The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers announced its selections for the 2019 Cut Flowers of the Year. These varieties are chosen by the ASCFG’s 1,600 members on their ease of culture, productivity, and marketability.
Woody Cut of the Year
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire’
Developed in the Netherlands, ‘Quick Fire’ is one of the earliest paniculatas to bloom each year, usually two weeks ahead of others. This makes it an ideal season extender for cut flower growers, especially those in cooler climates who may not have hydrangea flowers until August. The flowers on this lacecap start white, and turn red as they age. They’re also lightly fragrant, and prime pollinator attractors. A bonus is the dark green foliage with red petioles, making the shrub as pretty as in October as it is fresh in July. Great for bouquets, wreaths, and large-scale designs.
Daucus carota ‘Dara’
‘Dara’ has a subtle blend of colors in each bloom that make it the perfect bridge between summer and autumn tones in bridal work. The delicate flowers and aromatic foliage add accents and interest to floral designs. Stems grow to about 40 inches. Tennessee cut flower grower Linda Doan uses this beauty for wedding bouquets, and says it adds “Just the right touch that nothing else can.” 'Dara' received great reviews in the ASCFG National Cut Flower Trials, with stem lengths ranging from two to four feet, and some Trialers cutting up to 40 stems per plant. Plants are productive for a long time, provided that they are kept harvested. 'Dara' does well either direct sown or started from transplants; the former will produce the most flowers and the latter will provide harvestable flowers the fastest.
Anemone coronaria ‘Galilee White’
‘Galilee White’ is the flower that has Pinterest brides swooning, and brings a wow factor to growers’ spring lineups. Sturdy 18-24” stems bear large white flowers with black centers that can play the roles of dramatic stars or delicate supporting actors. They can be grown in the field or under cover, and are tolerant of low light levels and cool temperatures. A long vase life makes them even more appealing.
Eucalyptus gunnii ‘Silver Drop
‘Silver Drop’ is often considered the ideal eucalyptus variety for bouquets and designs. Its silvery green leaves provide a unique texture and light scent in floral designs. ‘Silver Drop’ works beautifully with both pastel and vibrant flower colors. Field-grown plants will produce usable stems from late summer until frost. It will usually overwinter in zone 8 and warmer. It can also be grown in a high tunnel, allowing it to overwinter reliably in zone 6 or higher, producing for a much earlier harvest in subsequent years. Even in a shorter season zone 5, Nebraska grower Jamie Rohda finds a reliable ten weeks or more harvest period in her fields.