgeous blossoms can be used in casual bouquets.
These small, gorgeous blossoms can be used in casual bouquets. | Source

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    © 2019 Linda Chechar

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