Perennials: we love them on the flower farm. Whether for foliage or cut flowers, they are the foundation of our output and once established should only need occasional maintenance. When choosing perennials for your cut flower patch, it’s important to consider plants that have long-lasting blooms, sturdy stems, and a good vase life. Here are some popular perennial flowers to grow in the UK that are well-suited for cutting and will provide you with beautiful blooms year after year:
Peonies (Paeonia): Peonies are beloved for their large, fragrant blooms and make excellent cut flowers. They come in a variety of colours and flower in late spring to early summer. I’m not an expert in peonies but Elonor Tivey is – follow her on Instagram @thepeonyfarmeruk for peony wisdom.
Delphiniums: Delphiniums are at the very top of my ‘favourites’ list. They produce tall spires of colourful flowers and are ideal for adding height to floral arrangements. Blooming from late spring and throughout summer, they come in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white.
Dahlias: Dahlias are known for their showy, intricate blooms and come in a wide range of colours and forms. One of my favourites for wedding bouquets is Café au Lait (think of the colour of milky coffee in a large double bloom). Dahlias flower from mid-summer to autumn and make stunning cut flowers. You will need to give them protection over winter, either by covering or digging them up, drying and putting into dark, dry storage… but it will absolutely be worth it!
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea): Commonly known as coneflowers, echinacea have distinct, daisy-like blooms with cone-shaped centres. They come in various colours, including pink, purple, and white, and have a long blooming period.
Above: Peony, Dahlia ‘Café au Lait’, Astrantia.
Alstroemeria: Also known as Peruvian lilies, Alstroemeria offer a wide range of colours and have long-lasting flowers that make beautiful delicate additions to bouquets or table arrangements. They bloom from late spring to summer, have a long vase life and add a tropical touch. Who’s the UK Alstroemeria expert? @alstroemeriaben at Crossland Nursery!
Veronica (speedwells): Veronica flowers come in various shades of blue, pink, and white in tall spires made up of lots of tiny flowers. They bloom from late spring to summer, are not often bothered by pests or diseases and on the whole are very low-maintenance.
Lupin (Lupinus): Lupins have tall flower spikes in vibrant colours, including shades of blue, pink, purple, and yellow. They are great for adding height to bouquets but watch out for Lupin aphid at the start of the growing season.
Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia fulgida): Rudbeckia, commonly known as black-eyed Susans, are cheerful flowers with yellow or orange petals and a dark centre. They add a pop of colour to floral arrangements.
Astrantia: Astrantia flowers have unique, intricate blooms – clusters of tiny flowers surrounded by petal-like bracteoles. They come in shades of white, pink, and burgundy and add a delicate touch to bouquets. A good choice for a partly-shady patch if you have one.
Verbena (Verbena) bonariensis: Tall stems with leaves that take a back seat to the flat topped lilac-purple flowers which appear in late summer. Verbena stems work well in a more informal bouquet or arrangement. Once planted, Verbena will self-sow so you may need to divide or collect seed heads for your local seed bank.
Above: Lupins, Rudbeckia, Achillea ‘Summer Pastels’
Achillea (Achillea millefolium): Commonly known as yarrow, Achillea produces flat clusters of small flowers in various colours, including white, pink, red, and yellow. They have a long flowering season and make great filler flowers. We added the variety ‘Summer Pastels’ to our collection this year – a mix of soft pink and yellow shades which is absolutely gorgeous.
Scabiosa: Scabious flowers have pincushion-like blooms in shades of blue, pink, and white. They are delicate and bring a beautiful softness to cut flower arrangements. Scabious can be annual or perennial so make sure you get the right ones when purchasing see or plantlets – Scabiosa arvensis are clump-forming perennials with lilac-blue flowerheads.
These are just a few examples of perennial flowers that are commonly used for cutting in the UK. There are many other options available, so consider your preferences in terms of colours, sizes, and bloom times when selecting your perennials.
Remember to provide proper care, such as regular watering, fertilizing, and deadheading, to ensure the health and longevity of your perennial cut flowers and foliage.