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Cut flower chart and growing guide

Cut hyacinths in vase

Growing your own cut flowers allows you to focus on the colours and textures you want while avoiding supermarket blooms that may have travelled miles to reach the shelves. You don’t need loads of space, in fact you can sow your flower seeds in containers and window boxes or even amongst your veggies.

The following cut flower chart is a fantastic way to plan which flower varieties to grow and when! If you want to fill your home and garden with gorgeous cut flowers, this handy guide is an excellent resource to help you succeed.

Key:

  • Hardy Annual (HA) – Growing from seed, hardy annuals bloom, set seed and die in just one growing season. They need to be re-sown each spring, but many can be direct sown outside and bloom right through to autumn.
  • Half Hardy Annual (HHA) – These flowers bloom the first year from seed. Although they can handle light frost, half-hardy annuals can’t survive extremely cold weather. Start them indoors with a little gentle heat and plant outside in spring or summer.
  • Hardy Biennial (HB) – A biennial grows foliage during its first year, survives through the winter, and then finally blooms in the second season. Once it has bloomed and set seed, it dies.
  • Hardy Perennial (HP) – Perennial flowers live for a number of seasons. They may not always bloom the first year from seed and most tend to flower for a short period – between 1-3 weeks a year. They need periodic rejuvenation and/or replacement every three to five years.
  • Half Hardy Perennial (HHP) – You may see this term used on Suttons seed packets to indicate that this perennial plant is often grown as an annual because it’s killed by winter frosts if not protected. If you live in a frost-free climate, this plant would be perennial for you.

Cut flower wall chart

Name Type Sow Flowers Comment
Achillea HP Jan – Mar Aug – Oct Dries easily, lasting bright & pastel shades.
Ageratum HHA Feb – Mar All summer Compact flowers, good for posie vases.
Alstromeria HP May – June June – Aug Following year Excellent cut flower that has an amazing vase life.
Amaranthus HA Mar – May July – Sept Great for cutting and drying, very dramatic blooms.
Anemone HP Jan – June Spring – early summer Bright and cheerful, superb cut flower.
Antirrhinum HHP Jan – Mar All summer Gives height to any floral display and very pretty.
Aquilegia HP Jan – Mar May – July Following year Cottage garden favourite that will give height to a floral display.
Aster HHA Apr – Mar Late summer to autumn An excellent cut flower with superb vase life.
Basil (foliage) HHA Apr – May Throughout summer As with most herbs, great for foliage and dries well.
Calendula HA Mar – June May – Aug Long flowering and good cut flower.
Carthamus HA Mid Mar-May July – Sept Thornless – makes a great cut flower either fresh or dried.
Catananche HP Feb – June Mid April Following year Good for cutting and drying as an everlasting flower.
Celosia HHA Feb – April Throughout summer Fiery plumes of flowers.
Christmas Rose HP Mar – June Nov – Dec Attractive winter flowers with evergreen foliage.
Chrysanthemum HA April – July Aug – Oct Long lasting filler flowers.
Cineraria (foliage) HHA Jan – Mar Throughout summer Silvery background for smaller displays and posies.
Clarkia HA Mar – May May – July Very pretty clusters – easy to grow.
Coreopsis HA/HP Feb – Mar July – Oct Ideal for mixed borders and cutting.
Cornflower HA Mar – May June – Sept Cottage garden favourite with long wiry stems.
Cosmos HHA Mar – May Late summer Great for in borders or as a cut flower.
Dahlia HHP Jan – Mid April July – Sept Interesting blooms, invaluable for autumn floral arrangements.
Delphinium HP Mid Jan – Mar Aug – Sept Spectacular cut flowers for height and texture.
Dianthus HHA Jan – Mar July – Sept Fragrant and colourful, good for small posies.
Digitalis (Foxglove) HB April – Mid July June – Mid Aug Following year Sturdy cottage flower gives height to both formal and informal displays.
Emilia HA April – May July – Sept Fluffy bright flower heads held in clusters on long, slender stems.
Eryngium HA March – May July – Sept Pineapple – Ideal for cutting and drying.
Freesia HHP Mar – June Nov – Mar Very fragrant and a popular choice for floral displays.
Gaillardia HP May – July July – Sept Spectacular daisy like blooms that are great for cutting.
Gazania HHP Feb – April June – Sept Vibrant flowers that are an attractive focal flower.
Geum HP Jan – Feb June – Oct Luminous orange and yellow flowers on upright stems.
Godetia HA/HHA March – May July – Sept Pretty blooms – good filler for informal displays.
Grasses HA/HP Mid Mar – May Mid June – Mid Sept Lovely textured foliage filler – good dried for winter displays.
Gypsophila HA Mar – May June – Sept Delicate froths of tiny flowers – a must for floral arrangements.
Helichrysum HA March – May July – Oct Colourful winter dried flowers, to dry – cut when just open.
Heuchera HP April – July June – Aug (Year 2) Subtly scented blooms that can be cut for indoor decoration.
Hollyhock HP April – June June – Aug Magnificent summer flower- dries well for winter colour.
Kingfisher Daisy HHA March – May June – Sept Pretty chrysanthemum-like flowers – for posies.
Kochia HA Mar – April Summer – autumn Stunning foliage, pale green in summer – copper in autumn
Larkspur HA Mar – May Throughout summer Long splendid stems of flower – useful for height and depth, dries well.
Lavatera HA Mid Mar – May July – Sept A stunning filler for larger displays.
Lavender HP Jan – June June – Sept Beautifully scented, good colour and dries well.
Linaria HA Mar – May Throughout summer Easy to grow, flowers like little snapdragons in bright colours.
Linum HA Mar – April June – Sept Pretty filler flowers.
Love-Lies-Bleeding HA Mar – May July – Sept Stunning tassel like flowers – adding rich texture to larger displays.
Lupin HP Mid Mar – May June – Sept Following year Ideal for cutting – gives a cottage garden feel to taller displays.
Malope HA Mid Mar – May July – Sept Pretty open blooms – useful for smaller posies.
Marigolds HHA Feb – Mid May July – Sept Great for informal displays – dries well.
Michaelmas Daisy HP May – July June – Oct Following year Cheerful daisies – good for informal summer displays.
Mignonette HA Mar – May July – Sept Pretty small headed flowers – ideal fillers for smaller displays.
Moluccella HHA Feb – Mar May – June Green graceful stems – excellent for all displays.
Nasturtium HA Mar – May Mid June – Sept A riot of colour – great for informal small displays and posies.
Nicotiana HHA Mid Mar – May Mid June – Sept Fragrant and charming, good for informal arrangements.
Nigella HA Mid Mar – May July – Sept Delicate flowers – lovely for informal displays – pods and flowers dry well.
Penstemon HHP Feb – Mar May – Sept Pretty summer spires that add substance to larger displays.
Phlox HHA Feb – April June – Sept Dainty heads of flowers – lovely in summer informal displays.
Poppy HA Jan – Mar June – Oct Not long lasting however blooms make beautiful focal flowers – pods dry well for winter decoration.
Pyrethrum HP May – July May – June Following year Lovely long stemmed daisy flowers – ideal for informal fillers.
Rudbeckia HHA/HP Feb – Mid April July – Sept Superb daisy like flowers – great long lasting focal flowers.
Salvia HHA Jan – Mar July – Sept Wonderful filler flowers that provide shape and texture.
Scabious HP Mid Mar – May July – Sept A superb traditional flower that will add grace to any display.
Statice HHA Feb – April July – Sept One of the best plants for cut/dried flowers.
Stock HHA Feb – April June – Sept Fragrant classic flower – stunning in formal and informal displays
Sunflower HA Mar – May July – Sept Easy to grow – a must for flower arranging – dries well.
Swan River Daisy HHA/HA Mar – May June- Sept Easy to grow – fragrant, lavender blue flowers.
Sweet Pea HA Jan – May June – Sept Popular cottage garden flowers that look stunning in a floral arrangement.
Sweet William HB May – July June – July Following year Scented cottage garden flower – classic focal flower.
Wallflower HB May – Mid July April – May Following year Cheerful scented flowers – lovely in informal displays.
Zinnia HA Mar – May July – Sept Stunning blooms that provide excellent focal interest and texture – dry well.

How to pick cut flowers

Zinnia 'Molotov Mix' from Suttons
Zinnias are sun-loving, free-flowering, long-lasting and brightly coloured
Image: Zinnia Seeds – Molotov Mix from Suttons
  • Don’t pick cut flowers in the heat of the day or they will wilt. Try first thing in the morning or wait until last thing at night.
  • When you pick annuals and biennials, don’t cut them down to the ground. To encourage more flowers, take out the leading shoot, cutting just above a side branch with a bud. Remember that you can cut the stem as long as you like, but always make sure that you leave buds below the cut.
  • Don’t arrange freshly cut flowers straight away. To increase their vase life, cut and plunge the stems straight into a bucket of tepid water and allow them to recover for a few hours first.
  • Move the bucket to a shady spot while the flowers rest. Don’t leave them in direct sun.
  • When you’re ready to start arranging, remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem so they don’t rot in the vase. Also, fewer leaves place less demand on the stem and the flower is less likely to flop.

How to make cut flowers last longer

Dahlia Plants - Figaro Mix from Suttons
Dahlia ‘Figaro Mix’ features double and semi-double flowers in a fine range of colours
Image: Dahlia Plants – Figaro Mix from Suttons

If you want your arrangements to last as long as possible, always add flower food to the water in your vase. You can buy it in sachets, or you can make your own from sugar, bleach and lemon juice or vinegar. For a 30cm tall vase, the proportions are as follows: one tablespoon of sugar, one teaspoon of bleach, and one tablespoon of clear malt vinegar or lemon juice. This homemade recipe helps to prevent the build up of harmful bacteria that can shorten the vase life of your flowers.

Month-by month flower growing guide

Sunflower Seeds ‘Tiger Eye F1’ from Suttons
Sunflowers make fantastic cut flowers
Image: Sunflower Seeds ‘Tiger Eye F1’ from Suttons
  • JANUARY – There’s not a lot to see in the garden this month, however, it’s a good time to walk around the garden to check your plants. Make sure they’re still well anchored in the ground if you want to keep them. Start getting ideas for your spring planting area and order your seeds for spring sowing.
  • FEBRUARY – Sow half hardy annuals (HHA) indoors. Prepare your outdoor soil by digging it over so the soil is very fine (no hard clumps of mud). The term used for very fine soil is tilth, and this is perfect preparation for sowing seeds direct into the soil.
  • MARCH – In most areas, you can now sow hardy annuals (HA) when all risk of frost has passed. These can be scattered in informal drifts or sown into drills made by drawing a rake through the soil. Cover lightly with soil and water well. (Try Nigella, cornflower and larkspur.) Seeds of tender annuals (TA) can now be sown in a greenhouse or on a warm windowsill out of direct sunlight. (Try aster, antirrhinum and cleome.)
  • APRIL – Continue to sow hardy annual seeds where you want them to grow. The hardy annuals that were previously sown can now be thinned by removing the weaker plants. This allows the stronger plants to develop into strong flowers.
  • MAY – Sow seeds of tender annuals like sunflowers and cosmos in the position you want them to flower and keep them well watered. Tender perennials (TP) that have been growing in an indoor environment can now be hardened off by moving them outside on warm sunny days.
  • JUNE – Sow seeds of hardy biennials (HB) in trays in a heated greenhouse. The seedlings can be potted individually and grown on ready for planting out next spring. Pick sweet peas regularly as soon as the flowers open – this prevents seed pods forming and encourages more flowers. Cut the stalks at the base where they join the main stem.
  • JULY – Keep plants well watered in dry spells. The best time to water is in the evening allowing the plant to soak up what it needs overnight. Thin last month’s biennials to give a final spacing of about 30cm (12″) so that they will grow into sturdy plants.

For more specific tips on growing flowers, see our Flower Growing Guides for inspiration and advice.

Lead image: Shutterstock 

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9 thoughts on “Cut flower chart and growing guide”

  1. Hi,
    Really happy to say your post is very interesting to read. I never stop myself to say anything about it. You’re doing a great job. Keep it up. We recognized as one of the leading professional providers of integrated flower services in the MENA region. Check our page, “https://www.coventgardenuae.com/”. Expecting more blogs.

  2. Katie Brunt says:

    Hi there, thank you for your kind comment. We are pleased it has been helpful to you.
    Best regards,
    The Suttons Team

  3. This article is very helpful for our website. Thank you for share this article.

  4. Kira says:

    Your topic is very nice and helpful to us … Thank you for the information you wrote.

  5. david tanguay says:

    just whats needed I am getting desperate cos winter is still with us and I need some summer colour, so word to self,
    order seeds.

  6. Lynne says:

    Love the information. But being a novice would have liked a chart showing at a glance what flowers when instead of just an alphabetical list of flowers.

  7. Many thanks for your kind words Barry and congratulations on being the first to comment. I know our web developer’s extremely pleased as he spent a great deal of time and effort making sure the article was full of content and also looked good on all modern devices!

    Out of interest, which cut flowers did you choose for your refit?

  8. Barry Webb says:

    A very helpful chart, I wish I’d found it earlier as it would have made my garden refit so much easier (and probably more successful straightaway).

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