It’s high summer now, when the abundant beauty of our flower gardens can spill inside our houses too. What are your favorite cutting flowers?
Sow True sells many easy-to-grow flowers. They fill out the bare spots and bring color and scent to your world, not to mention keep the bees happy.
Three mid-summer bloomers for cutting are:
Gaillardia – An easy-to-grow perennial with large, daisy-like blooms of red and red/yellow. They bloom mid summer to fall. They attract butterflies, like full sun and are drought tolerant.
Aster, Single Rainbow – 2‘ tall, moderately frost sensitive annual. Scarlet, rose, pink, blue-purple single flowers with yellow eye. Full sun. Mid-summer to fall bloom.
Cosmos, Bright Lights – Showy, graceful annual with 3’ tall sunset-orange, red and yellow double flowers that attract butterflies. Mid summer to fall bloom. Self-seeds. Drought tolerant.
What flower seeds can still be sown in July for fall bloom?
Here in zone 6 we mark October 15th as the likely date for the first frost. So anything less than 90 days has a good chance of blooming. The heat of summer often speeds up growth if it doesn’t fry the seedlings (make sure to protect them). Here are a couple you can still plant:
Dwarf Sunspot Sunflower (80 days) – Magnificent 10” blooms with bright yellow petals on 2′ tall plants.
Blue Flax and Scarlet Flax (35 to 45 days) – 18-30″ tall, sky blue or bright scarlet blooms. Prefer cool weather. Direct-seed in full sun. Best planted in a mass. A source of linen, & oil. Self sowers.
And Cosmos, mentioned above, bloom in 60 to 80 days.
How to maintain your flowers
For perennials, dead-head (remove spent blooms) after flowering. Cut back in August to encourage re-growth for a second blooming in fall. In early spring cut back to basal foliage and divide if necessary.
For most annuals, frequent cutting of blooms will keep plants bushy. Prune back one long stem every week or so, cutting back to a set of leaves or a node. The plant will then send out more shoots from that point.
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