Best Perennials for Cut Flowers

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Perennial Cutting Garden

It’s easy to love perennials, which return year after year. And that’s especially true when their blossoms work well in cut flower arrangements.

Here are four perennials that grow well in your garden, supply plenty of flowers and look terrific in a vase too:

Yarrow: These carefree flowers (Zones 3 to 10) are not only pretty, they also are easy to grow and drought tolerant when established.  Although birds and bees love this plant, rabbits and deer typically leave yarrow alone.  

Shown here in yellow, the hardy perennials also come in colors from white to pink to red.  Yarrow thrives in hot, dry conditions with well-drained soil.  If it hasn’t rained at least an inch during the week, however, give these heat-lovers supplemental water at the roots.

These summer-bloomers look pretty in fresh and everlasting bouquets.  Mix yarrow with other summer favorites in vases. Or, air-dry yarrow by hanging it upside down in a dark, cool place for about one to two weeks. Once dried, yarrow will last months or years. The dried flowers are a pretty reminder of your garden’s summer beauty, which is especially nice on those cold, stormy days when you’re stuck indoors.

Perinnial Cutting Garden Forever-Susan'

Asiatic Lilies: These dramatic flowering bulbs come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, from one to six feet tall. They are among the earliest to bloom and easiest to grow among the lilies. Shown above is Lilium Asiatic ‘Forever Susan’, which adds orange and burgundy drama to the early-summer garden. This lily will grow two to three feet tall in full sun to partial shade  (Zones 3 to 10).

For cut flowers, choose lily buds that are just about to open. You should be able to see a little flower color inside.

Here’s a tip received from a professional florist: When the lilies open, carefully wipe away the orange pollen-coated tips (called anthers) at the end of the stamens. Removing the anthers will prevent the pollen from staining clothes or furniture, and help the lilies bloom longer. Lilies bloom in succession, so you can cut away spent flowers close to the stem for a cleaner look in your arrangements.

Perinnial Cutting Garden Shasta-Daisies

Shasta Daisies: These cheerful flowers (Zones 5 to 8) bloom from late-spring or early-summer to fall. Plant these perennials in full sun with moist, but well-drained soil.  They are low-maintenance when planted in healthy, not overly rich soil, and attracted plenty of butterflies.

In arrangements, Shasta daisies have a sturdy stem and long-lasting blossoms. Pretty alone or mixed with other flowers, these flowers add old-fashioned charm and beauty inside your home too.

Perinnial Cutting Garden pruning roses

Roses: These popular flowering shrubs are often called the queens of the garden, thanks to their amazing colors and (sometimes) wonderful fragrances.
Roses grow throughout the United States, but it’s best to find the varieties that thrive in your area. These plants like a rich soil for best results; add plenty of organic matter such as compost, well-aged manures and worm castings.  Make sure your roses have at least six hours of sun daily, and aren’t crowded together. Watering roses at the roots with soaker hoses or drip irrigation helps prevent fungal diseases.  

When pruning roses, it’s best to cut the stems at an angle, ¼ inch above an outward facing leaf bud. Prune above any sets of five leaves to encourage more flowering.

Some experts recommend placing cut roses in a cool spot for several hours to let the blossoms recuperate before being adding to a flower arrangement. I’ve never been that patient myself, but I do keep my rose arrangements in a cool area out of the direct sun.

As with other flowers, always remove foliage that falls below the water line for longer-lasting bouquets.