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Birch Farm Top Ten Annuals To Grow As Cut Flowers

Updated: Mar 15

Here at Birch Farm we grow over 25 varieties of annuals each year. We have pulled together our top ten, to create a lovely cut flower collection that benefits from being easy to germinate and grow and will provide flowers from June until the first frosts.


It also contains a good mix of shapes, textures, forms and scent, as well as some nice varieties for drying (statice, helichrysum, amaranthus).


If you would like to find out more about how to grow your own flowers for cutting, we have written an easy to follow guide. Our Essential Cut Flower Guide, will take you through the process from preparing your ground to harvesting and drying your flowers.


Happy growing!


Statice (A).


Statice, scientifically known as Limonium, is a versatile plant prized for its long-lasting, papery blooms and attractive foliage

.

Statice plants typically form compact mounds of lance-shaped leaves from which tall, sturdy stems emerge, bearing clusters of small, densely packed flowers.These blooms come in an array of colours, including shades of blue, purple, pink, yellow, and white, and maintain their vibrant hues even when dried, making them prized for use in dried floral arrangements and crafts.


Statice is also valued for its ability to attract beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden.

Plant out after last frosts. Cut the stems when 50% of the flowers have opened, do not cut too early as the stems will be tender and will wilt. Check how firm the stem feels before cutting.

·        Pinch – not required.                       

·        Flowering–July to first frosts.



Sweet Peas


Sweet peas, scientifically known as Lathyrus odoratus, are beloved annual climbing plants cherished for their delicate and fragrant blossoms.Sweet peas are renowned for their abundance of colourful flowers that come in an array of hues, including shades of pink, purple, blue, white, and red.

Sweet pea vines feature tendrils that allow them to climb and scramble, reaching heights of up to 6 to 8 feet so good support is essential.

 These plants prefer cool weather and thrive in fertile, well-draining soil with full sun to partial shade. Regular deadheading of spent blooms promotes continuous flowering throughout the growing season.

Sweet Peas grow tap roots (a large central root) so benefit from deeper, root trainer pots.The benefit of using these (as well as having healthier seedlings), is that you can usually avoid having to pot the seedlings on before planting out.

Because the pots are deeper the roots have more room so can sit happily in their pots for longer, Sweet Peas sown in Spring can be planted out straight from their root training pots.

 

·        Pinch – Yes pinch out when two pairs of true leaves are present.                    

·        Flowering - May to July

·        Germination – Sweet peas are generally considered easy to germinate. They have a relatively high germination rate under the right conditions, sow them in deep pots to accommodate their long tap roots, cover lightly with compost, place in a bright, warm spot and keep compost moist (but not too wet).



Cosmos


Cosmos plants are popular annual flowering plants known for their delicate, daisy-like blooms and feathery foliage.


These pretty plants are easy to grow, thriving in various soil types and tolerating heat and drought conditions well. Cosmos plants typically reach heights of 2 to 4 feet, and their airy, fern-like foliage provides an attractive backdrop to their profuse blooming. They are excellent choices for adding colour to gardens, borders, and containers, attracting pollinators like butterflies and bees.

Cosmos flowers are also popular for cutting, making stunning additions to floral arrangements.

A true cut and come again flower, cut the flowers regularly to encourage more blooms. Cut the flowers as soon as they open, before the pollinators get to them.

As soon as they have been pollinated, they will begin to drop petals. You can cut when the flowers are half open and they will continue to open in the vase. Plant out after last frosts.


·        Pinch – yes will encourage side shoots.

·        Flowering – June to first frosts

·        Germination – Cosmos benefit from a little warmth for germination but generally they germinate easily and quickly.



Calendula


Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a bright and cheerful annual or perennial flowering plant prized for its vibrant blooms and medicinal properties.


The plant features distinctive daisy-like flowers with colourful petals that range from sunny yellows and oranges to creamy whites. Calendula blooms profusely throughout the growing season, attracting beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, calendula has long been used in herbal medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and skin-healing properties.

Its flowers and leaves are commonly infused into oils, salves, and creams for various skin conditions, including cuts, bruises, and rashes.


·        Pinch – not required.                                   

·        Flowering – July to September

·        Germination – Calendula benefit from a little warmth for germination but generally they germinate easily and quickly.



Amaranthus

 

Amaranthus plants, commonly referred to as amaranths, are versatile and striking annuals known for their vibrant foliage and unique flower spikes.


Amaranth plants exhibit a wide range of growth habits, from upright and bushy to trailing or cascading forms.Their leaves can be variously coloured, including shades of green, red, purple, and even variegated patterns. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, amaranth plants are also valued for their nutritious and gluten-free edible seeds, which are rich in protein, fibre, and essential amino acids.

Whether grown for their striking appearance in ornamental gardens or for their nutritional benefits in edible landscapes, amaranth plants add beauty and utility to diverse gardening spaces.

·        Pinch – Yes    

·        Flowering – July onwards

·        Germination – Amaranthus benefit from a little warmth for germination but generally they germinate easily and quickly.





Helichrysum


Helichrysum, also known as strawflower or everlasting flower, is a versatile and attractive flowering plant prized for its papery blooms and long-lasting beauty.


Helichrysum flowers come in a range of colours, including shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, and white, and their papery texture makes them excellent candidates for drying and using in crafts or floral arrangements.


These flowers are also attractive to pollinators like butterflies and bees, adding to their garden appeal. Helichrysum prefers well-drained soil and full sun, making it an ideal choice for rock gardens, borders, and containers.


Plant out after first frosts. Strawflowers close overnight and when it is wet, so pick flowers on warm, dry mornings. Choose blooms which are not too open, especially for drying as they continue to develop when cut and during the drying process so can become overblown.

·        Pinch – Yes    

·        Flowering- July until first frosts

·        Germination– Helichrysum benefit from a little warmth for germination but generally they germinate easily and quickly.



Snapdragons


Snapdragons, scientifically known as Antirrhinum, are lovely flowering plants valued for their unique, dragon-shaped blossoms and extended blooming period.


These plants typically grow as upright, bushy stems adorned with clusters of tubular flowers that resemble dragon heads.


Snapdragons come in a wide array of colours, including shades of pink, red, purple, yellow, white, and bi-colour varieties, adding vibrant splashes of colour to garden beds, borders, and containers.

Their blooms open gradually from the bottom to the top of the spike, providing an extended period of flowering from spring through to autumn.

Snapdragons prefer well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade, they are relatively low maintenance, plant out after last frosts. Cut the flowers regularly to promote continuous blooming.

·        Pinch – yes, will encourage side shoots.   

·        Flowering – July onwards

·        Germination – Can be slow and patchy so sow more than you need. Snapdragons require light for germination, so do not cover the seeds with soil. Press them lightly into the surface of the soil to ensure good contact. Keep the seed-starting mix consistently moist but not waterlogged. Snapdragons require light for germination, so place the containers in a bright location, but avoid direct sunlight, as this can cause the soil to dry out too quickly. Snapdragons typically germinate within 10-14 days, but it can take longer, so be patient.



Asters


Asters are renowned for their stunning, pom-pom like flowers that come in a spectrum of colours including shades of blue, purple, pink, blush and white.


They thrive in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade, making them versatile additions to garden borders, rock gardens, and mixed flower beds.


With their resilience, colourful blooms, and ability to brighten up the autumn landscape, aster plants are cherished by gardeners seeking to extend the flowering season well into the cooler months.

Don’t start seeds too early, leave sowing until April as they will benefit from longer daylight hours. Plant out after last frosts.

 

·        Pinching – not required.      

·        Flowering- August to first frosts       

·        Germination – Asters benefit from a little warmth for germination but generally they germinate easily and quickly.




Phlox


Annual phlox, also known as Phlox drummondii, is a charming flowering plant celebrated for its profusion of brightly coloured blooms and its ability to attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.


This plant features clusters of fragrant, star-shaped flowers in hues of pink, red, purple, blue, and white.

Annual phlox thrives in well-drained soil and full sun, making it a versatile addition to garden beds, borders, and containers. With its long-lasting blooms and low maintenance requirements, annual phlox adds a burst of colour and vitality to any garden, making it a favourite among gardeners looking to brighten up their outdoor spaces.


Plant out after last frosts, cut as soon as the flowers start to open, the blooms are delicate so handle with care.

 

·        Pinch – not required.                       

·        Flowering – June onwards

·        Germination – Some species of Phlox seeds require darkness to germinate, so do take care to read the growing instructions on your seed packet.



Stocks


Stocks, scientifically known as Matthiola, are fragrant annual (or perennial) flowering plants prized for their tall spikes of colourful and heavily scented blooms.


 These plants typically feature lance-shaped leaves arranged along sturdy stems, which bear clusters of densely packed flowers in shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow. Stocks bloom profusely from spring to early summer, attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden.

Their sweet, spicy fragrance makes them ideal for cutting and adding to bouquets or enjoying in the garden.Stocks are relatively easy to grow, preferring well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.

If you grow stocks from seed, do not pinch them out as they only flower from the central shoot.

·        Pinch – Must not pinch.

·        Flowering – June to July

·       Germination – Stocks are generally considered relatively easy to germinate, under optimal conditions, such as proper temperature, moisture, and soil conditions, stocks typically germinate reliably within 7 to 14 days.





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