Wouldn’t we all love to have fresh cutflowers every week of the year? (Even better is when these blooms come straight from your yard!) There’s a cutflower for every season; the three plants listed here will keep you in flowers during spring. You don’t need a lot of garden room or expertise to grow these plants – especially with these species, which are easily grown from seed. (And they have a good vase life to boot!)
Decorate your empty spring vases with cheery corn cockle blooms.
Photo Credit: Lane Greer
The tall flower stalks of larkspur look as beautiful in the garden as they do in your living room.
Photo Credit: Felder Rushing
Bachelor’s button. Plant a bunch of bachelor’s button seed, and you’ll end up with mostly blue-flowering plants. But there are likely to be a few white and pink in there, too. Bachelor’s button, sometimes called cornflower, is one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. It’s an annual, but you’ll get new plants from dropped seed every year. As a matter of fact, this plant produces so much seed, it can almost become a pest. (Look at it this way – you may never have to buy seed again!) It flowers very early in spring, and, although it has no fragrance, its cheery disposition make it welcome in any bouquet. Seed can be planted very early in spring, before the frost-free date. Growers in the South can even plant bachelor’s button in fall for incredibly early spring flowers.
Corn cockle. The rosy-mauve-purple flowers of corn cockle are hard to beat for a quick bouquet pick-me-up. The plant grows 3-4 feet tall, and each stem has four to six flowers that measure 2-3 inches in diameter. Sow seed very early in spring to reap flowers from late spring onward. While corn cockle is practically a weed in cool climates, it won’t grow in the South after temperatures heat up.
Larkspur. Available in shades of blue, purple and white, larkspur is the poor man’s delphinium. It’s a reseeding annual with tall flower stalks that reach up to 4 feet. Its seed is best planted in fall and allowed to overwinter. Why do this? Larkspur plants resent transplanting, meaning that they rarely bloom if you grow or buy them in a pot and then plant them in your garden. Also, the seed has a chilling requirement and must be given a period of cold before it’ll germinate. This is easily done by planting in fall. If winters are warm where you live, or if spring has already arrived, put the seed in a refrigerator for two weeks before planting. This will trigger the germination response. I’ve had the best luck with fall plantings (at least in Zones 5 and warmer).
When using your blooming beauties as cutflowers, cut the stems long. Use a preservative and keep the flowers cool, if possible. Never, ever put a vase of fresh flowers on top of the television set. (This heats up the water and causes the flowers to senesce, or die, quickly.) Blooms will last about a week to 10 days.
These plants are so easy to grow, anyone can do it. They’re beautiful in your garden, as well as on your table. And by growing your own, you’ll save money, the flowers will last longer and – best of all – you’ll be able to say, “I grew that!”