Best Annuals for Cutting
Look to these wonderful annual plants if you want to grow your own cut flowers.
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Ageratum dependably produce clusters of small, fluffy blooms in white, blue, or lavender from early summer through fall. Varieties range in height from 6 to 30 inches tall. Taller types are very good cut flowers. Grows well in sun, or in partial shade in hot, dry climates.
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Excellent for both containers and beds and borders, calendula is an easy-to-grow, old-fashioned annual that produces 2- to 4-inch-wide, often double, daisylike flowers on sturdy branched stems. Calendula does best in cool conditions.
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An old-fashioned favorite annual in cottage gardens, bachelor's button is easy to grow and adaptable, producing beautiful, frilly, single, semidouble, and double blooms in white, blue, pink, or purple. Blooming in early summer to midsummer and intermittently to early frost, it is excellent for cutting and drying.
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Bearing tall stems of spurred flowers, larkspur is an annual cousin of the magnificent perennial delphinium. The blue, white, lilac, pink, or peach flowers emit a light scent and are held above a mass of lacy, dark green foliage. They are wonderful cut flowers. Larkspur can grow to 4 feet tall, so it's a good plant to add to the back of a garden or along fences or walls.
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These old-fashioned favorites, members of the genus Dianthus, are grown for their pink, white, or red spicy fragrant flowers and their often-evergreen clumps or mats of gray-blue, grassy leaves. Taller types are excellent for cutting. Dianthus includes both annual and perennial types, with the perennial types suited to Zones 3 to 9.
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These tender bulbs are planted starting in spring, then every few weeks to ensure continuous bloom. An elegant flower, glads have tall spikes crowded with ruffled flowers that face the same direction and open from the bottom of the stem up. In cold climates, the bulbs (technically called corms) must be dug up and stored in a cool location that will not freeze.
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Annual sunflowers are a mainstay in North American gardens. This native annual is grown for its beautiful flowers and edible seeds. While the most recognizable sunflower has a ring of golden yellow petals around a huge brown center on a very tall stalk, many more subtle varieties have been developed that vary in both size and color, including white, orange, and deep red varieties.
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Prized for their pretty, intensely fragrant flowers, most sweet peas are grown as cool-season annual vines, reaching 4 to 6 feet tall, but some are bushy 1- to 3-foot-tall dwarfs. All produce lovely clusters of 1-inch long, pea-type flowers in white, light orange, yellow, lavender, blue, red, purple; some produce bicolor flowers. Longer-stemmed types are classic cut flowers.
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A garden cool-season annual favorite for its strong, sweet-and-spicy scent, stock is an old-fashioned cut flower. Double flower types form solid spires of blossoms while single forms are wispy. The tall column types are usually available only as cut flowers from florists and need five months of temperatures below 65 degrees F. Dwarf types grow just 8 to 15 inches and tend to be more heat-tolerant.
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Garden stalwarts, zinnias have been a favorite for generations. They're a snap to start from seed and their bright colors are wonderful for late-summer bouquets.