By: Teo Spengler
Bouquets of flowers are popular gifts for birthdays,holidays, and other celebrations. Withproper care, those cut flowers can last a week or more, but eventually theywill die. What if there were a way to turn the cut blossoms back into realgrowing plants? Rooting bouquet flowers doesn’t require a magic wand, just afew simple tips. Read on to learn the basics of how to regrow already cutflowers.
Can You Plant Cut Flowers?
It’s always a little sad to cut flowers in the garden. Aclip of the garden scissors transforms a roseor hydrangeablossom from a living plant into a short-lived (yet beautiful) indoor display.You may even feel a twinge of regret when someone brings you gorgeous cutflowers.
Can you plant cut flowers? Not in the normal sense of the word,since sinking your bouquet into a garden bed won’t have a positive effect.However, regrowing cut flowers is possible if you root the stems first.
Will Cut Flowers Grow Roots?
Flowers need roots in order to grow. Roots provide theplants with the water and nutrients they need to survive. When you cut aflower, you separate it from the roots. Therefore, you’ll need to work onrooting bouquet cut flowers in order to regrow them.
Will cut flowers grow roots? Many cut flowers will, in fact,grow roots with the right treatment. These include roses,hydrangea,lilac,honeysuckle,and azaleas.If you’ve ever propagated perennials from cuttings, you’ll understand thebasics of regrowing cut flowers. You cut off a piece of the cut flower stem andencourage it to root.
How to Regrow Already Cut Flowers
Most plants propagate sexually via pollination,flowering, and seed development. However, some also propagate asexually byrooting cuttings. This is a technique that gardeners use to propagate perennialflowers as well as herbs,shrubs,and even trees.
To propagate cut flowers from cuttings, you need to actwhile the bouquet is still fresh. You will need a piece of the flower stem 2 to6 inches (5-15 cm.) long that contains two or three sets of leaf nodes. Removeflowers and any leaves on the bottom nodes.
When you go to cut the stem, be sure that the bottom of thecutting is just below the lowest set of leaf nodes. This cut should be at a 45-degreeangle. Count up three nodes and make the top cut.
Dip the lower end of the cutting in a rootinghormone, then insert it carefully into a small pot filled with moist, soillesspotting mix. Cover the little plant with a plastic bag and keep the soilmoist. Be patient and don’t try to transplant until the roots grow.
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16 Tips to Better Flower Bouquets
Style 'em like a pro! Here are tips from our 2016 issue of Green Side Up on how to assemble and lengthen the life of your cut-flower bouquets.
1. As a general rule, a bouquet should be about three times as tall as its vase.
2. Use blooms for both height and width.
3. Start creating the bouquet in your hand.
4. Give it a focal point—include three or five of the main flower type.
5. Add long foliage or branches for width and structure.
6. Keep turning the bouquet and add smaller complementary flowers.
7. Place in the vase and fill in as needed.
8. Keep a variety of vases on hand to match the mood of your mix.
9. Go beyond flowers and complement blooms with foliage, stems, berries and buds that add interest with texture and color.
Best Flowers for Cutting Garden
I’m going to break this down into two different types of cutting garden flowers: annuals and perennials. You’ll have to plant annuals every year, but perennials will come back each year.
Like I said, these are flowers I’ve grown myself and had success with. There are many more varieties of cut flowers, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable suggesting them to you if I haven’t had success with them myself. That being said, if you’ve had success with other types of cut flowers, please do leave them in the comments for the rest of us to give a try!
And if you’re new to growing a cutting garden, then here’s my cut flower garden guide for beginners.
Best Annual Flowers for Cutting
You can never ever ever go wrong with Zinnias. Not only are zinnias, in my opinion, one of the prettiest annual flowers that are out there, they are one of the easiest to grow and provide blooms all summer long. A few of my personal favorite varieties of Zinnias include:
• Big Red – gorgeous deep red blooms with a long vase life.
• Envy – lime green blossoms that are perfect for bright colorful, summer arrangement.
• Cut and Come Again Mix – these are exactly what their name implies! The more you cut them, the more they come back with more blooms.
• Purple Prince – these purple flowers are another favorite of mine. It pairs nicely with the envy zinnias as well.
Growing from seed is easy with Zinnias. They can be started early indoors or planted right into the ground after the danger of the last frost. I’ve had success both ways.
Sunflowers are another foolproof cut flower. There are the huge varieties, which are great for photo backdrops, but my favorites for cutting are:
• Sunflower Busy Bee – traditional look sunflowers, but not the super tall ones. These get about 3′ – 4′ feet tall.
• Teddy Bear Sunflowers – I planted these for the first time last year and am completely hooked now. These double flowering sunflowers have a cushion like look and are gorgeous. The first picture in this post is of a teddy bear sunflower.
I planted Amaranthus seeds for the first time last year after having gotten a few in a wildflower packet of seeds and loved them. I love the weeping, drapey look these add to arrangements. I’ve planted two different colors of these beauties:
• Green – this light green hue is the perfect compliment to brightly colored flowers.
I planted these sweet little flowers for the first time last year and I adore them. They are great filler flowers for larger or medium sized arrangements, but also look precious solo. These get about 24 – 30 inches tall.
• QIS Mix – this is the mix of Gomphrena I planted last year and had great success with. I’m planning to give this Strawberry Fields and Fireworks variety a whirl this year too. They look too pretty not to!
I won’t lie, these can be difficult to get going. But if you live in the south and can get these to take root, then they can actually become perennials. That’s how I had success with mine. I didn’t get many blooms that first summer, but the following one, it wasn’t too bad! I’ve found it’s best to buy these as plants instead of seeds. These flowers have long stems as well. A couple of my favorites are Gerbera Glow and these with pink petals and yellow centers, which I like to call Pink Lemonade.
Best Perennial Flowers for Cutting
Perennial flowers will come back year after year and tend to get bigger and bigger each year. Here are few of my favorites.
I absolutely adore hydrangeas. They are my favorite flower and Grunt even planted a whole row of them for me at one of our houses. There are loads of different hydrangea varieties to choose from here.
These are bulbs that you can plant in the spring and bloom in the summer. There is a taller variety and a shorter one:
• Fordhook Ruffled Pastel Mix – these are the taller variety and the ones that have done extremely well for me in my garden.
• Butterfly – these are a shorter variety of Glads. My mother-in-law planted some of these last year and they are beautiful.
Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susans)
You’ve really got to love these flowers to plant them. Because once you do, they will just multiply over and over every year. Of course, you can always pull up the flowers from anywhere that you don’t want them. They are very drought tolerant as well and easy to grow. Find them here.
Coneflowers are similar to Black Eyed Susans in that they will multiply year after year. I prefer Coneflowers to Black Eyed Susans. As these grow over the years, you can also divide them and plant in other places as well. I’ve had great success with this Deep Rose variety.
Don’t forget – share your suggestions for good cutting flowers in the comments!
Looking for more ways to get “growing” outside? Take a look at these:
Cedar Planter Box – DIY this planter and add house numbers to it for killer curb appeal!
DIY Flamingo Sprinkler – who knew watering the garden could look so cool?
Flower Pot Ideas – Out-of-the-box creative ideas for planting flowers.
Want to remember this list of flowers for later? Just pin the image below!
Follow along on social to watch our garden grow this year:
Care of Cut Flowers in an Arrangement
Here are some general rules that will help you make your cut-flower arrangements last:
- Don't overcrowd the flowers in the container.
- Check the water level in the vase and replenish it frequently.
- Flowers that go limp are not drinking well and need to be recut.
- Always discard wilted blooms.
- Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight, and ripening fruits, which emit ethylene gas—a substance that causes buds to remain closed, petals to have poor color, and flowers to have a shortened vase life.
Rose Edinger is an award-winning floral designer with over 20 years’ experience. She specializes in thematic design work and has decorated events in the New York region and beyond.