POPULAR CUT FLOWERS

During the flower course you will learn how to identify the different cut flowers with which you will be doing the flower arranging course.  You will learn which flowers can be cut from your garden for use in flower arranging.

Amongst the cut flowers, there are many species that bloom at different times of the year.  This means that the florist will always have an abundance of flowers that can be used in a flower design.


The following is a list of flowers and foliage that are the most popular cut flowers for flower arranging purposes:

Protea: This is our national flower in South Africa.  The Protea will last for a couple of weeks if fresh and for many years as dried material.

The Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise flower is indigenous to South Africa.  It has heavy flowers and must be firmly attached with chicken wire and a heavy pin holder. To stabilize the arrangement the flowers should be arranged in a weighted down flower vase.  Fill the water in the flower vase one-third of the way up the stem. Condition the Strelitzia by removing the foliage from the flower stem, cutting off the ends of the stems and placing them in deep lukewarm water.

Ericas, the largest family of flowering plants Ericas thrive in the Western Cape.  Ericas are beautiful fynbos plants, with a lot of varieties that make excellent long lasting cut flowers that beautify any flower arrangement.  

Orchid flowers: long lasting cut flowers.  The waxier or thicker the orchid flower, the longer it will last.  Orchids can be combined with other flowers and foliage.  Good to make flower centrepieces and add an exotic touch to any arrangement. Make sure that you purchase top quality orchids and place in lukewarm water if they appear wilted on delivery. Never place any flower in hot water as it will kill the flower.

Arum Lilies: Usually white, pink yellow, lavender or orange.  As a cut flower, Arum Lilies last a long time in a vase when the water is changed regularly and floral preservative is used.   The Arum lily can be used as a focal point in a flower arrangement.  Arum lilies are popular for use in funeral wreaths.

Agapanthus: also called the African Lily has a long vase life, up to 2 weeks, provided the water is changed frequently and flower food is added every time the water is changed.

Baberton Daisies, also called Gerberas is available all year round and should ideally be stored at a temperature of .56°C to 1.67°C. Gerberas naturally turn their heads towards light just as sunflowers do.

Freesias:  Born and bred in South Africa  and  one of the most fragrant cut flowers around.  It has a floral scent. Freesias are available in white, yellow, cream, orange, pink, purple and lavender and should be cut when the first flower is open.  Freesias can last up to two weeks. Freesia flowers are popular for their elegant look and pleasing fragrance.

Sunflowers:  Available in different flower sizes. Keep the water in the vase of your Sunflowers fresh. The water should be replaced 3 days with cold water, keeping the water level near the top of the vase.  Make sure that all foliage is removed before placing in water. When the stems are cut it should be done under water, using a sharp knife.

Eremurus, also known as the foxtail lily is a bulbous plant used for straight lines in flower arranging.  It consists of many flowers in snow white, copper, pastel pink, orange bright yellow, or any combination of those colours.

Feverfew flowers originated South Africa. The small, white, single, or double, daisy-like flowers bloom on branched one to two foot stems and is used as filler in flower arrangements, similar to using baby’s breath.  Feverfew should be cut when a few of the flowers are out.  Remember to remove the leaves below the water line.

Ginger is a distinctive looking tropical flower. Ginger (Costus species) is a flower available all year. It will last two to four weeks. The red flowers on top of the two to three and one half-foot stems look like red-hot pokers. The “poker” is very heavy, must like the Bird of Paradise and should be weighted down accordingly.

Ixia, also called the African Corn Lilly, comes in bright colours such as pink, white, lavender, red-orange, and a variety of colour combinations. Ixias will last for about a week and adds beauty to any flower arrangement.

Lily of the Valley is sweet-smelling, beautiful, elegant and can be used to create stunning flower arrangements.  This flower is also used for medicinal purposes.

The Sweet William flower is a very informal, cheerful flower that resembles a carnation and adds beauty to old fashioned bouquet flower arrangements.

Alstoemeia, also called Inka lilies, very good for use as a filler flower in mass flower arrangements. Inka lilies are available in a variety of colours and combination colours.

Carnation: Carnations have become popular because they come in numerous colours. Carnations come in different types for example: Large carnations, one flower per stem. Spray carnations, also called mini carnations with lots of flowers on a stem and dwarf carnations which have several small flowers on one stem.

Chrysanthemum: These flowers occur in various forms and can be daisy-like, decorative, pompons or buttons. The traditional colour of a Chrysanthemum is yellow, but other colours are available, such as white, purple, bronze, mauve and red. Chrysanthemum blooms are composed of many individual flowers and depending on the size of the head can be used as focal or filler flowers.

Everlastings are flowers that retain their shape and colour after drying. They are also known as strawflowers or Statice.  As dried flowers you have the pleasure of enjoying  these flowers  for years to come. 

Gladiolus are valued for use in floral arrangements. Gladioli produce tall spikes of large blossoms, in a rainbow of colours such as white, pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, salmon, along with many bi-colours are available to florists.

Lace: used as a filler in floral arrangements.  Used in flower center pieces, bouquets and other floral decor. The Lace flower has tufts of multiple white blooms atop long green stems.

Larkspur is part of the Delphinium genus.  Larkspur has very appealing foliage and make excellent cut flowers. Colours available to the florist include red, pink, violet and white.

Roses: Available in a variety of sizes and colours. If you are using roses in a flower arrangement and the roses have not opened yet, place the stems in hot water for a few minutes to force them open. Do not leave the roses in hot water for too long, as this will kill them.

Tulips: Most Tulips produce only one flower per stem. take note that Tulips open wide during the day and close at night. Tulips should be bought when the flowers have just started opening. Cut the stems before arranging to make sure that the flowers have clear access to water, which keep Tulips happy. No need to add flower food to the vase. Make sure that the container in which the Tulips are kept is filled daily with fresh water. Tulips turn to the light, this face must be remembered when arranging the flowers.