Plants for a Spring Cutting Garden
Celebrate spring by bringing the beauty indoors with these flowers perfect for indoor arrangements.
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Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
Cut woody stems of this spring harbinger at any point from midwinter to early spring for forcing indoors. Flowering quince varieties open blooms in shades of red, coral, orange, pink or white. Cut branches to any length. Be sure to place your cut about a quarter-inch above a bud. Buds will open in two to five weeks, depending on how warm inside temps are. Average vase life: 4 to 7 days.
Daffodil (Narcissus spp.)
Daffodils bring living sunshine to vases. Clip single-flowered daffodils when buds are still closed but showing some petal color. Snip doubles when flowers are starting to open. Daffodil sap clogs the stems of other cut flowers. If you want to make a mixed bouquet, let daffodils sit in water for 6 hours before adding them to another bouquet. If you re-cut stems at any point, you’ll need to soak the daffodils separately for 6 hours. Average vase life: 3 to 7 days.
Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)
Savor the perfume of sweet peas by filling a bud vase with a small nosegay of stems. Clip sweet peas when about half of the blossoms on a single flowering stem are open. In a small vase, check the water level frequently and replace it often. Keep sweet peas away from ripening fruit, which hastens their death. Average vase life: 3 to 7 days.
Garden Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
Cornflower ‘Classic Fantastic’ (Centaurea cyanus)
Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
Tulips (Tulipa spp.)
As pretty as tulips are in the garden, they’re even more fun in a vase. Tulips are always changing after harvest, making for a dynamic bouquet. Stems continue to grow after picking, adding as much as 1 inch per day. Blooms are also phototropic (bending toward light) and geotropic (bending toward the earth). Pick when one-half of the blossom shows color. Average vase life: 7 to 10 days.
Variegated Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’)
Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus asiaticus)
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Crabapple (Malus spp.)
Crabapple varieties open blooms in shades of red, coral, pink or white. When harvesting stems, cut them to any length. For forcing indoors, cut crabapple stems before flowers open. Buds will open in two to three weeks, depending on how warm inside temps are. You can also wait to cut branches as flower buds show color, just before blooming. Average vase life: 5 to 9 days.
Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber)
Tiny red-pink star shaped blossoms are arranged in a loose flower head. Red valerian makes an ideal light and airy addition to spring bouquets. There’s also a variety that opens white blossoms. Pick flowers when the first blooms in the flower head open. Remove spent flowers in the garden to extend the bloom season through summer. Average vase life: 7 to 10 days.