14 cut flowers to grow in your garden
There’s nothing like a vase of freshly-cut flowers and there’s nothing like growing the flowers yourself. Discover 14 flowers that make the cut.
1. Kangaroo paw
Colourful and distinctive, kangaroo paw is one of the most recognised and rewarding natives you can grow and it makes an excellent cut flower. Varieties like Bush Pearl and Bush Pizzazz flower year round, while taller varieties push their energy into a shorter but no less dazzling flush of flowers from mid-spring to early autumn. Discover more kangaroo paw varieties.
With their short stems and big blooms, camellias are the perfect pick for a shallow vase or bowl. Sasanqua camellias flower from late summer to winter while camellia japonica will illuminate your garden from winter to spring. With huge variations in flower size, colour and shape, the hardest part will be picking a variety. Learn more about sasanqua camellias and japonica camellias.
Blooming from late summer to autumn and sometimes winter, tuberose brims with pretty, creamy-white flowers and an intense, elegant scent that is used in some of the world's best perfumes. The bulbs are easily grown in pots and the star-shaped flowers grow along the stem, making tuberose a wonderful addition to a tall vase. Discover 21 plants for a fragrant garden.
The most popular hydrangea variety you’ll find growing in Sydney gardens is the macrophylla hydrangea. This species is split into two camps: the mopheads, which burst forth with globe-shaped flowers and the lacecaps, which have flat flower heads. Both will look equally beautiful in your home. Before they go into your vase, bash the base of the stems to help the flowers take up water and last longer. Learn more about hydrangeas.
When it's not sold as a protea by florists (who don’t want to confuse customers with the long Greek name), leucospermum is often confused for a leucadendron. But unlike proteas and leucadendrons, which have showy bracts around their flower heads, a leucospermum flower is the star of the show. The beautiful, pincushion-like flowers are brilliantly coloured in red, orange or yellow and appear from spring to early summer. Learn more about leucospermum.
Big, bold and beautiful, proteas have distinctive flowers with a central boss surrounded by tough outer petals. These dramatic flowers are ancient plants linking our flora with that of South Africa. Varieties with some of the biggest blooms include King Pink and King White. Little Prince is a compact form - a good choice if you have a courtyard or balcony garden. Learn more about proteas.
Set against silvery-green foliage, dianthus features frilly, tufted white, pink, red or mauve flowers. Many dianthus boast two-coloured petals that are laced, flecked or picotee (an outer margin of another colour, usually red). Fragranced varieties will fill your home with a spicy clove-like scent. When picking flowers, break the stem off near the base of the plant. Learn more about dianthus.
8. Bouvardia humboldtii
With lush green leaves and clusters of crisp white blooms appearing from summer to autumn, bouvardia humboldtii not only makes a beautiful cut flower, it also boasts a spectacular fragrance. Bouvardia humboldtii can be grown in a pot, both indoors and in the garden, and it also makes a great addition to garden beds and borders. Discover more fragrant plants for your garden.
There are literally thousands of roses to choose from, but the best varieties are long-lasting with straight stems and a powerful scent. You might like to try Mister Lincoln, a hybrid tea rose with rich-red flowers. There's also Thank You, a deep pink variety or The Children’s Rose, which has powder pink petals. For something different, the Abracadabra rose is an extraordinary blend of red and yellow stripes. Discover more rose varieties.
The large stunning flowers of the lily are a florist staple, but why not grow your own? Like tulips and daffodils, lilies need leaves to build up nutrients for the next season's flowers, so when cutting, don’t remove more than one-third of the leaves or the plant won’t be able to rebuild itself to bloom next season. Morning is the best time to cut stems so they don't wilt. When selecting lilies for cutting, look for stems that have at least a couple of buds that are just about to open.
Nothing is quite as cheery as the bright face of a sunflower. In the garden, these captivating flowers turn their heads to follow the sun across the sky. But in your home, it'll be the sunflowers that turn heads. Avoid placing them in very cold or very hot water. To encourage more blooms, the best time to cut sunflowers is in the early morning, before the flower is fully open.
Few things are more beautiful than the sight of slender tulip blooms in a vase. Unlike most cut flowers, the less water tulips have in the vase, the better. With too much water, tulips will keep growing and eventually bend and break. Put a splash of bleach in the water - this will keep the water clear and give you fresh, beautiful tulips for up to a week. Planning to plant tulips? Here’s how to plant bulbs step-by-step.
Level up your cut flower game with the showy tall spires of gladiolus. Equally impressive is its range of colours, from the brightest of shades to delicate pastels. Thankfully ‘gladdies’, like most bulbs, are easy to grow. Cut the stem before the blooms have opened, when the first sign of colour appears. Leave about a third of the stem intact and try not to cut too many leaves, as they are what gives the plant nourishment and ensures flowers return next season.
With their flamboyant blooms bursting onto the scene from December to May, you can get a lot of bang for your buck with dahlias. Dahlias flower in a spectacular yellows, reds, oranges, pinks and purples and happily thrive in a pot or in the garden. Cutting dahlias also promotes flowering. The best time to pick the flowers is early morning. Place the blooms in water as soon as you cut them.