You can save a fortune on cut flowers if you grow your own, but considering the enormous choice out there, deciding what to grow can be tricky. To set the ball rolling, we’ve shared ten blooms that look equally lovely in the garden or a vase. If you’re looking to brighten up your home, here’s our ‘pick’ of the best ten cut flowers to grow:
Read on to find out why each of these varieties won a coveted spot in our top ten. And for even more inspiration, browse our full range of colourful flower seeds here.
The ultimate 'cut and come again' cut flower, sweet peas used to be a popular glasshouse variety but are now mainly grown in the garden. There are plenty of colours to choose from, but a good mix of shades makes the prettiest posies.
Old fashioned grandiflora types often have the best scent - try Sweet Pea 'Scent Infusion' for fragrant and colourful blooms that are ideal for regular picking. Benefiting from a long, robust stem, this sweet pea is a joy to see growing up your garden trellis or obelisk, but also looks divine as an informal display indoors. Cut the flowers just as the lowest bloom is opening and put them in water immediately for a longer vase life.
Oriental lilies are a top choice for fragrance and glamorous trumpet shaped blooms. You only need a few stems to make a dramatic and exotic-looking cut flower display, and there are lots of different lilies that can be grown as a cut flower.
The only problem with these wonderful flowers is that their pollen can stain clothes. To solve this issue, try gently removing the stamens from lilies as they open or grow sterile, double varieties like Tree Lily 'Crystal Collection' which are completely pollen free. Remember, when cutting lily stems from the garden it's important to leave a third of the stem intact in order to feed the bulb for the following year.
Sunflowers make the cheeriest cut flowers and never fail to raise a smile. They're very easy to grow and won't require any special attention - simply sow your sunflower seeds directly into the ground where you want them to flower.
For cutting, it's best to choose multi-headed varieties such as Sunflower 'Harlequin' to give you lots of blooms. Cut the stems just before the flowers fully open, and strip the lower foliage from the stem leaving just a few leaves at the top to help fill out your bouquet. Use sharp secateurs to cut sunflowers early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cool.
For an early blaze of colour, plant lots of tulip bulbs so that you’ll be able to cut plenty for your home without denting your garden display. Cut tulips are thirsty flowers so keep an eye on the fluid level in your vase and be sure to avoid mixing your cut tulips with daffodils. Narcissus species exude a substance that prevents your tulips (and other cut flowers) from taking up water.
Tulips come in such a beguiling range of colours that you’ll be spoiled for choice. That’s why we love Tulip 'Everlasting' Mixture. Sturdy and colourful, they’re guaranteed to flower the first year you plant them, and of course, they’ll come back time after time.
The flamboyant, tall stems of Gladioli are superb for adding height and drama to flower arrangements. There are plenty to choose from but our favourite is a modern hybrid - Gladiolus 'Tango'. Its exquisite, ruffled, mauve pink blooms make such wonderful cut flowers.
Cut gladioli flowers just as the lowest two or three florets begin to open, but try to leave as many leaves as possible to feed the bulb for next year. Gladioli flowers will generally all reach maturity at about the same time, but if you want to prolong the cutting season, plant at two week intervals so that they mature over a longer period.
No list of recommendations for cut flowers would be complete without a rose. Growing these beautiful blooms for cut flowers takes a little more work than growing them as garden shrubs, but the results are well worth the effort. Choose varieties carefully to ensure the nicest form and longest stems. And when growing roses for cut flowers, be ruthless and remove any poorly placed flower buds to direct energy into the best blooms.
For our top pick, we’re going for hybrid tea rose 'Breeders Choice Pink'. Each stem of this nicely-branched rose bush bears an individual, perfectly formed, stunning pink rose bloom. What more can you ask from a cut flower?
The silvery-blue foliage of eucalyptus gunnii makes it a fantastic filler for vases, bouquets, and larger flower arrangements. We particularly love Eucalyptus gunnii 'Azura' for its attractive, rounded, silver-blue leaves that provide shape and texture for formal and relaxed displays. Eucalyptus has a sensational vase life, easily lasting more than 3 weeks, and is often the 'last man standing' in any vase.
Florists use the juvenile foliage of Eucalyptus which is more rounded and attractive than that found on mature plants. Grow your Eucalyptus as a coppiced plant, pruning hard each year to encourage a constant supply of immature stems for cutting.
Dianthus, the family of plants which includes Carnations, Pinks and Sweet Williams, boasts some of the best known of all cut flowers. Dianthus 'Scented Mix' provides traditional flowers, but it's worth trying something different if you’re growing your own flowers for cutting.
Our top choice is Dianthus 'Rainbow Loveliness Improved Mixed' which we love for its unusual feathery blooms. Regular cutting will help to ensure a long flowering season, but do avoid standing carnation arrangements in direct light or they will quickly fade.
Peonies are prized for their beautiful, large blooms. Just a few stems are enough to create a stunning arrangement, which is good because it’s best to use restraint when growing peonies as cut flowers. Take just a few blooms from each plant and avoid cutting stems from those that are less than three years old, or the plant can suffer.
The flowers from herbaceous peonies like Peony 'Eden's Perfume' should be cut just before they open, when the buds feel soft between your finger and thumb. Cutting double peonies too early may prevent the buds from opening, so it's worth being patient with them. Single flowered peonies can be cut at a slightly less advanced stage if necessary, while the buds are swollen but still firm.
Delicate and graceful Gypsophila is particularly useful as a filler for softening bouquets and adding a frothy haze of tiny blooms to your cut flower arrangements. This well-loved cut flower can be sown outdoors into its final position each spring. To prolong the flowering season and provide you with plenty of blooms, stagger your sowings.
We love Gypsophila elegans 'Covent Garden' which has white or pink edible flowers with a mild, slightly sweet flavour. Before cutting each stem it's best to wait until most of the flowers on the stem have opened. Keep vases away from fruit bowls. Like many flowers, Gypsophila is particularly sensitive to ethylene given off by fruit and vegetables which causes cut flowers to deteriorate faster.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our pick of the best cut flowers to grow at home. If you’d like to discover more about growing traditional cut flowers, head over to our roses hub page for a wealth of information and advice.