We are going to continue our selections of flowers and plants that you can grow in a cutting garden. On our last post we let you know about our choices for annuals and perennials. This post we will focus on bulbs and foliage.

Bulbs

Allium – these eye-catching ornamental onions are easy to grow. There are over 700 species to make your selection from, so it will be hard to choose. Some are tiny and grow 6-inches high and others can grow up to five feet tall. Some have round spherical blooms and others look like bursts of fireworks.  The most popular flower colors are pink and purple but there are also some that come in white, caeruleum (blue) and yellow. Alliums tend to bloom later in the spring. As previously, mentioned these plants are part of the onion family so critters will leave them alone as they are repelled by the strong scent. These plants might also protect your other plants too.  These bulbs are planted in the fall.

Calla Lily - Calla Lilies have trumpet-like shapes and bloom in an array of colors. Calla Liles like to be planted in partial to full sun and need to be watered regularly.  A partial shaded area is best. They look great in a flower bed or as a border and can be grown in containers too. They also can be grown indoors.  They are fairly easy to grow and do not need a lot of attention.  Plant them in the spring for summer blooms. They will need to be kept moist during the growing season. After they bloom you can withhold water. If you live in a cooler climate they would be considered an annual and need to be dug up. These long lasting flowers are great for cutting and using in a bouquet.

Dahlias – 2019 is the year of the Dahlia, so it is fitting we include them in cutting garden. Dahlias are one of our favorite flowers.  These colorful, daisy-like flowers bloom in many different colors and they bloom from mid-summer to first frost. You plant these tubers in the springtime. Dahlias prefer moist, moderate climates, so they are not suited for extremely hot climates in locations like Florida and Texas. These flowers struggle in cold weather so don’t be in a rush to get them in the ground.  They love being in the morning sun. Plant them in a location where they are protected from the wind since many varieties will grow over 4-feet. Make sure when you plant them, you also put stakes in the ground. It makes it easier to do it early, so you are not stepping on the plants when you need to tie them up.  

Gladiolus – an old-fashioned favorite perennial known for its flower spikes.  This is another plant that will add height to your arrangement.  These flowers bloom in the mid-summer. A trick we learned for having these plants last longer is to plant a few bulbs every couple of weeks.  The flowers come in a variety of colors and many are sold as mixed colors. They will grow 2 – 5 feet. Some of the taller varieties might need to be staked.  In colder zones, you will have to remove and store the bulbs for the next season.  Gladiolus plants love the sun and well-drained soil. Plant them in the spring when the soil is warmer and after your last frost.

Ranunculus - Ranunculus have blooms that resemble a rose and are used frequently in floral arrangements and bouquets. The flowers can last for weeks. In warmer garden zones they can be planted in the fall for blooms the following spring. In cooler zones they are planted in the spring for blooms that arrive in time for the cooler temperatures of the fall.  Ranunculus bulbs need to be planted in soil that drains well as they will rot if they are left in standing water. They are treated as perennials in warmer gardens but are best treated as annuals elsewhere.

Tulips – these beautiful colored flowers announce the arrival of spring. They are available in many different colors and some are bi-colored. There are also many different types of tulips but they all have a cup-shape with some having fringed or pointed petals. Tulips are planted in the fall before the ground freezes, so if you are in a northern region you will plant them sooner than someone in a warmer location. Different varieties bloom at different times, so you can have flowers from early to late spring.  Tulips prefer full or afternoon sun. If you live in a warmer climate, make sure they just get the afternoon sun. Plant them in well-drained soil that is neutral to slightly acidic soil. 

Foliage

Coleus - Coleus are annuals whose foliage comes in many different shapes and colors. The last few years have introduced many new varieties of this plant that look fantastic mixed together or combined with flowers. These plants are easy to grow and long lasting. Many coleus plants can tolerate the morning sun but the colors will be richer in a shaded area.  Make sure to water this plant or the leaves will wilt. Coleus can also be a houseplant, just be sure to give it enough light and food.

Coral Bells - Coral Bells are perennial foliage plants. They are sometimes referred to as the “Coleus of the perennial world” and also are known as Heucheras or Alumroot. The leaves on this plant come in different shapes (rounded or heart-shaped) and can be variegated or ruffled. They are underutilized in the garden.  In the past they were known for their darker drab colors but they are now available in a variety of striking colors and have many flowers. Coral Bells bloom in late spring/early summer. These plants like the sun and partial shade, are low maintenance, and attract hummingbirds.  They do not like to stay too wet.  If you have clay soil, these might be the plants for you to try. They are hardy for zones 3-9.

Dusty Miller – this plant will add a touch of silver to your garden.  Silver foliage adds color and texture and in an arrangement helps transition one flower color to another.  They add some coolness to the arrangement and they blend well with any color.  Dusty Miller is an old time favorite and has lacy textured, soft silver leaves. Plant them in full sun, for the best color. If they are planted in a different environment they will be green.  They are hardy in zones 8 to 10 and are usually grown as an annual.

Hosta – Hosta is a shade- loving perennial. There are 70 species of hostas and over 3,000 varieties, so there are many to make a selection from. Many Hostas have small fragrant flowers.  Hostas are low maintenance and very long lasting. Plant these in the spring in moist rich soil and cool shade.  Be aware that these great growing conditions are also an ideal environment for slugs. There are hostas that have textured leaves and these varieties tend to be more slug-resistant than the smooth-leaved varieties. 

Sage – Sage adds some texture to arrangements. The soft gray green foliage and aroma look great with many flowers.  There are also burgundy and purple sage plants which can add some more novelty. Sage is easy to grow and if you live in zones 5 – 8, the plant is considered a hardy perennial. If you live in humid, warmer climates it is considered an annual as it does not tolerate summer heat and humidity. Sage needs to be planted in a sunny location and in well-drained soil.  Sage is a drought-tolerant herb, and even if the leaves look wilted a little water will awaken the plant.  Wait until the soil is dry to give it a full watering.

Share with us your favorite cutting garden flowers!

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