Flowers

What is a garden without flowers? A few fresh blooms along the garden path or on the kitchen table brighten our days and help to lure the pollinators that ensure our gardens are fruitful.

Annuals

Annuals are flowers that bloom and go to seed in the same year. With the exception of those that self-sow (re-seed on their own in the garden bed), these last only one year. Saving seeds from annual flowers is a great way to ensure you have them around every year.

Alyssum, Purple
Lobularia maritima
Annual, up to 1’. Spreading groundcover with grey-green leaves and sweet-scented purple flowers. Enjoys full sun with some afternoon shade and tolerates dry soils. Cut plants back in mid-summer for fresh blooms in the fall.

Bachelor Button, Blue Boy
Centaurea cyanus
Annual, up to 3’. Also called cornflower, these light bright blue flowers bloom from May to early July. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil for the sturdiest plants. Lovely as a cut flower or in the border of a cottage garden. Edible. Can be used in teas or added to brighten up salads. Endangered in it’s native European habitat; naturalized in much of the US.

Black-eyed Susan vine, Amber eyes
Thunbergia alata
Annual, vining up to 8’. 70 days. Twining vine native to east Africa. The blooms are reminiscent of Black-eyed Susans, hence the common name. Can be trimmed and moved indoors to over winter, or take cuttings to overwinter in fall. Enjoys full sun with afternoon shade, well-drained soil.

Borage
Borago officinalis
Annual, up to 3’. 60 days. Fuzzy green plants bear hundreds of beautiful blue edible flowers, occasionally a pink or purple. The flowers have a mild cucumber flavor and are a guaranteed crowd pleaser in salads, look lovely with fresh fruit, and take cake decorating to the next level. Flowers are also popular with pollinators, especially bumble bees. Continues to bloom until frost. Also has a tendency to self-seed and pop up in a new place in the garden.  Space plants 12” apart in full to partial sun.

Calendula, Kabloona
Calendula officinalis
Annual, 2-3’. 55 days. Minty green foliage topped with loads of orange and yellow blooms. Calendula’s resinous leaves and flowers can be used to make salves. The flowers are edible and make a bright addition to salads. The unique c-shaped seeds of calendula are easy to collect and save for planting next year. Some may self-seed on their own.

Calendula, Pink surprise
Calendula officinalis
Annual, 2-3’. 55 days. Minty green foliage topped with loads of orange ruffled blooms with salmon pink centers. Calendula’s resinous leaves and flowers can be used to make salves. The flowers are edible and are a bright addition to salads. The unique c-shaped seeds of calendula are easy to collect and save for planting next year. Some may self-seed on their own.

Calendula, Tall double cut
Calendula officinalis
Annual, 2-3’. 55 days. Minty green foliage topped with bright orange double blooms. Calendula’s resinous leaves and flowers can be used to make salves. The flowers are edible and are a bright addition to salads. The unique c-shaped seeds of calendula are easy to collect and save for planting next year. Some may self-seed on their own.

California poppy
Eschscholzia californica
Annual, up to 2’. 70 days. Attractive blue-green foliage with little cup-shaped orange flowers. The state flower of California and native to much of the West Coast. Enjoys full sun and average or sandy soils. Blooms in June and July. Remove spent blooms to promote additional blossoms, but leave some seedheads so that it can self-sow in the garden.

Cosmos, Sensation mix
Cosmos bipinnatus
Annual, up to 4-5’. 75 days. A beautiful mix of magenta, purple, and white blooms. Cosmos are excellent cut flowers and perform nicely in the back border of flower beds or interspersed in the vegetable garden. Space seedlings 9-12” apart and pinch back the central stalk to promote more branching. Use as a cut flower when first flower on a branch is just opening. Remove spent blossoms to promote continuous blooms. Well-drained soil and full sun.

Cosmos, Pink & white
Cosmos bipinnatus
Annual, up to 2-3’. 75 days. Delicate pink and white blooms with slightly frilled picotee edges. Shorter than Sensation Mix. Space seedlings 9-12” apart and pinch back the central stalk to promote more branching. Use as a cut flower when first flower on a branch is just opening. Remove spent blossoms to promote continuous blooms. Well-drained soil and full sun.

Marigold, Queen Sophia
Tagetes patula
Annual, up to 1’
60 days. A garden standard. Beautiful dark orange flowers trimmed in gold, a bit like burning embers. Space plants 6-12” apart. Remove spent blossoms to encourage more blooms. Pinch back to create a bushier plant (cut back the central stem when plant is well-established in the garden but not yet blooming, ~8” tall). Flowers are edible, just remove the green from the base of the blossom because it can be bitter. Some say these ward off deer and insect pests in the garden.

Marigold, Crackerjack
Tagetes erecta
Annual, up to 4’. 60 days. The most majestic of marigolds. Tall plants produce prolific bright yellow and orange blossoms with some creamy yellow blooms that fill the garden from mid-summer through fall. Space plants 6-12” apart. Remove spent blossoms to encourage more blooms. Pinch back to create a bushier plant (cut back the central stem to about 3/4 height when plant is well-established in the garden but not yet blooming, ~12” tall). Flowers are edible, just remove the green from the base of the blossom because it can be bitter. Save the seeds from dried blossoms for next year’s garden.

Mexican sunflower, Red Torch
Tithonia rotundifolia
Annual, up to 6’! 90 days. A farm favorite. These bodacious plants love the heat and produce hundreds of bright orange 3” blooms from mid-summer to frost. They are excellent along a fence or the back edge of a garden. They can also be planted in the middle of the garden to provide some shade to heat sensitive plants grown in the summer like fennel or lettuces. On cool dewy mornings in fall we often find bumble bees sleeping on the blossoms.

Nasturtium, Jewel mix
Trapaeolum minus
Annual, up to 1’, 2’ spreading. 65 days. Beautiful blend of red, orange, yellow, and creamy white flowers. The leaves, flowers, and green seed pods of nasturtiums are all edible and add a peppery punch to salads and omelets. The flowers are especially stunning arranged atop a summer cake or ringed around a berry pie with ice cream. Plants are sprawling and can be hand-trellised, though they do not have tendrils to climb on their own. Thrive in well-drained soil and full sun, but will also tolerate some afternoon shade.

Nasturtium, Alaska Red
Trapaeolum minus
Annual, up to 1’, 2’ spreading. 65 days. Bright beautiful red flowers. The leaves are green with creamy white variegation. The leaves, flowers, and green seed pods of nasturtiums are all edible and add a peppery punch to salads and omelets. The flowers are especially stunning arranged atop a summer cake or ringed around a berry pie with ice cream. Plants are sprawling, and be hand-trellised, though they do not have tendrils to climb on their own. Thrive in well-drained soil and full sun, but will also tolerate some afternoon shade.

Salvia, Blue Monday
Salvia horminum
Annual, up to 2′. 70 days. Also called Clary Sage. The foliage smells wonderful and bees love to visit the bright blue flowers. Blooms mid-summer through fall. Not hardy enough to overwinter here, but can self-sow in the garden. Can last up to 10 days as a cut flower. Enjoys full sun and well-drained soil.

Scabiosa, Butterfly Blue
Scabiosa atropurpurea
Annual, up to 3’. 100 days. Also called ‘Pincushion flower’. These lovely blue-purple blooms are excellent fresh or dried. They stand like little drumsticks on slender stems and dance in the breeze. Cut and hang upside down for a dried flower. Plant 9” apart in full sun and well-drained soil.

Snapdragon, Rocket Orchid
Antirrhinum majus
Semi-hardy annual, 2-3’. 110 days. The classic mix of colors ranging from magenta, yellow, white, salmon, and rose with some bi-color blooms. Snapdragons are excellent and long-lasting cut flowers. They are also a great addition to the garden border. Can self-sow and appear in new places, but they’re always welcome wherever they travel in our gardens. Well-drained soil and full to partial sun.

Snapdragon, Snappy tongue
Antirrhinum majus
Semi-hardy annual, 2-3’. 110 days. Snappy Tongue is a new-to-us variety with a distinct tongue protruding from each bloom. The flowers have a more complex, orchid-like appearance than traditional snaps. A mix of colors. Snapdragons are excellent and long-lasting cut flowers. They are also a great addition to the garden border. Can self-sow and appear in new places, but they’re always welcome wherever they travel in our gardens. Well-drained soil and full to partial sun.

Statice, Pacific Mix
Limonium sinuatum
Annual, up to 2′. 110 days. An everlasting dried flower that works equally well in a vase. Papery blooms in rich tones of yellow, magenta, white, and rose. Cut blooms and hang upside down to dry when almost all of the flowers are open. Also called wavyleaf sea lavender. Full sun and well-drained soil.

Sunflower, Florenza
Helianthus annuus
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. Striking mix of blooms, some all-red with brown centers, some ringed with yellow and red. Grown for it’s beauty in the garden as well as it’s excellent durability as a cut flower. Produces pollen, which is great for the bees! But it does mean you may have to wipe up some yellow dust from the kitchen table if you make a bouquet. Plant in full sun with well-drained soil. Space plants 12-24” apart.

Sunflower, Mammoth
Helianthus annuus
Annual, up to 10’. 90 days. The queen of all sunflowers. Mammoth sunflowers follow in the footsteps of their prehistoric namesakes—tall and mighty. They can grow up to 10 feet tall with flowers 12” or more across! Bright yellow petals with large-seeded brown centers. They hold court in the garden. Plant in full sun with well-drained soil. Space plants 12-24” apart; wider spacing will encourage larger plants.

Sunflower, Soraya
Helianthus annuus
Annual, up to 5’. 95 days. Classic sunflower with bright orange petals and deep brown centers. Sturdy stems with lots of branches and blooms. Excellent cut flower. Plant in full sun with well-drained soil. Space plants 12-24” apart.

Sunflower, Teddy bear
Helianthus annuus
Annual, up to 4’. 75 days. Pretty much the most adorable sunflower. Fluffy deep orange petals form a bushy mane around small green centers. The blooms are 4-5” across and plants only grow to half the height of standard sunflowers. Makes an excellent cut flower. Plant in full sun with well-drained soil. Space plants 8-12” apart.

Zinnia, Bon bon
Zinnia elegans
Annual, up to 4’. 90 days. Cheerful double-blooms from mid-summer to frost. A mix of red, yellow, and white with red splashes on many of the petals. Zinnias produce more blooms with sturdier stems if pinched back a few weeks after transplanting. When the plants are 8-12” tall, snip the top 3-4” of the plant, above a set of leaves or branches. Space plants 9-12” apart in full to filtered sunlight and well-drained soil.

Zinnia, Macaneria
Zinnia elegans
Annual, up to 3’. 90 days. A two-toned riot in the garden, these double blooms are crimson in the center with a gold edges, slightly stockier than other varieties. Zinnias produce more blooms with sturdier stems if pinched back a few weeks after transplanting. When the plants are 8-12” tall, snip the top 3-4” of the plant, above a set of leaves or branches. Space plants 9-12” apart in full to filtered sunlight and well-drained soil.

Zinnia, Oklahoma mix
Zinnia elegans
Annual, up to 4’ 90 days. Cheerful double-blooms from mid-summer to frost. A mix of white, yellow, salmon, pink, and scarlet. Zinnias produce more blooms with studier stems if pinched back a few weeks after transplanting. When the plants are 8-12” tall, snip the top 3-4” of the plant, above a set of leaves or branches. Space plants 9-12” apart in full to filtered sunlight and well-drained soil.

Zinnia, Pumila
Zinnia elegans
Annual, up to 4’. 90 days. Cheerful double-blooms from mid-summer to frost. A mix of white, yellow, salmon, pink, and scarlet. Zinnias produce more blooms with sturdier stems if pinched back a few weeks after transplanting. When the plants are 8-12” tall, snip the top 3-4” of the plant, above a set of leaves or branches. Space plants 9-12” apart in full to filtered sunlight and well-drained soil.

Perennial Flowers

Perennials are plants that will continue to bloom for many years after they are planted. They store energy in their roots, bulbs, or tubers and re-emerge each spring.

Bee balm
Monarda fistulosa
Perennial, up to 2’. Native to Ohio and many other parts of North America. Also called Wild Bergamot. Aromatic leaves have been used medicinally for poultices and in teas. The pink flowers are very attractive to pollinators. Member of the mint family, can slowly spread by rhizomes and is susceptible to powdery mildew.

Black-eyed Susan, Goldsturm
Rudbeckia fulgida
Perennial, up to 3’. Bright yellow flowers with dark brown centers bloom late summer through fall. These are a domesticated version of the native wildflower, with larger blooms (up to 5”) and sturdier stems for harvest. Enjoys full sun to partial sun, tolerates heat and drought. Space plants 12” apart.

Black-eyed Susan, Gloriosa daisy
Rudbeckia hirta
Tender perennial, up to 3’. An eye-catching mix of yellow, reddish brown, and bi-color daisies with the classic brown “eye” of a Black-eyed Suan. Sturdy stems for cutting. Flowers can be up to 6” in diameter. Enjoys full sun and poor soils. Blooms late July through frost. Space plants 12” apart.

Coreopsis (tickseed), Baby gold
Coreopsis lanceolata
Perennial, up to 2’. 90 days. Native to the dry meadows and prairies of Ohio. Lush green lance-shaped leaves with bright yellow daisy-like flowers 2-4” in diameter that dance in the breeze.  Prefers full to partial sun in well-drained soil. Remove spent blooms to promote additional blooms. Also called Tickseed for the spiny seeds that some say resemble ticks.

Echinacea, Purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
Perennial, up to 2’. 90 days. A well-loved native to Ohio. Long purple petals hang from large copper-colored cones. The blooms attract a wide variety of pollinators and the seed heads bring in songbirds. Used medicinally to boost immune function. Blooms summer through fall, sometimes with a second bloom if first blossoms are removed early. Enjoys full to partial sun, and is well-adapted to heat and drought. Space plants at least 12” apart, divide clumps every 2-3 years.

Hollyhock, Majorette Double Champagne
Alcea rosea
Tender perennial, sometimes treated like an annual in Ohio, up to 3’. 90 days. A compact variety with beautiful creamy champagne-colored double blooms. Enjoys full sun. Slightly rough foliage grows tall with lots of blooms; plant along fences or the back edge of the garden.

Oriental poppy, Princess Victoria
Papaver orientalis
Perennial, 2’. 60 days. Warm salmon-pink petals with black centers. Poppies prefer moist, well-drained soil and full or filtered sunlight. Oriental poppies have ferny foliage covered in lots of resinous hairs. A single plant can send up multiple nodding blooms over several weeks. If flowers are left to go to seed they can self-sow in the garden. To use poppies as a cut flower you must sear or boil the bottom of the stem first to keep from wilting in water.

Yarrow, Colorado Mix
Achillea millefolium
Perennial, up to 2’. 90 days. Found throughout much of the United States in prairies, field edges, and old pastures. Ferny grey-green leaves have a spicy sage aroma and are topped by a cluster of tiny flowers comprising a larger flat-topped flower head. Colorado Mix blooms in shades of peach, cream, rose, salmon, and white. Flowers from mid-summer to early fall. Yarrow has been used medicinally as a poultice on wounds and as a digestive aid. Spreads modestly through divisions. Love full sun and dry soil.

Yellow Prairie Coneflower
Ratibida columnifera
Perennial, up to 3’. 90 days. Native to the prairies of Ohio. Long drooping yellow petals surround a tall brown central cone on slender 3’ stalks. It’s common name “Mexican Hat” comes from it’s resemblance to a tall sombrero. Loves full sun and is unfazed by heat and drought. Space plants 12” apart.