How to Make a Fresh Flower Bouquet
The warm Australian summer encourages a wealth of beautiful blooms to grow, perfect for cutting and bringing a touch of colour and fragrance into your home
13 February 2018
There’s nothing quite like receiving a garland of vibrant blooms or filling a vase with stunning scented natives at this time of year, but what if these florist-worthy displays were picked fresh from your own garden? From eye-catching shallow bowl arrangements to a rustic bucket of blooms, a wide array of plants and flowers can be used, but which varieties make the cut?
This plant’s sweetly perfumed plumes make a beautiful addition to a cut flower arrangement with their delicate creamy white flowers, alluring scent and long, sturdy stems. Well suited to the hot Australian climate, tuberoses stand up to full sun exposure; brimming with sprays of elegant tubular blooms from late summer through to autumn. Traditionally used in wedding bouquets, tuberoses are ideally suited to displaying in a tall vase to show off their striking green stems.
How to cut: Cutting these flowers to bring indoors will not harm the plant; they can also be transplanted to a large pot inside if kept in a warm, sunny location. If displaying in a vase, cut the stems at an angle with sharp secateurs and submerge in cool water with a little sugar solution.
How long do they last? These fragrant flowers tend to last up to five days in water, though you can prolong their life by regularly changing the water and placing the vase in a warm location.
For a splash of dramatic colour in your cut flower display, dahlias are a must. In bloom from early January to early May, there are over 40 species of dahlia available, each boasting a different striking shade: from purple-tinged blossoms to midnight blue buds. These decorative blooms grow well in most soil types, thriving when exposed to a mixture of both sun and shade, ideally supported by a stake. A traditional yet timeless flower, the dahlia really is queen of cut blooms!
How to cut: Best picked early in the morning, cut the stem at an angle around 1cm from the surface of the soil, submerging in water straight away.
How long do they last? Dahlias last approximately one week as a cut flower.
This striking perennial boasts long stout stems with golden globe-like flowers that will ensure your pretty posy stands out from the crowd. In bloom now, this native wild flower offers an eye-catching shape amongst your cut flower display, and is also well suited to drying. A great all-rounder, this plant is highly frost tolerant, thrives in both dry and coastal environments and can grow in full sun or partial shade. Its ornate yellow heads will look like gorgeous tufts of honeycomb peeking out from your floral bouquet.
How to cut: Craspedias can be cut at any height and displayed in fresh water with a little flower food or sugar solution to keep them going.
How long do they last? These hardy blooms can last up to 12 days once cut.
The unique form of this Australian native plant promises to add interest to your cut flower display. The plant’s striking colour is determined by the blanket of fine hairs that coats its flowers. In bloom from spring to summer, the elongated shape of the flower panicles allows pollen to be easily distributed from flower to flower, pollinated by nectar-eating birds. Perhaps not as easy to grow as our above blooms, these picky plants require full sun and plenty of moist, well-drained soil, though outside of their flowering period they are quite drought tolerant and can handle temperatures well over 40ºC. With a little perseverance and frequent pruning, the reward will be a vivid flush of flowers in your homemade bouquet – and maybe a few new feathered visitors to your garden too!
How to cut: Cut the stem of a kangaroo paw close to the ground and trim at an angle for your display. Submerge the stems in a vase of cool water mixed with flower food. Ensure you keep the flowers dry.
How long do they last? If looked after this unique flower can last up to two weeks in a vase.
Also known as Sea Lavender, limonium is a cut flower that really lasts in both fresh and dried floral displays. Billowing sprays of pastel pinks, mauves and creams makes this evergreen perennial an ideal filler flower for a stunning arrangement. Emitting mounds of delicate flowers, the tiny blooms of limonium can be seen in all their glory from spring to summer, thriving in coastal conditions. Best grown in sheltered sunny spots with moist, well-drained soil, this hardy plant is long-lasting and can survive in some pretty harsh growing conditions.
How to cut: Cut limonium low on the stem and strip any foliage below the flower before submerging in water. To display as a dried flower, hang upside down in a cool, dark place for a few days until dried through.
How long do they last? With fresh water and a bit of light pruning, limonium can last up to two weeks in a vase. It is recommended to change the water around every three days.
Endemic to Australia, these woody evergreen shrubs feature striking foliage that has become an integral part of the traditional bush landscape. Its bold flowering spikes provide an important source of nectar to birds as well as shelter to some smaller species. Cutting its honey-scented flowers encourages growth, so don’t be afraid to use those secateurs! Each beautiful head boasts hundreds of tiny wiry flowers that last well in a vase and promise to be a focal point of your home-grown display. Blooming in eye-catching shades of deep reds, bright yellows and fiery oranges between summer and winter, banksias range from a low-growing shrub to a small tree and grow well in a sunny location with drained soil.
How to cut: Cut banksia flowers with enough stem for them to stand up against the other blooms in your display. These easy-going plants don’t require any special treatment, so a simple vase of water will be enough to keep them happy.
How long do they last? Depending on the species, banksias can last up to two weeks in a vase. To prolong their life, display out of direct sunlight, re-cut the stems from time to time and change the water frequently. Banksia foliage also makes a beautiful dried display for interest inside year-round.
With a little inside knowledge your cut flower display can last and last. Cutting the stems at an angle under water, using sharp secateurs (have you seen our colourful Hoselink secateurs?) or kitchen scissors, 1-2 inches from the bottom of the stem, will help to keep your flowers feeling perky. Re-cutting the stems every 2-3 days and changing the water in your vase regularly will also give your display a boost.