Garden & Landscape Tips

Perfect-for-cutting zinnias are easy to grow from seed in a sunny spot.
Perfect-for-cutting zinnias are easy to grow from seed in a sunny spot.
Renee's Garden Seeds
Dahlias can range from the size of a quarter to the size of a dinner plate.
Dahlias can range anywhere from the size of a quarter to the size of a dinner plate; this one falling somewhere in between.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
Cherokee Sunset rudbeckia.
Cherokee Sunset rudbeckia, a 2002 All-America Selections winner, comes in all the right fall colors.
All-American Selection
False Queen Anne’s Lace.
A false Queen Anne’s lace called ammi adds a light, airy look to cut-flower bouquets.
iStock / Getty Images Plus

Cut flower gardens used to be in the working areas of large estates, but most gardeners today don't have the space or time to dedicate to the yearly upkeep of these areas. Instead, they add plants wherever they can for maximum visual effect. Even if you don’t have a formal landscape, it’s easy to grow a few plants to cut for indoor enjoyment.

Annuals are a great choice for a cutting garden, as they only stick around for the season and their sole purpose is to bloom, bloom, bloom! The plants featured below can be grown from seed or easily found at your local garden center. Here are five annuals to try in your garden this year:

Zinnia

Zinnias, with their many flower forms, heights and colors, take center stage as a cut flower, especially with a variety called ‘Cut and Come Again’. Zinnias are very easy to grow from seed and do well with successive plantings. Directly sow seeds every 10 days to two weeks for zinnias that will take you well into fall. They may be killed from frosty temperatures, but between now and then, gardeners will have dozens of zinnias to cut for indoor arrangements. Grow zinnia in full sun.

Snapdragons

In the world of cut flowers, snapdragons are in the same league as zinnias. Gotta have ‘em. Snaps come in all heights and many colors, including bi-colors. These annuals also are easy to grow from seed. Sow some now and again in a few weeks for a long season. Snaps are quite cold tolerant and do best in full sun, but can tolerate sporadic shade.

Dahlia

Dahlias are considered tender bulbs, and are grown as annuals throughout most of the country, with their prime being in late summer and early fall. If started in the May-June time frame, it may take too long to grow these from what’s called a ‘tuber’, or a root crop, but dahlias should be available at most garden centers so you can still enjoy them this year. When planting dahlias, plant them in a location where they will be protected from east and south sun, preventing the flower from any fading color. Flowers may be as large as a dinner plate or the size of a quarter, and come in many colors; some with dark leaves but most with green.

Black-Eyed Susan

Sometimes called rudbeckia, many gardeners are familiar with this late-summer-blooming perennial, especially Goldsturm, a very popular variety. But rudbeckias also are annuals, and these summer-long bloomers come in colors that declare the coming autumn. Oranges, orange-reds, bronze and other colors adorn daisy-like flowers. It may take too long to grow these annuals from seed to get flowers, but plants will likely be available at garden centers. Make sure to plant in full sun.

False Queen Anne’s Lace

Commonly called ammi, this annual’s lovely white flowers recall the wild Queen Anne’s lace, but without its invasive characteristics. The flowers are flat or rounded, depending on which variety you plant. Grow these in full sun and plant from seed. Remember to water frequently - ammi prefers cool, moist soil.

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