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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Busche

Sourcing Cut Flowers

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

The hardest part of planning a cut flower garden is finding plants that meet the criteria of producing long straight stems, grow well in Upstate New York, and are beautiful or somehow interesting. Most greenhouses sell bedding plant varieties that are purposely shorter for easy care in the border or hanging baskets with vining tendencies. They also lean towards plants that are flowering with the belief that customers won't buy plants that they cannot see the flowers now.

Local Farms and Greenhouses that Sell Cutting Varieties:

Pineview Greenhouse, Dugan Road, Richfield Springs

Many cutting varieties including lisianthus, snapdragons, Larkspur, zinnia along with drying flowers such as statice, strawflower and gomphrena. Open Monday - Saturday

Please tell them I sent you, it will make their day!

Parsons Vegetable Farm, Route 20 across from the Walmart Distribution Center, Sharon Springs (518) 284-2330

Transplants of cutting varieties lisianthus, snapdragons, asters, celosia, zinnia,etc.

Dark Hollow Farm, Smyrna

Sells at Hamilton and Clinton Farmers Market

Carefree Gardens, Beaver Meadow Road, Cooperstown

Lots of the basic cost flowers such as zinnia, cosmos, stock, statice, ageratum, strawflower, and gomphrena

Sirkos Greenhouse Leonardsville, NY perennials and eucalyptus

Buying Cut Flower Seeds Online:

Johnny’s Select Seed Seeds and supplies for professional or home gardener with many ways to search including by color in packets and larger quantities

Floret Flowers All about cut flowers so best resource on varieties with sort features like biennials, hardy annuals, filler and greenery. Online only.

Select Seeds Hard to find heirloom varieties in packet sizes

Swallowtail Seed Unusual varieties plus extensive perennial seeds. Online only.

Harris Seed / Garden Trends Great source for wholesale supplies, plugs, liners and bulbs

The Gardener's Workshop All about cut flower seeds and supplies, great place for a beginner to start

Geoseeds professional offerings of trade packets, no pictures

The two major professional companies are Ball Seed and Gloeckner

Bulbs, Corms, Tubers, Plants and Bare Roots:

Swan Island Dahlia Over 350 varieties of dahlias sorted by size

Longfield Gardens Best quality of bareroots available

Annie’s Perennials and Annuals Ships plant in soil that are ready to produce, great search feature

Wayside Gardens Perennial plants, vines and shrubs

Navigating catalogs without pictures can be challenging. Looking specifically at Geoseeds, here is the information necessary to make wise decisions. Along the right margin is the symbol for perennial followed by the zone for that set of plants. These are highlighted to correspond to whether they can be grown as a hardy annual. The code FYF or first year flower gives that away. The height in purple combined with the cut flower symbol help be sure all varieties are tall enough for cut flower use.

The catalog uses a mix of common and botanical names making some very hard to find. Here are the toughest ones:

Yarrow - Achillea

Hollyhock - Alcea

Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla

Snapdragon - Antirrhinum

Columbine - Aquilegia

Feverfew - Chrysanthemum parthenium

Larkspur - Delphinium Consolida

Sunflower - Helianthus

Sweetpea - Lathyrus

Bells of Ireland - Moluccella

Iceland Poppy - Papaver Nudicaule

And finally the list of flowers I no longer grow commercially:

  • Hydrangea and cockscomb celosia both because they are a difficult size and shape to use in mixed bouquets

  • Hanging amaranth for the same reason as it does not work in bouquets

  • Dusty miller is too short

  • Dark sunflowers because they lose their petals

  • Indian summer rudbeckia because it does not hydrate consistently

  • Versailles cosmos because there is a day length issue I can never beat

  • Sweet Annie Artemisia because the scent is too strong

  • Bells of Ireland and carnations because I cannot get tall stems

  • Tulips bloom at time when I have nothing else so I need them to stand alone and make money because the bulbs are so expensive. Unfortunately it has proved difficult to time the different varieties for when I need them to sell at market which does not open until the third week of May.

Flowers I want to master this year:

  • Ranunculus

  • Iceland Poppies

  • Calendula

  • Cactus zinnia

  • Delphinium

  • Didiscus

  • Flowering kale and cabbage

  • Marigolds

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