Cut flowers are often given as gifts, arranged in congratulatory bouquets or formed into sympathy wreaths. They are plunked into vases and set around the house to brighten up living space or placed on a desk at work. The beauty and sometimes fragrance of cut flowers is easy to appreciate in almost any circumstance and location. Protect your investment by choosing blooms that last a long time after being cut.
Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) are the ubiquitous choice for cut flowers. They come in a rainbow of colors and are even often dyed for specific occasions, such as green carnations on St. Patrick's Day. Carnations are also very inexpensive and can last up to two weeks as cut flowers.
Chrysanthemums (Dendranthema x grandiflorum), or mums are they are commonly called, are another popular choice. These flowers come in a wide range of colors and sizes, from large, pale pastel blooms to small, cheerful, brightly colored flowers. Mums are inexpensive and easy to grow. Many home gardeners have a "cutting garden" full of chrysanthemums. Some varieties of these flowers can last for up to a month in a water-filled vase after they've been cut.
Also known as alstroemerias, they are very popular plants. The flowers are similar to lilies, and are complemented nicely by the long, dark green leaves. They will thrive for two weeks or longer if kept in water that is fluoride-free and if they are kept away from produce, which emits ethylene gas; these flowers are very sensitive to ethylene.
Delphiniums (Delphinium spp.) are tall, stunning, purple or blue flowers. Also favored by home gardeners, these showy flowers, which feature vertical stalks covered with medium-sized blooms, will last up to two weeks in water after cutting. Delphiniums make a dramatic display in a vase and, like alstroemerias, they are sensitive to ethylene gas and should be kept away from produce.
Large, 8-foot tall sunflowers are not often thought of as cut flowers, but in reality these bright, attractive and showy plants (Helianthus spp.) come in many other sizes besides the giant varieties. The common sunflower, for example, is the perfect size for a cut flower arrangement. When cut and placed in a vase, they make a dramatic and cheerfully bright statement. Regardless of size, the heads can be quite heavy, so they should be placed in a sturdy container when cut. Sunflowers can last up to two weeks and longer as cut flowers.