Develop A Native Reduce Flower Backyard: 5 Planting Recipes for Beds & Pots

Growing your own native flowers and foliage appropriate for vases and vessels ensures you will always have something to bring in from the garden when the impulse arises – without having to spend a lot at the store.

You can feel good about having a native flower haul to harvest because you’re helping support a diversity of pollinators in your own backyard. And since native plants are resilient, you’ll likely spend way less time watering and worrying about your native cut flower garden.

When growing a cut flower garden your best results will come by following a few of nature’s unwritten rules: stick with plants that are suited for your USDA hardiness zone; ensure your plants are appropriate for your existing light, soil, and moisture conditions; and choose cutting garden plants that have overlapping blooming periods so you’ll have multiple flowers blooming concurrently for the most fantastic home bouquets.

Below we’ve prepared five cut flower garden recipes suiting several themes and growing conditions – even one that doesn’t need a garden bed at all! You’ll appreciate the colors, textures, and fragrances they bring to your bouquets, and the support they offer your local fauna.

1. A Water-Wise Container Garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Container gardens require a constant eye on moisture. That’s when drought-tolerant plants come to the rescue. Plant each of these sun-loving native plants in one large rectangular raised bed, or place them individually in pots of varying sizes and arrange them on your porch or patio to your liking.

  1. Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) This member of the mint family develops nearly foot-long, licorice-scented flower spikes from June to September. Cut stems add a pop of purple to cut flower arrangements. USDA Zones 3-8.
  2. Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Today’s coneflowers come in a number of petal colors, from traditional purples and whites to yellows and oranges. Bare seed heads add texture to dried flower arrangements. USDA Zones 4-9.
  3. Chocolate Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata) Use this low-mounding perennial as a “spiller” in your container gardens. Its quarter-sized butter-yellow blooms add pats of sunshine to bouquets. USDA Zones 4-9.
  4. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Use some of its mauve-colored clusters in arrangements and keep some for the Monarchs. Find additional colors in other Asclepias species. USDA Zones 3-9.

2. A Pocket of Prairie

Little Bluestem grass, Blazing Star, Wild Quinine, Prairie Tickseed

(Image credit: Alamy)

With so little original American prairieland left, incorporating perennials from this region into a garden offers a lifeline to wildlife that depend on prairie plants. Lucky for you, plenty of sunny prairie perennials produce gorgeous flowers and textures for vases and arrangements.

  1. Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Speaking of textures, this 2-3ft tall blue-stemmed grass is that much-needed vertical element in gardens and vases. In fall, seed heads float atop red-hued leaves and are eaten by birds. USDA Zones 3-9.
  2. Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) Another tallish vertical perennial, Blazing Star’s purple flower-filled spikes are a favorite of bees and butterflies. USDA Zones 3-9.
  3. Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) These dense clusters of bright white flowers contrast nicely with Blazing Star and can be cut to any height to use as fillers in an arrangement. USDA Zones 4-8.
  4. Prairie Tickseed (Coreopsis palmata) This 2.5ft-tall Missouri native blooms May to July with sunshine yellow daisy-like flowers. Cutting flowers will encourage more blooms to emerge. USDA Zones 3-8.

3. Scent-sational Aromas

Mountain Mint, Garden Phlox David, Bee Balm, Palmer's Penstemon

(Image credit: Alamy)

Proving that natives can be functional and fabulous, these scent-filled plants fill both garden and home with alluring fragrances.

  1. Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) This understated gray-green native grows into clumps of strong, upright 3ft stems densely topped with small white or pink flowers. But it’s the leaves that steal the show with their mint-like scent. USDA Zones 4-8.
  2. Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) ‘Jeana’ and ‘David’ These two varieties of this fragrant native plant two stand out for their powdery mildew resistance. Use lavender-pink, 4ft-tall ‘Jeana’ near the rear of the cut flower garden, and white, 2ft-tall ‘David’ toward the front. USDA Zones 4-8.
  3. Bee Balm (Monarda spp.) With several native species to the genus, all are fragrant, pollinator-attracting, and offer a cluster of tiny flowers that look like a miniature explosion. USDA Zones 4-9.
  4. Palmer’s Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) This is one of the few scented penstemons and so is a treasure in the cutting garden and in the vase. Growing upwards of 6ft tall, its tall spikes are bejeweled with showy and rounded pink to bluish flowers. USDA Zones 5-10.

4. Fantastic For Fall

New England Aster, Black-Eyed Susan, Goldenrod, Coneflowers and Milkweed with butterfly

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gathering the last the garden has to offer seems a duty, and arranging it into a beautiful bouquet can become a lesson in breaking all the rules. Anything goes – flowers, foliage, seed pods, even “weeds”!

  1. New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) A daisy-like flower gets a blue to purple treatment with this late-summer favorite. Growing from 2 to 4ft tall, these asters can fill a whole vase or be carefully placed to add pops of fall color. USDA Zones 4-8.
  2. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) Several species are available, all with the daisy shape and elevated cone. Find them short and stout to tall and lanky with flowers in light to dark yellows, oranges, reds, and some with all four. USDA Zones 3-9.
  3. Goldenrod (Solidago spp) Considered by many to be a sneeze fest (blame that on ragweed!), goldenrod brightens roadsides with its signature mustard yellow flowers, but you can find some cultivated varieties to add to your cutting garden. USDA Zones 3-8.
  4. Both Coneflowers and Milkweeds reappear in our fall-themed cutting garden. Their end-of-season seed heads and pods are fun structural elements for fall arrangements.

5. Pollinator Magnets

Coneflower ‘Ruby Star’, ‘Mellow Yellows’ and ‘Prairie Splendor’ , Iris Purple Flame, Bee Balm Raspberry Wine

(Image credit: Plant By Number)

In the end, our enjoyment of a native cut flower garden is a byproduct of what the garden is really all about, and that is providing food and shelter for pollinators.

The Plant By Number native cut flower garden planting kit, available on the Gardening Know How Shop, will get you on your way to sustaining a pollinator population quickly and easily with a 5ft x 8ft planting plan, fabric planting map, and plants that will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The design is printed directly on the planting template for “get it right the first time” installation. All varieties here prefer loads of sun and rich, loamy soils.

  1. Coneflower ‘Ruby Star’ (Echinacea purpurea) Large, 5-inch flowers of various shades sit atop sturdy stems that are perfect for cutting. Bees, wasps, and butterflies are frequent visitors! USDA Zones 4-8.
  2. Iris ‘Purple Flame’ (Iris versicolor) Visited by hummingbirds and butterflies, these iris add a height and vibrant color to gardens and arrangements. USDA Zones 2-7.
  3. Coneflower ‘Prairie Splendor’ Upright flower spikes with large blooms. USDA Zones 4-8.
  4. Coneflower ‘Mellow Yellows’ Add warmth with this sunny yellow variety that pairs perfectly with pinks and purples. USDA Zones 4-8.
  5. Bee Balm ‘Raspberry Wine’ (Monarda) A treat for bees, wasps, hummingbirds, and moths, this variety explodes with berry-red flowers atop stems bearing wine-colored highlights. USDA Zones 4-9.

A second Native Cutting Flower planting kit, available on the Gardening Know How Shop, doubles up on the pollinator-friendly plantings with an array of blues and purples with blue false indigo and New England asters, both white and purple coneflowers, and the greens and purples of a Green Twister coneflower that will add a bit of drama to any bouquet.

This article features products available from third-party vendors on the Gardening Know How Shop.

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