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May 16th 2021

Discovering Biennials

Written by
Floret

Biennials are a unique group of plants that produce only leaves the first year, and in the second year they flower, set seed, and die. This group includes sweet William, foxglove, sweet rocket, and other beloved cottage garden favorites.

What makes these varieties such treasures is that they fill the wide gap between the last of the tulips and the first of the hardy annuals in the garden. Also, the more you pick these blooms, the more they flower. They are real spring workhorses.
Biennial starts in fieldStart seeds later than most, at the end of spring, and plant seedlings in the garden at the end of summer. Ideally, plants will have at least 6 to 8 weeks to establish before the first autumn frost.

Once planted, each variety will produce a large clump of foliage before cold weather sets in and then sit dormant through autumn and winter, reawakening to bloom during the later months of spring. Seeds and plants for all these varieties are easy to grow and generally hardy down to 30°F (-1°C).

We will be expanding our range of biennials in the future and would love to know which varieties are your favorites.
Sweet WilliamSweet William: Of all the biennials I grow, these sturdy plants are the most productive in the spring garden. While they aren’t a huge showstopper when it comes to looks, they add nice color and fragrance to mixed bouquets and have an extremely long vase life. They also are easy to grow, hardy, and usually quite healthy even with minimal care.

Harvest when just a few flowers are open on a head. This prevents the blossoms in the garden from getting damaged by rain and will give the stems a 2-week vase life.
Sweet William ‘Super Duplex Mix’, an old-fashioned favorite, is both beautiful and hardworking. Highly fragrant, dense flower heads have a hydrangea-like quality and are perfect for mixed bouquets.

This diverse mix includes a high percentage of double flowers in shades of rich maroon, magenta, rose-pink, blush, and white.
Erin with foxglove in hoophouseFoxglove: There is so much to love about this beautiful and graceful flower. When I was a little girl it was scattered throughout our garden, and I loved watching the hungry bees nestle inside the freckled blooms to gather pollen.

The trick to getting the longest vase life from foxglove is to cut it before the bees find it. When the blooms are pollinated they drop from the stems, so harvest early, when just a few blossoms are open. Expect a vase life of 6 to 8 days if you use flower preservative.

Please note that all parts of foxglove plants are poisonous if ingested. Wear gloves when harvesting and use caution around children and pets.
Foxglove 'Alba'Most foxgloves are varieties of Digitalis purpurea, the wild species. There are many varieties to choose from, but my all-time favorites are ‘Alba’ and ‘Apricot Beauty’.

‘Alba’ (D. purpurea, pictured above) is a cottage garden favorite well-loved by pollinators. The long graceful stems of this towering variety are loaded with creamy buds that open to pure snow white.

Unlike other foxgloves, this variety does not have any freckles inside its bell-shaped blooms. They are fantastic for wedding work and displaying en masse.
Foxglove 'Apricot Beauty'‘Apricot Beauty’ (D. purpurea, pictured above) is an old-fashioned beauty that pumps out masses of towering stems loaded with freckled peachy-apricot blooms for a solid 2 months from late spring to early summer. We often find bumblebees sleeping in the blooms.
Foxglove 'Sutton's Pam'‘Sutton’s Pam’ (D. purpurea) blooms during the same period as ‘Apricot Beauty’. Its stems are smothered in white bell-shaped blooms with striking plum-colored throats. Hummingbirds love this variety!
Foxglove in French bucketsWhile most foxgloves are biennials, two new hybrids, ‘Dalmatian Peach’ and ‘Camelot Cream’, flower the first year from an early sowing of seed and will also produce the second year if left in place.

I discovered ‘Dalmatian Peach’ (pictured above, left) a few years ago and have grown it abundantly ever since. The towering stems boast soft peachy-apricot blooms that glow from the inside out. An excellent addition to bouquets and wedding work, this salmony beauty is a must-have in any cutting garden.

‘Camelot Cream’ (pictured above, right) produces masses of towering stems with creamy, freckled blooms for 2 months from late spring to early summer.
Foxglove 'Cafe Cream'‘Cafe Cream’ (D. lanata, pictured above) is loaded with creamy, hood-like blooms brushed with golden mustard yellow and intricately detailed with chocolate veining.

Dark, upright stems look as if they are covered in miniature lady slipper orchids—the effect is absolutely mesmerizing. This long-lasting cut is perfect for bouquets and flowers later than most of the D. purpurea varieties.
Foxglove 'Excelsior'‘Excelsior’ (pictured above) is a classic, old-fashioned mix of rich purple, lilac, lavender-blush, and white spires with freckled chocolate and white throats. It looks identical to wild foxglove. Stunning in the garden and when arranged en masse.

Foxglove D. obscura 'Sunset'‘Obscura Sunset’ (D. obscura, pictured above) is a gorgeous, unusual variety. Thin, sturdy dark chocolate-colored stems are covered in rusty red bells with glowing orange-copper throats.

Knee-high plants are on the shorter side, but what they lack in stature they make up for in their versatile coloring. This variety is perfect for flower arranging and is extremely long-lasting.
Sweet RocketSweet Rocket: This cottage garden staple comes in white, violet, or a mix, which occasionally includes a pretty mauve pink. Easy to grow, it’s one of the first flowers in the spring garden not grown from a bulb. Blooms are highly scented and look fantastic in bouquets.

The more you harvest, the more these plants flower. After blooms fade, stems are loaded with pretty seedpods resembling thin, shiny green beans. I like to mix them into bouquets as well.

Note that stems do lengthen a bit in water after harvest, as tulips do, so if you’re using these in bouquets, snug them down a little lower than seems right at first to allow for elongation. Sweet Rocket will look good in the vase for a week or more and needs no special care.
Sweet Rocket 'Pale Lavender'We’ve been growing ‘Pale Lavender’, a hard-to-find variety, for many years, and it’s one of the most beautiful biennials that blooms on our farm each spring. Towering stems are loaded with billowy flowers that are well-loved by pollinators.

This old-fashioned favorite is the palest lavender-mauve with a slightly darker eye. Blooms have a sugary candy scent that lingers in the evening air.
Canterbury Bells in fieldCanterbury bells: It’s easy to see why this classic is still a must-have for any cut flower grower. Both the single and the double varieties produce huge stems loaded with balloon-shaped blooms in white, pink, lavender, and purple.

The plants are quite bulky, so stake them with netting at planting time to keep them upright in heavy spring rains.

Pick when the top bud is colored and just opening. It is not unheard-of for these stems to last 2 weeks in a bouquet.
Money plant in fieldMoney plant: Grown primarily for its beautiful seedpods, this spring treasure thrives in less-than-ideal conditions, including shade and poor soil. Though flowers can be harvested in early spring, the window of bloom is so short that this isn’t a reliable flower crop.

I love to use the seedpods when they’re green; as they age a little on the plant, they take on a purple cast. In addition to the typical white-flowering plant that produces green pods, there is a purple-flowering type that produces darker pods. We plan to add both to our seed inventory in the future.

Each plant produces 20 to 30 long stems that are loaded with seed cases. The pods last for well over a week when fresh and need no special treatment.

The stems of seedpods also can be dried for later use in autumn wreaths and bouquets. To dry, hang freshly cut stems upside down in a warm, dark place for 2 to 3 weeks or until they are firm to the touch.

Be gentle when handling them after they’ve dried because the seedpods are fragile and can fall apart easily.
ColumbineColumbine: Although these are perennials, I have found that treating them as biennials and replanting fresh stock each season means a much greater harvest each spring. Older plants succumb to disease after a year or two, and their self-sown babies aren’t numerous enough for a meaningful crop.

For the longest vase life, cut the flowers early in development, before any begin to drop their petals.

There are many, many varieties to choose from, and almost all are good for cutting. We plan to add all of the following varieties in the future.

The ‘Barlow Series’ is a lovely group of tall, double-flowered plants that often produce 7 to 10 stems each if grown in rich soil. The unusually shaped flowers are about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide with pointed petals, and they don’t carry the spurs typical of columbine blooms.

‘McKana Giant’ resembles the native mountain columbine, with flowers 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide or even larger. They come in blue, red, pink, yellow, and white, with centers white or pale. ‘William Guiness’ is similarly shaped, with dark reddish-purple spurs, outer petals, and center.

The aptly named ‘Tall Double Mix’ produces double flowers in a range of colors on stems up to 4 feet tall (1.2 m).

‘Chocolate Soldier’ is a gorgeous, unusually shaped flower with greenish-white petals and a reddish-brown center. It grows up to about 16 inches (40cm) tall, sufficient for cutting. What makes it exceptional is that it really smells like chocolate.

The highly regarded seed house Jelitto in Germany now carries seed for all of these varieties except ‘Tall Double’ and will ship in packets to the U.S.
Columbine in fieldI would love to hear your experience with this wonderful group of plants. Do you grow biennials or plan to add them to your garden this coming season? If so, what are your favorite varieties, or what new treasures are you adding to your wishlist?

Please note: If you submit a comment and it doesn’t show up right away, sit tight; we have a spam filter that requires we approve most comments before they are published.

Lastly, if you find this information is helpful, I would love it if you would share it with your friends.

 

75 Comments

  1. Arpan Roy Choudhury on

    Pickupflowers is one of the rarest online flower buying finds. They have excellent 24 x 7 support and they deliver gifts and flowers anywhere in the world. They are the most trusted source of buying flowers online with a vast category of flower options to choose from. They have a library of flowers buying guides and information.
    You can also buy personalized flower and gift combos from Pickupflowers. How great is that?

    I highly recommend https://www.pickupflowers.com/

    Reply
  2. Andrea on

    My first year with foxglove. Wondering how you keep Timmy away from the foxglove? I have a cat and she eats the catnip she finds I have for her. There’s a neighbourhood cat that eats my tulips?!? I have a little fence around it but I’m nervous I’ll find an I’ll cat or worse

    Reply
  3. Susan Daily on

    I grow Texas bluebonnets and let them self seed

    Reply
  4. Kathy on

    This was a very interesting and informative description of biennials. I’m interested in trying to grow some foxglove, Sweet Rocket and Money Plant in my ” cutting” garden. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  5. AB on

    What about Hollyhocks? Will you or do you grow them?

    Reply
  6. Meghan Murphy on

    Lastly yes Jelitto is wonderful just don’t give up on the ordering process. It’s a little weird but it works. :)

    Reply
  7. Meghan Murphy on

    Yes. Thank you. Highly invasive! I woke up this morning and saw a patch of it in my woods and jumped out of bed to yank it out.

    Let’s be responsible, flower growers. Especially people who have such a large influence and following. Floret, you are amazing and an amazing resource and appear dedicated to organic growing. Let’s turn the tide against planting invasives. I mean——when I drive down the highway and see people valiantly battling the Dame’s Rocket overtaking our natural spaces and then come here to be like, “this is a lovely variety” it makes my head spin.

    Good news is Dame’s Rocket is satisfying to pull and comes out easily enough, unlike the asiatic bittersweet (also recommended on this site) overtaking my woods. I spoke with one local organic farmer who has been battling it for 15 years on her farm. Stop growing invasives!

    Reply
  8. Meghan Murphy on

    Very helpful, thank you. I just want to point out that Dame’s Rocket is *highly invasive. Please be considerate of the world when recommending flowers. There are plenty of flowers that are not invasive that can fill a flower vase or look pretty on a wedding table for four hours. Invasives displace native plants, which in turn displace the insects and mammals that rely on these plants. Our world is fragile enough. Flower growers should be as mindful of invasvies as they are of using organic fertilizers, etc.

    It makes no sense to be conscientious about organic growing methods when the invasive plants you are spreading will force people to use herbicides that kill creatures with such a tenuous spot on this earth!

    https://www.appliedeco.com/dames-rocket/

    Reply
  9. Krissy James on

    Hi, we live in zone 6 in Maryland. I have a high tunnel on our farm. Currently, for my mid May bouquets I have Stock, Peonies, snapdragons, Eucalyptus, Ranaculous, Foxglove, Sweet William, Statice, and Eryngium flowers. My snapdragons overwintered, as well as our Eucalyptus, Sweet William, Foxglove, and Eryngium.Actually even some Ranaculous bulbs overwintered as well as our Dahlia bulbs and Gladiolas!!! I must say, if you are a cut flower farmer, it is worth the investment in a high tunnel! This is only my second year growing cut flowers, and it’s been an amazing Spring harvest!

    Reply
  10. Susan Keller on

    Hi! All the biennials are beautiful! I do , however, have a question. Why do you offer sweet rocket seeds for sale? In Illinois, we are constantly being told NOT to plant sweet rocket/dame’s rocket as it is extremely invasive.

    Reply
  11. Kelly E Ryan on

    My grandma ALWAYS grew money plant:) As kids we loved to collect the dried seed pods and find the seeds inside. They were such a favorite plant of my childhood. I just love that you featured it here.

    Reply
  12. Sydney W Hall-Richards on

    You have such beautiful flowers and such knowledge and I read with wanting to learn as much as possible. Thank you for your website!!

    Reply
  13. Barb Thompson on

    I’ve long grown Sweet William (a fave cut flower, for all the reasons you state, but especially that wonderful clove-y scent), sweet rocket, & Columbine – all did well in Coastal Alaska where I lived; now, in my *venerable* years, on the North Olympic Peninsula, I let them drop seed and sprout where they will.☺️

    Reply
  14. Marilee on

    We like Rose Campion for a biennial

    Reply
  15. Neelavathi Murali on

    Thank you Erin, bought some seeds waiting for germination. I am trying to get the correct plants type for my tropical weather, just nice i got this post.

    Reply
  16. Reine on

    I LOVE hollyhocks but have struggled to get them to flower. 🤞🏼 Hoping this is my year but would love tops if you have them! Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Sheryl Schubert on

    I have grown lisianthus for years, mariachi variety. It was a favorite of customers at the farmers’ market I sold at for several years. I still enjoy them in my garden. I believe they are considered to be biennials.

    Reply
  18. Carolina on

    Thank you Erin,
    Your post came at the right time, I needed a list of flowers for this gap between tulips and my first spring flowers. I will definitely order some of these seeds.

    Reply
  19. Raquel on

    I love flowers., I wish I could work and plant like that beautiful flowers!

    Reply
  20. Lynn Galloway on

    I would like to see Miss Wilmot’s Ghost ( Eryngium) in your seed selection. It acts like a biennial here. Miss Wilmot is one of my favorites- white – looks bleached and is larger than some of the other varieties.

    Reply
  21. Pamela Perrello on

    I have Foxglove. I knew they were biannual but you have taught me Sweet William are as well! That’s why they didn’t bloom last year and look great this year. Yey
    Thank you!!

    Reply
  22. Fay Downey on

    Thank you , This has been very helpful. If they remain in the ground for two or more seasons and you have them growing through weed mat,what is your regieme and how do you feed each season.

    Reply
  23. Michelle Murakami on

    I had some very old money plant seeds that were my Granny’s. She loved decorating with the dried seed pods in her decorative vases throughout her house. I tossed the seeds under a few oak trees on my dad’s farm so they wouldn’t get bushhogged– not expecting them to grow since they were so old. They popped up last year beneath one of the trees and produced the most brilliant fuchsia color. I’m not sure if they reseeded or if it’s the same plant, but they returned this year nearly doubled! I will be gathering the seed once they start turning.

    Reply
  24. Dawn McHugh on

    At my previous home o had a beautiful bed of balloon bells which I believe are a variety of Campanella. I have searched for plants to no avail, but have found seed. I’d lovetohave a reliable source of seed.

    Reply
  25. Jordan on

    Can you share where your favorite places to buy some of these biennials are? I want to start small and just choose one type to add to my home garden this year! :)

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Jordan, We will offer them in our shop this coming January. Hope this helps!

  26. Laura Falsone on

    Love your photos! I have so much money plant here (MD, right next to the Chesapeake Bay), it’s almost a weed. I do cut it for inside vases, even though it doesn’t last long. I also have some very dark purple columbine that come back in waves…very profuse this year. My foxglove are more hit and miss though. I had some lovely rose colored ones that lasted for a few years but have died out. I would love to try some of the varieties you’ve shown.

    Reply
  27. Debby on

    I love Canterbury Bells, especially the Cup and Saucer variety. The pink are my favorite but they usually come in a mix with white and purple. I have had a lot of trouble trying to start them in seed pots but I remember one year sowing them directly in the ground and they came up just fine. Would love to see these flowers more often — occasionally I see them in bouquets but they are not as well known as foxglove, which I also like.

    Reply
  28. Adrienne Hegedus on

    Thank you so much for your educational post. I definitely have a gap right now with the last of my ranunculus flowering and the peonies not quite ready.

    I find stock behaves somewhat like a biennial here in northern Washington State (zone 8b in Bellingham). Half of mine usually flower the first year and half just hangs out half grown until the second. Would you say that’s true? Is there a way to convince it to flower earlier?

    I have been nervous to plant foxglove because of the toxicity but I am going to give it a try. These are beautiful!

    Reply
  29. Britiney on

    My snapdragons have overwintered for 3 years now in zone 6/7. They stay green all winter, I dig them up to prepare my garden bed and then put them right back in and they are the first to bloom every year.

    Reply
  30. Julie Pierce on

    Thanks very much for this article – the first I’ve ever seen focused on growing biennials. In my home garden I grow foxgloves and Canterbury bells from seed every year, and I’ve tried lunaria in the past but not recently. I’ve found that winter sowing works very well for biennials, and sometimes it even results in first-year blooms. I’ve also used the method you describe of starting seeds in late spring and transplanting in the fall. And I’ve had good luck with simply shaking foxglove seeds in late summer/fall wherever I want them and dealing with the (many) babies the following year. I look forward to buying some of your apricot foxglove seeds when they’re back in stock, and would also welcome hollyhock seeds (along with information about how to combat rust and other hollyhock plagues)!

    Reply
  31. Wendy Arnott on

    This article was really helpful! I was feeling disappointed that my Columbine this year were not nearly as prolific as last year. I’ll make a point to put in some new plants every year.

    Reply
  32. Eve on

    Lunaria came up wild in a back corner ofd my Portland Oregon garden under a massive sequoia tree. The ground is so thick with duff there that almost nothing will grow, but I intentionally scatter seeds every year as I strip the pods for their silvery coin branches. I alternate areas, so one year the flowering plants are along the side fence while the back fence has the low first year plants, and the next year those back fence ones are blooming and the side is low and green. Mine are the bright purple ones, and look lovely in all phases. Added bonus, plenty of silvery branches to share with friends, many of whom struggle to grow their own… must love sequoia duff and neglect!

    Reply
  33. Sandy on

    Dear Floret, I love your photos and what you do with plants and flowers, your an inspiration. Also enjoy your books….. they are a wealth of information.
    Thank you and all the best, Sandy

    Reply
  34. Kristina on

    I want to know what I can plant over tulips. They have blossomed and the garden will be empty. Can I plant annuals or biannual flowers between the rows?

    Reply
  35. Beverly soltero on

    I treat Icelandic poppies as a bianual, here in Utah (zone 6) the weather is super unpredictable so for best results I starts them the fall before. I’ve also grown foxgloves and ugh they’re so beautiful!

    Reply
  36. Carol Lieb on

    Should we direct sow the seeds into the ground about two weeks after our last frost?

    Reply
  37. Teri on

    Foxglove-favs are the pale pink and peachy shades. And the creamy white shades too.

    Reply
  38. Marie Halls on

    I’m a keen gardener, self taught and what I remember from my dad. I grow some veggies and soft fruits. Just got my veggie patches, and fruit beds all sorted. Shrubs all done, now its the flowers turn as I need to encourage the pollinators. I’ve got tulips, daffs, crocus, bluebells etc for spring flowers, adding snowdrops next year. And growing lilies and cannulas each year, and others I can’t remember. I’ve just planted out night scented stock and corn flowers. This article came out at the right time as my next thoughts are what to plant in between the spring flowers and late summer flowering ones. Now I’ve got my list. Thank you.

    Reply
  39. Carol on

    I’m in the Hollylock camp. Would love to see you discuss them. I’m in a zone 5 with brutal winters. I don’t know if seedlings would survive to bloom the next year. Can you talk hollyhocks at some point?

    Reply
  40. Kathleen Hotmer on

    My favorite are foxgloves and I have a few varieties in my garden. I have been successful at having them reseed and they come in strong year after year. My main questions about them are always…do you ever pinch the first stalk of blooms and how do you treat them once they have exhausted their booms? I would really love to know the answer to these two questions if you could be so kind.

    Reply
  41. Elizabeth Kelly on

    I found starting Hollyhock on wet paper towels works well because they take so long to germinate. I planted mine out in the garden last fall and I am looking forward to seeing them flower this year. Beatles and leaf miner bugs seem to love the foliage but they seem to still flower ok. I had one get over six ft tall last year. Hollyhock should come back yearly.

    Reply
  42. Ashley Davis on

    Hollyhocks I would love to see for sure. Always on the lookout for them.

    Reply
  43. Barbara Mearing on

    One more favorite biennial:
    Calendulas
    Forty or so years ago I bought a packet of a blend of softer colors. Self seed but if I see a special one I grab a couple of seed heads and sprinkle them about. Never needed to buy another packet but do pull up the colors I find too strong. Hardly ever need to do that anymore. Also transplant easily anytime.
    So cheery and reliable in sun or dappled shade, early summer to late fall if allowed to come up whenever. Perfect.
    Love your website.
    Just a home gardener.
    Barbara

    Reply
  44. Kathy on

    I live in Saskatchewan, Canada. As a kid, I’d pick small bouquets of bright purple flowers from the back of our farmyard for my mom and grandma, never knowing what they were called. I just really liked their scent and colour. Today I learned they’re called Sweet Rocket! A bit of research says they are considered a perennial wildflower here (probably introduced by pioneers/immigrants a hundred years ago, either accidentally or as a cultivated plant brought as seed from Europe), and also goes by the name Dame’s Rocket. Too bad in some areas of the province it’s considered an invasive weed since it can outcompete natural vegetation and take over, but luckily here it’s not like that, probably because we are in a more dry and less woody area. This year I will try to collect seeds from it!

    Reply
  45. Linda Jewett on

    I have most of these in my garden quite by accident, perhaps brought by birds. Only a few of them show up here and there, so I usually don’t pick them, just enjoy them. This year so much information has been offered about cool weather seed starting, and I am feeling encouraged about trying to cultivate a few more in my garden. Love all your tips and walks through the garden. Thank you.

    Reply
  46. Chelsey on

    I wonder this same thing about growing foxglove.

    Reply
  47. Lydia on

    I love to grow foxgloves and hollyhocks and this is our first year growing canterbury bells in quantity. I agree with Karen Buss as I would also love to see Floret offer hollyhock.

    Reply
  48. Karen Buss on

    I would love to see hollyhocks offered at Floret.

    Reply
  49. Erin on

    Have you used the foxglove in your market bouquets or just wedding work? If you do, do you ever run into the issue of people/customers concerned about their toxicity around their homes? Also, have you done much work with Hollyhocks, Forget me Nots, Larkspur or Lupine? Thank you for all of your amazing work and info! You and your team are truly a touchstone of wisdom and answers!

    Reply
  50. Sarah on

    I’ve grown Aquilegia (Columbine) Petticoat Pink for the first time this year and its stunning. Love your updates thank you. I’m on my 2nd year of flower farming in UK and really appreciate your shared advice. Would love to know how you get the best vase life from wallflowers.

    Reply
  51. Beverly Soltero on

    I’m growing foxglove Camelot cream and it starting to flower this year! Im super excited! It survived the utah winter so I’m defiantly going to grow it again!

    Reply
  52. Jennifer M Chantz on

    This is so helpful! I’m a new flower farmer florist and I’m now without flowers since the bulbs are done and the annuals aren’t ready yet. I do have columbine blooming, alliums are blooming, bachelor buttons are budding and peonies aren’t ready yet. I need a focal flower now for Mother’s Day! Nothing! I’ve applied for a grant for hoop house but don’t have one yet which would have allowed earlier blooms of peonies, etc. Biennials may be the answer. I’ve just ordered more hellebores and will start a new crop of euphorbia. Hopefully that will help! Ideas are welcome. I took the class last year and loved it! Thanks.

    Reply
  53. Marsha on

    Do you sell flowers to the public (i.e. ordering for Mother’s Day, birthdays, etc..)? I haven’t read or seen anything on your site regarding ordering or selling.

    M. Bass

    Reply
  54. Catie Rowe on

    Hi Erin during lockdown in NZ my picking garden has been a wonderful rescue for the soul, also I have been able to deliver flowers to my friends back door so they can have fun arranging them. Like most countries there are been no fresh flowers available . I so appreciate all your wonderful information as in one season I’ve had a constant supply of flowers to pick for 5 months . Dahlias of course are the absolute stars .
    Thankyou for your generosity and expertise

    Reply
  55. Katie Pence on

    I grow the ones you mention, except I havent yet gotten lunaria to establish here yet. Nepeta seven hills giant is a good perennial- not biennial . Queen Anne’s lace comes back like a biennial here in N California . Feverfew ?
    Thanks for being here ! Katie

    Reply
  56. Beverly on

    We used dried lunaria for my daughter’s wedding-4 foot tall bouquets of stripped pods and individual ones Instead of confetti or rice because we were in a wilderness area.

    Reply
  57. Chrissy Creese on

    We just found some volunteer purple blooming Lunaria on our property in NC this weekend! What a treasure! They are gorgeous. I harvested them and am toting them back to PA to use in some of my Mothers Day bouquets. And you mentioned it grows in less than ideal conditions – these were growing on a pile of roofing shingles where an old shed had fallen apart on the back of the property.

    Reply
  58. mireya ochoa on

    Those daffodils I want to plant I dont remember if I mention That it Will be from seed And how long would it take to flower Thank you

    Reply
  59. mireya ochoa on

    I would like to plant daffodils from seed How long would it be before they flower? Thank you

    Reply
  60. Elena on

    Delphiniums and Hollyhocks are among my favorite biennials. I’ve never grown sweet william or sweet rocket but have grown the rest you’ve listed. Something new to try.

    Reply
  61. Sharon Ranney on

    Thank you for the biennial article! All of your tutorials are so helpful. I want every one of the foxglove varieties! I’m still a little confused about the biennial cycle: first year foliage, second year flowers that set seed. So third year no flowers? Also, do you recommend sowing directly into the garden in late spring, or would germination be more successful in trays? Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! Looking forward to your TV show!

    Reply
  62. Ainsley on

    Love all of this! Thank you!

    Reply
  63. Karen on

    I love hollyhocks! The old-fashioned ones remind me of my childhood and making dolls from the blossoms. The newer double varieties are beautiful and come in such lovely colors, I want to grow them in the back of my garden. Please consider offering them in the future.

    Reply
  64. Heidi on

    My favorite biennial is the foxglove. I grew them for the first time last year thanks to reading about them in your book. The hummingbirds just love them so it makes it very hard for me to cut them. This year I grew extra, some for me to cut and some for the hummers!

    Reply
  65. Kristine Higdon on

    I love foxgloves and have grown from seed for about 25 years in Des Moines, Iowa .
    I have grown many different varieties. I particularly love the ones with deeply spotted
    throats. I grow Camelot series for their first year blooming and the polka dot petra
    and polka dot polly for bienniel/ perennial. Other favorites are Pam’s choice , and
    both apricot and strawberry biennials. Wonderful in a vase as you say if picked early.
    I look forward to your future seed offerings. Your book Cut flower garden is my
    favorite book on cut flower gardening, my constant companion and inspiration.
    I have new techniques and cultivars through your information. Love the blog.

    Reply
  66. Judy Farling on

    Thank you Erin for your wonderful website- you encourage me to keep gardening ! Foxglove is probably my favorite flower but I do struggle to get mine to reseed. What kind of sun do they like? Should I fertilize them? Usually I have to put in new plants yearly with a few blooming the next year. I’ll try planting seeds this late spring for next year.
    I’m in northern Wi and we get very cold winters, often -10 or more for a few days. Thanks for all your help and excellent information.

    Reply
  67. DahliaLover on

    I’m confused by, “Start seeds later than most, at the end of spring, and plant seedlings in the garden at the end of summer.” Do I start seeds inside in spring? Are seedlings the newly growing plant from the seed I started inside in spring? Sorry. I don’t want to mess this up. Thanks for clarifying.

    Reply
  68. Janet Lee on

    Thank you for all of your articles. I just discovered your website and can’t wait to order seeds. I keep reading and reading because all of your information is detailed yet simple, and right to the point. I also can’t stop looking at the beautiful photography.

    Reply
  69. Jacky Surber on

    Thank you for sharing this information. I’m moving to Zone 7b this spring! Are there any biennials that will overwinter there? 10-0 degrees is the low.

    Reply
  70. Helen MacLean on

    Hello and thanks for your generosity in sharing online. When I worked at a public garden in Halifax, part of my job assignments were two large perennial beds and one greenhouse.
    Because the perennial season in Halifax doesn’t take off until the end of July and our spring ephemerals were finishing, I wanted to introduce biennials for the same reasons you make, Erin.
    I chose one old fashion columbine and Canterbury Bells. Started them in the greenhouse and put them in the perennial beds in the fall. Most visitors knew the columbine but not the Canterbury Bells, which were a huge hit with the gardeners.
    As with my perennials, I would let some of the flowers go to seed and cast those seeds in the bed where the original biennial was planted. To encourage a purpetual show for the coming years.
    I found that if I cut the main stalk of the biennial in the late summer or just after blooming, the plant would sometime shoot up side babies that could also be transplanted out in the fall.

    Reply
  71. Olivia Blacque on

    Thank you for all your advice! We be have a bed of Sweet Rocket and Sweet William which did really well this year – was delighted. After four years of trying , we finally had success with Columbine; was so worth the persistence, the flowers were beautiful! Money plant was a disaster; next year will try again.

    Reply
  72. LINA FLETCHER on

    Wonderful information. Thank you for sharing. I love foxglove, but they don’t necessarily love my drier Colorado garden. I am hoping to revamp a garden on my east side this spring. It’s a little more protected. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!

    Reply

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