Best Cut Flowers

Table of Contents

Whether you are ordering a bouquet from the florist, picking up a bundle of blooms from the farmer’s market, or planning your own cutting garden, some flowers are better for cut arrangements than others. Bloom size, stem height, color availability and longevity are all considerations when selecting flowers for cut arrangements.

We’ve put together a list of popular flowers that hold up well in cut arrangements and offer a wide variety of colors and textures. If you are putting together a gift bouquet, you can add special meaning with the flowers you choose. Throughout history, many flowers have come to symbolize a range of emotions from love to friendship to sympathy.

Allium, Ornamental Onion
(Allium species)
Several stems in
a tall vase create a striking, modern look. Perfect for adding height and a strong
vertical line to mixed arrangements. A favorite for Ikebana floral designs.
Colors: lavender, purple, white
Meaning: unity, humility, patience
Alstroemeria, Peruvian Lily, Lily
of the Incas
(Alstroemeria species)
Loose clusters of lily-like flowers are a great filler. Just a few flowers can create a lush bouquet.
Colors: pink, yellow, red, white, orange
Meaning: loyalty, devotion
Anemone, Pasque Flower, Wind Flower (Anemone
Looks as good in formal arrangements as it does in a
garden-style bouquet. Adds fullness and brilliant color to an
Colors: red, purple, pink, white
Meaning: protection, daintiness
Anthurium, Flamingo Flower (Anthurium species)
Add an exotic touch to mixed arrangements or create a more modern, architectural look with just a few stems in a tall vase. Exceptionally long-lasting!
Colors: red, pink, white
Meaning: hospitality, abundance, happiness
Asiatic Lily (Lilium hybrids)
Asiatic lilies don’t
have the intense fragrance of some other types of lilies, but they are incredibly long lasting. Use for filler in large arrangements or a single stem in a narrow vase.
Colors: shades of yellow, white, orange and pink
Meaning: virtuosity, chastity, wealth, pride, birth flower for May
Astilbe, False Spirea (Astilbe species)
Finely cut leaves and feathery flowers add grace and elegance to formal arrangements, or a relaxed garden feeling to
casual bouquets. A good filler.
Colors: red, pink, white, lavender
Meaning: patience, dedication
Butterfly Flower, Milkweed (Asclepias species)
Creates a cheerful, summery feeling. Outdoor bouquets on the patio, deck or poolside may attract butterflies!
Colors: pink, orange, yellow
Meaning: freedom
Calla, Calla Lily (Zantedeschia species)
Calla’s bold flower form adds a modern, decorator-flair to arrangements. Also beautiful used as a single stem in a narrow vase.
Colors: shades of red, orange, yellow, pink and white
Meaning: purity, rebirth, magnificent beauty
Carnation (Dianthus species)
Lush blooms, a wide range of colors and rich spicy scent have made carnations a classic favorite in cut bouquets. Use to add fullness and fragrance.
Colors: shades of pink, red, yellow, violet, orange, white and bicolor
Meaning: boldness, pride, love, luck, birth flower for January
Celosia, Cockscomb, Plume Flower (Celosia species)
Unusual flowers and brilliant colors turn an
ordinary arrangement into the extraordinary! Flower forms range from fluffy plumes to
dense, twisted “comb-like” structures.
Colors: shades of orange, yellow, red and pink
Meaning: friendship, affection, courage
Chinese Lanterns (Physalis species)
Brilliant orange, papery pods dangle from the
branches like glowing Chinese lanterns. Use in mixed arrangements or enjoy single
stems in a tall vase.
Colors: orange
Meaning: protection, safety, comfort
Chrysanthemum, Mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Mums are a classic favorite for flower
arrangements. They’re versatile enough for just about any style; from formal décor
to an old-fashioned garden bouquet.
Colors: shades of orange, yellow, pink, red, white and purple
Meaning: cheerfulness under adversity, birth flower for November
Cornflower, Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus)
Cornflowers bring a soothing meadow-feeling to bouquets. True blue shades expand the possibilities for color-themed arrangements.
Colors: blue, pink, white
Meaning: pride, power
Cymbidium Orchid (Cymbidium species)
Popular during the Victorian period in Europe, the
long-lasting beauty and exotic appeal of cymbidiums continue to make them a
modern-day favorite.
Colors: shades of red, pink, white, orange, yellow, brown and yellow green Meaning: respect, love, strength
Daffodil (Narcissus species)
Brighten any bouquet with the color and fragrance
of spring. Just a few stems in a narrow vase make a thoughtful gift sure to
bring a smile!
Colors: yellow
Meaning: pride, power, rebirth, birth flower for March
Dahlia (Dahlia species)
Dahlias add a vibrant garden feel to
arrangements. They come in a wide range of colors and flower forms so they’re
great for color-themed bouquets.
Colors: shades of red, pink, white, orange, yellow and
Meaning: strength, elegance, good taste
Delphinium, Larkspur (Delphinium species)
A versatile flower that looks as good in
very formal, elegant arrangements as it does in an old-fashioned garden-style
bouquet. Just a few stems add height to arrangements.
Colors: blue, pink, white, purple
Meaning: open heart, fun spirit, birth flower for July
Freesia (Freesia species)
Just a few stems add rich fragrance to a
bouquet. The wide range of colors, sweet scent and attractive tubular flowers
make freesias popular for all styles of arrangements.
Colors: shades of pink, lavender, yellow and white
Meaning: trust
Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Cheerful daisy-like blooms are perfect for
perking up any room! Gerbera flowers are incredibly long-lasting and available
in an array of vibrant colors.
Colors: shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, salmon,
purple and white
Meaning: innocence, purity, cheerfulness
Gladiolus, Sword Lily (Gladiolus species)
Tall spikes create a strong
focal point. A few stems can take a simple bouquet to dramatic new
heights. A bunch in a tall vase create a stunning display!
Colors: shades of pink, red, orange,
yellow, purple, salmon and white
Meaning: strength of character, integrity, birth flower for August
Goldenrod (Solidago species)
Lush flower stems make a great filler for large bouquets. Yellow blooms add warm color and a soft, meadow feeling to arrangements.
Colors: yellow
Meaning: encouragement, luck, good fortune
Helenium, Sneezeweed (Helenium species)
Long-lasting flowers that make a great filler.
Just a few stems can add lush fullness to bouquets. Warm color tones are perfect
for autumn arrangements.
Colors: gold, red, orange, bicolor
Meaning: tears, tenderness, comfort
Holly (Ilex species)
Evergreen foliage adds color and
texture to mixed arrangements. For a decorative touch, try single stems in a colorful
vase or rustic container.
Colors: green leaves with red berries
Meaning: fertility, endurance, happy home, birth flower for December
Hydrangea (Hydrangea species)
Lush, ball-like flower clusters give a bouquet the
feeling of a luxurious summer garden. One of the few flowers available in a true blue.
Colors: blue, pink, white
Meaning: gratitude
Iris (Iris species)
An old-fashioned favorite that still looks modern. Iris’ unique flower form looks as good in formal,
elegant arrangements as it does in a garden-style bouquet.
Colors: shades of blue, purple, pink, bronze, yellow and white
Meaning: faith, valor, wisdom, birth flower for February
Lilac (Syringa species)
The rich fragrance of lilac flowers is the very essence of spring. Dense flower clusters add fullness to mixed arrangements but they’re just as beautiful as a single bunch.
Colors: blue, purple, pink, white
Meaning: humility
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
A prized
ingredient in perfumes for centuries. A bunch in a small
vase creates a petite, but intensely fragrant bouquet.
Colors: white
Meaning: chastity,
happiness, sweetness, birth flower for May
Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum)
grow naturally in open grasslands and they bring that breezy meadow feeling to
arrangements. Use to add fullness and height.
Colors: shades of blue, pink, purple, bicolor and white
Meaning: desire, charisma
Matsumoto Aster (Callistephus chinensis)
Matsumoto Asters are a cheerful addition to any
bouquet. Their bright yellow centers give them a daisy-like charm. Use to add fullness and color.
Colors: shades of blue, pink, yellow, purple and white
Meaning: variety, birth flower for September
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis species)
Elegance, uniqueness and a tropical appeal all in one
flower. Bold lines add a modern flair to
arrangements. A single stem is stunning all on its own!
Colors: shades of lavender, purple, pink, white, orange, yellow and bicolor
Meaning: gaiety
Oriental Lily (Lilium hybrids)
Huge blooms and exquisite fragrance make
oriental lilies a favorite for mixed or single arrangements. Just a few flowers can fill a room with fragrance.
Colors: shades of rose, pink and white
Meaning: virtuosity, chastity, wealth and pride, birth flower for May
Ornamental Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)
This ornamental version of edible cabbage adds
mass and color to large bouquets. Wonderful for modern, non-traditional floral
Colors: green with red, pink, or white
Meaning: good fortune
Peony (Paeonia species)
Peonies bring a lushness, fragrance and luxury to arrangements that few flowers can rival. Huge blooms are ideal for making large bouquets for special occasions or ceremonies.
Colors: shades of red, pink and white
Meaning: bashfulness
Pussy Willow (Salix caprea)
Bold lines add a modern flair to arrangements. A
few stems add instant height and texture. Put a bunch in a tall vase or
rustic container for a natural and long-lasting display.
Colors: brown
Meaning: spring is almost here
Ranunculus (Ranunculus species)
Lavish, crepe-like flowers add a
soft feel to arrangements. Use to add fullness and color. A single stem in a narrow vase has a sculptural appeal.
Colors: shades of blue, red, orange, pink, yellow and white
Meaning: radiant, dazzling
Sea Lavender (Limonium species)
Sea lavender adds fullness, texture
and a breezy, meadow feel to arrangements. Long-lasting and can be preserved
for use in dried bouquets.
Colors: lavender, blue, white
Meaning: loyalty
Sedum, Stonecrop (Sedum species)
Incredibly long-lasting blooms! Succulent
leaves brings weight and substance to mixed arrangements. A few stems in a rustic container make a lovely autumn accent.
Colors: pink
Meaning: tranquility
Silver Dollar (Eucalyptus species)
A great filler in arrangements and dries very
well for long-term uses such as wreaths, swags or in a vase. Aromatic leaves
release a refreshing fragrance into the room.
Colors: silvery gray
Meaning: wellness, good energy
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Long-lasting blooms add height and
fragrance to arrangements. Florets resemble a dragon’s
head. Pinch the sides of a flower to see it open and close like a dragon’s
Colors: shades of pink, orange, white, yellow, red and
Meaning: presumption, deception
Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum opulus)
A bunch of snowball viburnum used
alone creates a clean, modern effect. A few stems can make a simple bouquet look lush and full.
Colors: white
Meaning: affection, family
Statice (Limonium species)
One of the most popular flowers for adding
fullness to bouquets. Long-lasting blooms can be preserved for use in dry bouquets
as well.
Colors: lavender, purple, white, yellow and pink
Meaning: sympathy, remembrance
Stephanotis (Stephanotis floribunda)
A traditional flower for wedding bouquets. Adds
a heavenly fragrance to bouquets. Trailing stems allow for some creative
variations on typical arrangements.
Colors: white
Meaning: boastful
Stock (Matthiola incana)
Stock’s lush blooms and spicy clove scent are
perfect for bringing a refreshing garden feel indoors. Adds rich fragrance and color to any arrangement.
Colors: shades of pink, purple and white
Meaning: lasting beauty
Sunflower (Helianthus species)
Big, cheerful blooms bring a happy
feeling to any room. A fun flower for autumn-themed bouquets. Try a single stem
in a tall vase for a sculptural look.
Colors: orange, red, yellow
Meaning: adoration
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
Lightly scented blooms can last up to two weeks.
A great choice for adding color, fragrance and fullness to an arrangement.
Colors: shades of pink, red, violet, white and bicolor
Meaning: gallantry
Sweetheart Rose (Rosa hybrids)
All the beauty and fragrance of standard roses
on a petite scale. An excellent filler for large arrangements or create a lush
bouquet of sweetheart roses.
Colors: shades of red, white, yellow, pink, lavender, orange and bicolor
Meaning: friendship, “I love you”, birth flower for June
Tea Rose (Rosa hybrids)
The source of the elegant “long-stemmed” roses. A
red rose is the ultimate floral expression of romance. Use to add color and
height to arrangements.
Colors: shades of red, white, yellow, pink, lavender, orange and bicolor
Meaning: friendship, “I love you”, birth flower for June
Tulip (Tulipa hybrids)
Nothing says “spring” like tulips. Use them to
add color to mixed arrangements or create a lush bouquet from a single bunch. One
flower in a narrow vase makes a cheerful gift!
Colors: shades and bicolor blends of red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, white
Meaning: fame
Veronica, Speedwell (Veronica species)
Long-lasting blooms add great
height, texture and a strong vertical line to mixed arrangements. Looks as
good in formal arrangements as it does in an old-fashioned garden-style
Colors: shades of blue, purple, pink and
Meaning: fidelity
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
Zinnia’s bold range of colors are perfect
for creating fun, vibrant arrangements with a summer-garden feel. Use in mixed
bouquets or create a colorful bouquet from a single bunch.
Colors: gold, red, orange, pink, white and bicolor
Meaning: thoughts of absent friends

Caring for Your Cut Flowers

Filling vase with water


Check water level daily, adding enough to cover the bases of all flower stems. Replace water completely every 2 days; sooner if water turns cloudy.

Remove any faded flowers to keep arrangement looking fresh longer.

If water appears excessively cloudy or has an unpleasant odor, pour out and refresh it no matter how much time has passed.


Mixing commercial flower preservative with the vase water can nourish and extend the life of the flowers. But be cautious about using any type of flower foods in metal containers or lead crystal vases. The chemicals could react with the metals. This won’t harm the flowers, but it could discolor the vase.

General Tips

Preparing cut flowers

Trim each flower stem before placing in water. Always cut the stem on a slant. This exposes more stem surface area for water uptake. Place the cut stem into water immediately after cutting.

Remove all leaves that will fall below the water line and trim off any wilted flowers. If left on the stem these will simply decay and encourage bacterial growth that can plug the vascular system of the stem. Use a sharp knife or scissors. Tearing off leaves can cause unnecessary wounding where bacteria can enter.

Keep bouquets out of excessive heat. Direct sunlight, heat vents, radiators and locations near ovens or fireplaces can cause drying, wilting, or premature death if the temperature gets hot enough.

Some flowers, such as lilies, produce a lot of pollen. To prevent pollen being released simply remove the yellow, pollen-bearing anthers. They are easy to identify because you can see the powdery, usually yellow, pollen covering them. Use a tissue or paper towel and gently pluck the anther off. Avoid getting pollen on fingers or clothing since it can stain.

Be creative when selecting a container for cut flowers. Many everyday containers make interesting “vases” for flowers. If it holds water, it may have potential.

Tulips in glasses of water

For even more tips on how to keep your cut flowers looking good see our article, Keep Your Cut Flowers Fresh Longer.


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