University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennials for Cut Flowers

Leonard P. Perry, Extension Professor

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The following are only a few of the more recent, proven or noteworthy selections useful for cut flowers in USDA zones 5 and colder. They include herbaceous perennials, few or no bulbs or woody species. All are hardy to at least zone 4 unless noted. Other more unusual species and cultivars may enable a product niche. Obviously plants can be purchased, but those also possible to grow reliably and easily from seeds are noted. Often species may be started from seeds, but not cultivars. Those marked * are toxic if eaten.

Abbreviations: bloom time—spr=spring, sum=summer; color—wht=white, org=orange, yel=yellow, gr=green, pur=purple, pk=pink, bi=bicolor; eth=ethylene sensitive, STS or silver thiosulfate often helps, in addition to keeping away from fresh produce; seeds—some=some cultivars only.

Genus Common name bloom time color(s) hgt, ft harvest stage, tips Eth. vase-life, days seeds
Achillea Yarrow summer many 2-4 visible pollen yes 7-12 some
Aconitum* Monkshood summer blue,pur 2-3 just opening, don't chill yes 7-10 no
Alchemilla Lady's Mantle spr-sum gr-yel 1-2 fully open   7 yes
Allium Ornamental Onions summer blue,pur 1-4 1/3 florets open, cool yes 7-14 some
Anemone Windflower early fall rose, wht 2-4 buds opening yes 5-10 no
Anthemis Marguerite Daisy summer wht,gold 2-3 just opening   10 no
Aquilegia Columbine spring many, bi 1-2 just opening yes 5-7 yes
Asclepias Milkweed, Butterflyweed summer several 2-4 mostly open, cool yes 5-8 yes
Aster Asters, Michelmas Daisy fall many 3-4 mostly open   5-10 some
Astilbe Astilbe, Plume Flower summer many 2-3 half open, hot water dip yes 4-12 no
Astrantia Masterwort summer red,pk,wht 2 upper flowers open   5-7 no
Campanula Bellflower summer blue,wht 2-4 half flowers open yes 5-16 some
Centaurea macrocephala summer gold 3-4 half open, warm water yes 5-7 yes
Centranthus Valerian, Wallflower summer red,wht,pk 2-3 first flowers open   7-10 yes
Cheiranthus Wallflower spring red,org,yel 2 first flowers open   4-6 yes
Genus Common name bloom time color(s) hgt, ft harvest stage, tips Eth. vase-life, days seeds
Chelone Turtlehead late summer pk 2 just opening yes 7 no
Chrysanthemum Shasta,Painted Daisies summer wht, many 2 fully open   7-10 no
Cirsium Japanese Thistle summer pk, red 2-3 fully open   5-7 yes
Coreopsis Tickseed summer yel,gold 2 fully open   7-10 some
Cynara Globe Artichoke summer pur 6 showing color   7-10 yes
Delphinium Perennial Larkspur summer several 3-6 half florets open yes 6-8 yes
Dianthus Sweet William spring several 1-2 flowers just opening yes 7-10 yes
Digitalis* Foxglove summer several 2-3 lower florets opening yes 10-14 yes
Doronicum Leopard's Bane summer yel,gold 2 flowers almost open   5 yes
Echinacea Cone Flower late summer pur,wht 2-3 petals exapnding   7-10 yes
Echinops Globe Flower summer blue 2-3 half globe blue   6-12 yes
Eremurus Foxtail Lily (zone 5) summer gold, other 4-8 half florets open yes 7 yes
Erigeron Fleabane summer several 1-2 just opening   7 some
Eryngium Sea Holly summer blue 1-2 fully open   10-12 some
Gaillardia Blanket Flower summer red,yel 2-3 fully open   7-10 yes
Gypsophila Baby's Breath summer wht 2-4 mostly open yes 5-10 some
Helenium Helen's Flower late summer org,red 3-5 mostly open   8-10 some
Heliopsis Ox-eye Daisy summer yel,gold 3-6 fully open   7-10 no
Helleborus Lenten Rose (zone 5) spring gr,wht 1-2 just open   5-7 no
Hesperis Sweet Rocket early summer lilac,wht 2-3 just opening, don't chill   5-7 yes
Heuchera Coral Bells summer red,pk,wht 2-3 half florets open   5-7 some
Hosta Plantain Lily, Funkia summer wht,lilac 2-4 showing color   7-10 no
Iberis Candytuft summer wht,pur,pk 1-2 starting to open   5-7 some
Iris Iris summer several 1-2 showing color yes 3-7 no
Kniphofia Torch Lily (zone 5) summer red,org,yel 2-3 lower florets opening yes 7-10 no
Lavender Lavender summer blue,wht 1-2 mostly open   10-14 no
Liatris Blazing Star summer pur,wht 2-3 top florets open   10-14 no
Lilium Lily summer many 2-4 buds in color yes 10-14 no
Genus Common name bloom time color(s) hgt, ft harvest stage, tips Eth. vase-life, days seeds
Limonium Sea Lavender summer blue 2 mostly open yes 10-14 no
Lobelia Lobelia (zones ?) summer red 2-4 buds in color   7-10 no
Lupinus Lupine summer various 2-3 mostly open buds yes 7 yes
Lysimachia Loosestrife summer yel,wht 2 about half open yes 5-10 yes
Monarda Bee Balm, Oswego Tea summer various 2-4 flowers opening   7 no
Paeonia Peony summer pk,red,wht 2-3 buds just in color   5-10 no
Phlox Phlox summer various 2-3 half flowers open yes 5-7 no
Physostegia False Dragonhead summer pk,wht 2 florets just opening yes 7-14 some
Platycodon Balloon Flower summer blue, wht 2 2-3 flowers open   5-7 some
Penstemon Beard Tongue (zones?) summer various 2-3 just opening yes 5-7 some
Rudbeckia Cone Flower summer yel, other 2 just opening yes 5-7 some
Salvia Sage (zones?) summer various 1-2 just opening   5-7 yes
Saponaria Soapwort summer yel,pk 1-2 just opening yes 5-7 yes
Scabiosa Scabious summer wht,pk 1-2 just opening yes 5-7 some
Sedum Stonecrop summer various 1-2 most florets opening   7-10 no
Solidago Goldenrod fall gold 2-4 few florets open yes 10 some
Thalictrum Meadow Rue summer pur 3-6 mostly open   7 no
Tricyrtis Toad Lily (zone 5) fall wht-pur 1-2 buds in color not open   10 no
Trollius Globe Flower early summer yel,org 1-2 petals opening yes 5-7 yes
Veronica Speedwell summer several 1-2 half florets open yes 7 some

 

Resources

Specialty Cut Flowers, Allan Armitage, Varsity/Timber Press, 1993.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, MPO Box 0268, Oberlin, OH 44074,

440-774-2887, http://www.ascfg.org

directory of suppliers and members, newsletter, meetings

Perry's Perennial Pages: http://www.uvm.edu/~pass/perry/


Return to Perry's Perennial Pages

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. Lawrence Forcier, Director, UVM Extension System, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension System and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone, without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status.

Created 12/10/98