9 Best Flowers to Grow for Bouquets

Whether you’re looking to grow flowers to display in your own home, or to sell flower arrangements at your local market, you’re need 3 key elements in each flower: ease of growing, beauty, and vase life. These are our 9 favorite flowers to grow for cut flower arrangements.

  1. Dahlias – these are our absolute FAVORITE flowers. You usually get dahlias as tubers and they are pretty easy to grow in our experience. With some experience you can also propagate the tubers to grow beautiful dahlias year after year. They come in all kinds of colors and are perfect focal flowers. Some dahlias require trellising, but just make sure you keep an eye on them. You don’t need expensive trellises, sometimes two stakes and some twine do the job! Another thing that’s great about dahlias whether you’re growing for market or for your own home garden, is these flowers can be later season flowers, so as many of your flowers are beginning to struggle, dahlias will just be coming into their prime!
  2. Zinnias – WE LOVE ZINNIAS! These are some of the easiest to grow flowers so they are perfect for beginners. Zinnias come in all varieties of shapes and colors (though our favorites are the Queen Lime variety). They grow well without trellising and also do well in small spaces. You can get zinnia seeds at a variety of price points ranging from dollar store locations that sell seeds for $0.25 per pack up to more expensive varieties that can cost $5-$6 per pack. Zinnias will continue to bloom the more you cut them so make sure to keep them cut!
  3. Amaranth – if you need to add a little bit of wildness to an arrangement, amaranth is the way to do it! Our favorites are Love-Lies-Bleeding and Coral Fountain. They are long and drapey and add some serious interest to any bouquet. Amaranth also comes in upright styles in a variety of colors. The upright can come in a burnt orange, which is perfect for fall, or deep dark red almost burgundy and our favorite variety of the upright is a splashy green with purple tips! These seeds are SMALL but germinate easily and grow quickly! This is a flower filler you can “pinch” which means when its about 6 inches tall cut the top off, and at that point of cut, many branches will grow in the place of just the one center stalk, which will mean more flowers for you to cut!
  4. Peonies – Finally heading into perennials for our zone! Peonies you can plant as either bare root in the fall, or buy potted plants in the spring. Depending on the size plant you buy it could take several years for the plants to produce flowers. This year we planted almost 100 bare roots, some were small (2-3 eyes) which is very common but some were HUGE with 15+ visible eyes! Those should bloom first year for is giving some immediate return on investment! Peonies like to grow in full sun and well draining soil. When planting them make sure not to put them too deep. The “eyes” should only be a few inches under the soil. If your peony is not blooming after it is established, its possible that it is too deep! Try digging it up and raising it so the roots have to put less energy into getting its stem above the soil level.
  5. Nepeta – Another perennial that you might not find on most people’s “must grow” cut flower lists. We found nepeta to be a life saver early in the season! We buy it from small plants but they fill out fast and grow huge! They bloom light purple early in the season in perfect time for adding some filler and extra interest to our spring bulbs. Another thing we LOVE about nepeta is that the pollinators can’t get enough of it. Any time Nepeta is in bloom there will be honey bees, bumble bees and other pollinators happily buzzing around it. This fills us with joy as well as helps us with encouraging pollinators to visit our garden and help us to pollinate our fruits and vegetables.
  6. Sunflowers – These bright happy blooms are the true signal that summer is HERE! Sunflowers come in tons of different shapes and sizes. One thing to keep in mind while shopping for your sunflower seeds is they can either come as single stem, or branching. A very nice line of single stem sunflowers is called “pro-cut” these are sterile varieties so you won’t be able to save seed from them, but by being sterile it means they won’t drop pollen as they sit in your vase or bouquet. This is something that is important to keep in mind especially if you are doing wedding work. These single stem varieties you will also need to succession sow if you want blooms all season long. This means that you plant your sunflowers, and then about a week later you’d want to start more seeds so they will come up and start blooming a week after your original started seeds. You would want to have succession sowings for the entire season if you want to stay in blooms using single stems. But if you don’t have the time and space to do succession sowing then you definitely will want to consider branching sunflowers! These can grow VERY large and will send blooms off of their center stem on shorter branches.
  7. Cosmos – An easy to grow from seed annual that will send up tons of small soft blooms all season. Cosmos can be direct sown into the ground after your danger of frost has passed and will begin to bloom quickly. They come in a variety of colors, commonly pinks oranges and whites but if you look you can also find shades of yellow purple and deep dark purple almost black! Their petals can be cupped, flat or curly doubles depending on the variety. The flowers are a little small so these will be nice fillers for those bigger focal flowers we talked about in the dahlia section.
  8. Yarrow – This is a perennial that we are able to grow from seed! Most perennials that we grow from cut flower are easier to grow from bare root or potted plants but yarrow has the perfect magic secret sauce that enables it to grow easily from seed AND bloom its first year! The blooms come up in clusters of teeny tiny flowers in a variety of colors. We grew the “Colorado Mix” which gave us blooms in light pink, dark pink, white and yellow. The foliage of yarrow is light and ferny and also could be interesting in your bouquets as a filler. Double duty!
  9. Daffodils and Tulips – Bunched together because both are fall planted bulbs that both bloom in early spring! In our area Daffodils will often “naturalize” which means that they will not just come back year after year, but that the bulbs will propagate themselves and you will end up with clusters of blooms where you only planted one bulb originally. Daffodils can be a little more common if you plant straight yellow bulbs, but they also come in TONS of different shapes and colors ranging from all white to multi colored to pretty shades of peach and almost pink. Daffodils also can be single petaled or “doubles” where there are layers and layers of petals that many people who think they know daffodils might have never seen. Tulips have the same options to come in either singles or doubles, and also come in EVERY COLOR OF THE RAINBOW. Often tulips don’t reliably come back year after year, so many people who grow them as cut flowers will remove the bulb from the ground when taking the bloom to help the bloom stay fresh longer in a storage or shipping situation. Tulips can be a little more expensive up front than your daffodils but they can add a ton of colorful interest to an early spring bouquet just in time for mother’s day.