Growing Annuals for a Cutting Garden

Growing annuals for a cutting garden. The flower varieties listed below can be planted this spring for summer harvest. All are annuals with tall stems and long vase life.

| December 2002/January 2003

Learn what you need to know about growing annuals for a cutting garden and the ideal cutting varieties for planting.

Growing Annuals for a Cutting Garden

The flower varieties listed below can be planted this spring for summer harvest. All are annuals with tall stems and long vase life.

• Ageratum 'Tall Blaze Horizon' — Like the fuzzy bedding plant, only tall. The electric blue of ageratum contrasts beautifully with summer flowers' hot yellows, oranges and reds.

Asclepias curassavica — A cultivated form of butterfly weed, it is attractive to butterflies and loves hot weather. The 'Silky' series includes bright gold or red-with-gold petals. They require special handling because of their milky sap. Take a bucket of warm water to the field, and immediately drop cut stems into the water. Leave them in the water for an hour before using them.

Celosia — Breeders have been going wild with new celosia varieties in the past few years, so there are plenty to choose from. Among the crested types (people always say these flowers look like a brain), a good standard is 'Chief,' which can be purchased in separate colors or as a mix. 'Madras Scarlet' is a clear, bright red. The 'Bombay' series has flat, triangular-shaped heads. 'Hi-Z' has magenta plumes atop red-edged foliage. Amazon' has rose plumes on huge plants. 'Pampas Plume' has fluffy plumes.

Cosmos — The dainty flowers of cosmos are never seen on the wholesale market, so florists love to buy them locally. They do best in cool regions in summer and can be grown in fall in hot climates.

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