Jean Starr is a freelance writer, blogger and speaker as well as a member of Garden Writers Association. Visit her blog at or visit

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Two Dozen Cut Flowers You Must Grow in 2016
by Jean Starr    

Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’, Heuchera ‘Autumn Bride’, Hypericum inodorum and variegated Phlox spp. cool off the hot shades of Zinnia spp. The Easy Arranger wire frame makes it easy to shape the bouquet in a wide-mouthed vase.

Grow the best flowers for stunning indoor arrangements

No matter what size your garden, you can have a bouquet in the making if you plant a few key plants. From long-lasting coral bell leaves to daffodils or hellebores, it’s likely you’re already growing some of the best flowers for a stunning indoor arrangement. 

Sizeable bouquets benefit from a focal point of large flowers — think Hydrangea spp., Dahlia spp., Paeonia spp. and Lilium spp. As extravagant as these show-offs tend to be, they’re often improved by some smaller flowers and greenery. In addition to the big, show-off flowers, tuck a few of these into your garden for great backdrops in a vase.

Allium carinatum ssp. pulchellum adds life to this bouquet of ornamental oregano, echinacea, lilies, larkspur, hydrangea, bell flowers (Campanulas spp.) and Hypericum spp. The Easy Arranger fitted over the opening of the vase keeps the stems straight.

Some plants most gardeners already have can contribute extra charm to a fresh bouquet. The variegated Phlox ‘Nora Leigh’ should be grown more for its foliage than its flowers; the leaves of Heuchera last for nearly a week in a vase. Bread poppies (Papaver somniferum) can be easily started from seed; the double forms mimic peonies in July. One of the easiest-to-grow American native perennials looks great in a vase: Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia grandiflora). Barbara’s buttons will grow well in partial shade, and their pale pink flowers provide dots of color in any arrangement. 

This allium blooms in July on 18-inch stems, making it a great addition to bouquets.

Vase Shapes and Aids for Arrangements     

One of the most useful vase shapes has a semi-narrow body with a wider opening. These provide support for stems, allowing them to curve at the top of the arrangement. The wire supports by Easy Arranger ( are great to use with a variety of vase shapes and sizes, or look for small grouped vases like the Pooley 2 ( And whether they’re called frogs or forms, aids to design can be found at specialty sites or created inexpensively with clear Scotch tape or chicken wire.


Try these this season

Once only available to florists, gardeners now can grow Hypericum inodorum like this ‘Mystical Beauty’ in their own gardens.

Like peonies in July, double-flowered bread poppies mix with Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia grandiflora), larkspur and roses.

1. Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’

2. Allium spp.

3. Asters (Symphyotrichum spp.)

4. Astilbe spp.

5. Astrantia spp.

6. Campanula spp.

7. Celosia spp.

8. Cosmos spp.

9. Dahlia spp.

10. Dill (Anethum graveolens)

11. Echinacea spp.

12. Eucomis spp.

13. Euphorbia spp.

14. Heuchera spp.

15. Hypericum inodorum - First Editions series 

16. Hydrangea spp.

17. Kniphofia spp.

18. Larkspur (Delphinium consolida)

19. Lilies (Lilium spp.)

20. Marshallia spp.

21. Peonies (Paeonia spp.)

22. Phlox spp.

23. Poppies (Papaver spp.)

24. Zinnias spp.










A version of this article appeared in a January/February 2016 print edition of State-by-State Gardening.
Photography by Jean Starr, Bailey Nurseries, and First Editions.


Posted: 04/06/16   RSS | Print


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