A Stunning Fall Bouquet with Annuals

Discover which plants were used to create this seasonal cut-flower arrangement—with a helping of foliage plants that really makes the blooms pop

Fine Gardening – Issue 215

Annuals do more than just look good in the garden; they also make excellent cut flowers for floral arrangements—especially in fall as they give it their all and put out their last blooms before the end of the growing season. As with creating captivating combinations in garden beds and containers, a bouquet needs balanced and hardworking elements. Focal-point flowers and foliage give a strong visual anchor. Use color echoes and contrasts to evoke dramatic excitement and harmony. And don’t forget to include dynamic fillers and textures, which also help the leading players to stand out.


Using Annuals from Garden to the Vase

Annuals do more than just look good in the garden—they also make excellent cut flowers for floral arrangements. When you think of a cutting garden, you might just envision flowers, but foliage makes a perfect filler, sometimes as a backdrop for those flashy flowers and at other times as a main attraction. Here are some bonuses to growing annuals with fancy foliage.

• In general, annuals grown for their foliage aren’t your average green. They’re deep, dark burgundy, golden yellow, glaucous blue-green, or even glistening silver. Many often have unusual textures and shapes.

• They make the flowers you do include pop with contrast, and they take an
average arrangement to new levels of sophistication. Annual foliage truly provides a secret dash of awesomeness to bouquets.

Many annual foliage plants benefit from pinching in spring to make a bushier, fuller plant, and those pinched stems are perfect for little posies. In the middle of the season, when the plants are getting a bit too big, thinnings are perfect for summer BBQ hostess bouquets. In fall, when it’s time to empty out containers and rip out fading annuals while you’re cleaning up your beds, those long stems are perfect for big, bodacious autumn bouquets with lingering sunflowers and ornamental grasses.

Here are the plant ids for a beautiful fall bouquet that was featured in Fine Gardening Issue 215, in an article on unusual annuals to grow from seed by Michelle Gervais.

  1. Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum, Zones 3-9)
  2. Golden bluebeard (Caryopteris × clandonensis cv., Zones 5-9)
  3. Graceful Grasses® Vertigo® purple fountain grass (Cenchrus purpureus* ‘Tift 8’, syn. Pennisetum purpureum ‘Tift 8’, Zones 8-11)
  4. Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus cvs., annual)
  5. ‘Mahogany Splendor’ hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella ‘Mahogany Splendor’, Zones 9-11)
  6. ‘Tilt a Whirl’ coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides ‘Tilt a Whirl’, syn. Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Tilt a Whirl’, Zone 11)
  7. ‘Van Houttei’ salvia (Salvia splendens ‘Van Houttei’, Zones 10-11)
  8. Goldenrod (Solidago sp., Zones 3-9)
  9. ‘Queeny Lime Orange’ zinnia (Zinnia elegans ‘Queeny Lime Orange’, annual)
  10. ‘Queeny Red Lime’ zinnia (Zinnia elegans ‘Queeny Red Lime’, annual)

* These plants are considered invasive in some areas. Please check or your state’s list of invasive plants for more information.

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